The autonomous vehicle (AV) industry will not develop a fully self-driving car until 2035, according to a recent prediction from research firm GlobalData.

“We expect the timelines for deploying fully autonomous vehicles (Level 5) to be pushed back over the next few years,” the research firm wrote in a report.

Level 5 autonomy relates to self-driving cars that do not require any human interaction – meaning that when they’re eventually deployed, they won’t have steering wheels or pedals. 

“Companies that have made big bets on the technology will continue to move toward commercialisation, but it could be closer to 2035 before we begin to see any meaningful deployments of fully self-driving vehicles,” the firm added.

However, the research firm does believe that level 3 AV vehicles will be deployed in the middle of the decade, with level 4 superseding quickly. 

The key difference between level 3 and 4 autonomy is that level 4 self driving cars can intervene if there is a system failure or things go wrong – not needing any human interaction in most circumstances, US software company, Synopsys, reports

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What is slowing down the development of AVs?

Due to rising inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the demand and input costs of the semiconductor sector have been heavily affected – something the AV industry depends on to operate. 

The AV industry is leading the demand for semiconductors due to the AI models controlling vision, routing, and planning needing massive amounts of computer power. 

“Demand is focused on GPUs and custom AI accelerators, both for the vehicles themselves and the manufacturer’s data centers where the underlying AI models are trained with large amounts of data,” according to GlobalData. 

Alyssa Altman, Head of Transportation & Mobility at digital transformation consultancy Publicis Sapient, pointed to the cost of maintaining AVs as one of the biggest challenges for the industry.

“While the technology behind them is becoming more affordable, the cost of building and maintaining the infrastructure needed to support them is still high and complex,” says Altman. 

“Additionally, there is a significant investment needed in research and development to ensure that the technology continues to evolve and improve over time," she added.

GlobalData is the parent company of Verdict and its sister publications.