The road to self-driving cars is long and winding. According to the latest data from Canalys, despite industry hype, only 3 percent of new passenger cars sold in the U.S. in Q3 2018 had semi-autonomous driving features.
Canalys estimates that take-up of the semi-autonomous driving capability for adaptive cruise control combined with lane-keeping assistance, to keep a vehicle at a safe distance from the one in front and in its lane, is still low.
Chris Jones, chief analyst, automotive at Canalys, explains, “The feature has been available for a few years now, but as an expensive option in select versions of luxury vehicles, limiting consumer awareness and take-up. In addition, it only works under certain road, speed and weather conditions and always needs the driver’s full attention. Many systems do not deliver a smooth drive. If the experience is poor, people are less likely to use it or recommend it.”
Canalys estimates that Tesla made up a third of the semi-autonomous passenger car market in the U.S. in Q3 2018, thanks to the success of the Tesla Model 3 with Autopilot. Nissan was second due to its inclusion of ProPilot as an available feature in the new Altima, Leaf and Rogue. This puts Tesla and Nissan ahead of BMW, Audi, Volvo and other automotive OEMs.
Of course, the outlook is more positive. Uptake of passenger cars with the semi-autonomous driving features will continue to increase steadily over the next two years, as automotive OEMs will offer advanced features in more passenger cars, including more affordable vehicles. Canalys estimates the feature will be in 10 percent of new passenger cars sold in the U.S. in 2021. Penetration will then ramp as the cost of LIDAR and other key components falls, enabling more automotive OEMs to include the feature in more vehicles.