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Aggressive players in virtually every segment of the automotive value chain have unveiled, or are conducting pilot programs of, partially or fully autonomous vehicles or enabling technologies in locations around the world. Audi, for example, presented its highly autonomous A7 model, which has highway-driving capability, at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The car had driven itself to the show from San Francisco - a distance of 550 miles.
BMW has tested its autonomous Series 2 model on closed tracks and city streets. Daimler is testing both highly and fully autonomous vehicles in the U.S. and Germany. Tesla and GM plan to roll out models capable of hands-free highway driving in the summer of 2015 and 2016, respectively. Nissan has already tested its Autonomous Drive technology, which enables highly autonomous functionality, on public roads in Japan. The company plans the commercial launch of a model with traffic jam autopilot in late 2016.
Volvo and various Swedish government bodies in 2014 launched the “Drive Me” initiative, in which 100 self-driving cars navigate public roadways in everyday conditions in and around the city of Gothenburg. The project’s first test cars are already on the road. And the prototypes of Google’s AVs have been widely publicized.
Suppliers are preparing for the AV future as well. Bosch, Continental, Delphi Automotive, Mobileye, Valeo, Velodyne, and Nvidia, to name a few, are among the suppliers that are in the advanced stages of testing the positioning, guidance, and processing technology needed to make AVs a commercial reality.
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