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Study: Self-Driving Car Sales Will Explode

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The first officially licensed Google self-driving car, a Toyota Prius hybrid.

IHS Automotive forecasts 54 million self-driving vehicles will be on roads worldwide by 2035.

Credit: HO AFP/Getty Images

The global population of self-driving cars (SDCs) is projected to grow from 230,000 in 2025 to 11.8 million by 2030, with an accumulated 54 million expected to be on roads worldwide in 2035 as sales increase, according to a study by IHS Automotive. IHS also predicts that almost all vehicles, both commercial and private, will be self-driving by 2050, while road safety will increase in proportion to the number of SDCs deployed.

"As the market share of SDCs on the highway grows, overall accident rates will decline steadily," says IHS analyst Egil Juliussen. "Traffic congestion and air pollution per car should also decline, because SDCs can be programmed to be more efficient in their driving patterns."

IHS also predicts that about 30 percent of SDCs sold will be in North America during that period.

The first wave of SDCs will be equipped with systems that only assume control of the vehicle in relatively safe driving conditions, while more refined systems for driving in increasingly complex conditions will hit the market in the 2020s.

The major obstacles to SDC development will be cybersecurity and software reliability, and the government also will play a prominent role by setting the rules dictating SDC deployment.

From USA Today
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