There are plenty of automakers on the case of self-driving cars, but Delphi intends to deliver fully autonomous cars by 2022. In April of 2015 the company became the first to complete a cross country road trip, starting in San Francisco and ending in New York.
Delphi has joined with the Singaporean government to test autonomous vehicles and has plans for a three-year pilot project. The vehicles will be tested on predetermined routes at low speeds, and will gradually introduce systems with greater capabilities as they aim to beat the competition.
The Audi SQ5 that made the cross country trip will move to Singapore to continue the work. The second phase of the project should begin early 2017 and will involve six electric vehicles. They will be outfitted with autonomous technology that operates in ride-hailing operations. The expectation is that by 2018, or 2019, they will be testing fully self-driving vehicles on Singapore’s streets, no fail-safe drivers will ride along.
All of this is with the bigger picture in place, the expectation that driverless vehicles will be in production for 2022, able to ship cargo or shuttle on-demand customers. It’s a brave new world, but is it really possible?
Apple have yet to shed any light on their self-driving car plans, meanwhile Google continue to progress with their testing. Every automaker offers a vague timeline, but it’s Delphi that has chosen to throw down the gauntlet.
Delphi wasn’t Singapore’s only option, they used a closed-bid process and chose the company that they felt was right- which is perhaps a testament to Delphi’s endeavor and it isn’t just Singapore either. Delphi has stated that they want to launch similar trials in Europe and North America, however there are no firm plans or details to share on that front.
The beauty of self-driving technology is that it is limitless, in that it can be used in buses, cars, taxis and possibility even trains. Though, Singapore has plans to expand its rail network by 2030, the government is interested in discovering just what benefit autonomous wheels could play in pollution and their heavy traffic congestion areas. The traffic and pollution issues across the island are indicative of the Singaporean governments willingness to be at the forefront of the autonomous driving trials.
The key component of the trial is the cost efficiency of autonomous operations- in a city environment operating a commercial driven vehicle is more than $3 per mile, autonomy could reduce it to as little as 90 cents per mile. While the savings could be great for businesses like UPS, FedEX and taxi services it could spell trouble for professional drivers.
Whether Delphi will launch in 2022 remains to be seen, but they are confident in their project. Certainly more than the other automakers who won’t offer a firm timeline.