The automobile industry has changed significantly since Henry Ford built the first Model T. It is expected to change even more in the next few years. Self-driving cars are the wave of the future.
According to a detailed report from BI Intelligence, there will be 10 million self-driving cars with automatic transmission on the market by 2020. Google and Tesla are both competing to be the leader in the self-driving vehicle market.
Which of these giants will dominate the new industry? Here are some factors that may come into play.
Google has been working on self-driving cars for the past six years
Google has been incrementally improving its self-driving cars since 2010. They have been gradually adding new features and tweaking their design. They release monthly performance reports, which show they have been making a lot of progress.
Tesla is taking a more ad hoc approach to developing self-driving cars. Although they have come up with some awesome features, it isn’t clear whether they will have been able to work out all the bugs by then. They don’t release monthly reports, so it’s more difficult to track changes in performance.
Tesla knows the automobile market
While Google has spent longer refining its design, that doesn’t mean it’s off to a better start. Tesla had a distinct advantage, because they are competing in their own industry. They are a distinguished automobile manufacturer that generates over $4 billion a year in revenue.
Google is going to have its work cut out for it, because it’s trying to penetrate market it has never competed in before. This doesn’t mean Google doesn’t stand a chance. They have developed some of the most sophisticated algorithms in the world. The question is how well that will compensate for their inexperience in the automotive industry.
Google has more name recognition with smart cars
When people think of self-driving cars, they automatically picture the Google smart car. They’ve already heard so much about these cars in the news.
Tesla has to make up for bad publicity and performance flaws
Google still has not released their first self-driving car to the public yet. They want to perfect their design before entering the market.
On the other hand, Tesla has already introduced cars with self-driving features. However, they may have jumped the gun a bit. Earlier this year, someone driving a Tesla self-driving car was killed in an accident.
The incident suggests that Elon musk was overly confident. Of course, accidents can happen with any car. However, people expect self-driving cars to be safer and more economical. Tesla will have to be very diligent to convince their customers that there won’t be many more fatalities.
We don’t know how Google’s car will function on their own
Google has been testing their vehicles on highways near San Francisco. According to their performance reviews, the cars have been doing rather well.
The problem is that these reviews may be highly biased. We don’t know how transparent Google is with them. They have trained human drivers in the vehicles that have to assume control in the event of an emergency or malfunction. These drivers may have needed to intervene more than they are willing to let on.
Which company is likely to lead the market?
Tesla and Google both plan to sell self-driving cars in the near future. Both companies hope to be market leaders. But which of them will capture the most market share?
It’s still too early to tell. At first glance, it looks like Google will generate the most sales. However, they may not be sustainable. Google is entering unchartered territory, so they may not be able to compete against a large automotive company like Tesla.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.