The global automotive industry is going through a period of wide-ranging and transformative changes with the shift in the consumer behavior as well as increasing implementation of stringent environmental regulations. Factors such as rising safety and security concerns, increasing demand for reliable transportation system, and advent of revolutionary trends, such as transition from car ownership to "Mobility as a Service" (MaaS), are expected to increase the demand for autonomous vehicles.

Autonomous vehicles are the key to changing urban transportation beyond recognition in the next few years.There are both traditional OEMs and new vehicle developers who are working in this ecosystem to improve and introduce fully-autonomous vehicles on the road. These vehicles will have advanced features from traditional vehicles and improve the driving experience for passengers. The Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE) has defined six levels of automation to classify a system's sophistication, ranking from 0 to 5.

Level 0: No Automation 
In this level, the driver is in control of the entire vehicle and all aspects of driving are entirely manually controlled. Example of such a vehicle is 2018 KIA Rio, among others.

Level 1: Driver Assistance
In this level, the vehicle system can assist with some functions such as controlling the steering or the vehicle speed.The driver handles a majority of the vehicle functions. Features such as adaptive cruise control or lane keeping are part of this level of automation.

Level 2: Partial Automation
In this level, the vehicle system is able to control the braking, steering, or acceleration of the vehicle.These features can be applied together and the coordination between two or more of these assist technologies helps a vehicle to be of Level 2 status. A driver is there during all times to actively monitor the vehicle's progress and be ready to intervene at any time. Most vehicles in 2018 have these features of Level 2 such as GM Super Cruise, Mercedes-Benz Distronic Plus, Tesla Autopilot, Nissan ProPilot Assist, and Volvo Pilot Assist, among others.

Level 3: Conditional Automation
In this level, the vehicle system is able to detect the environment around the vehicle using sensors such as LiDARs and make informed decisions for the vehicle such as overtaking a slower moving vehicle in front of it.The vehicle system is able to manage most aspects of driving, including monitoring the environment. The system prompts the driver to intervene when it encounters a scenario it can't navigate. Audi Traffic Jam Assist is the only commercialized level 3 auto pilot system developed by Audi for Audi A8.

Level 4: High Automation
In this level, the vehicle can operate without human intervention but only in certain conditions. There is an option to manually override the vehicle system functions.

Level 5: Full Automation
In this level, the vehicles can operate as driverless vehicles in any road conditions. These vehicles are being developed to be used as robo-taxis, such as Waymo, among others.

The global autonomous vehicle market has witnessed several strategic and technological developments in the past few years, undertaken by the different market players to attain their respective market shares in this emerging domain. Some of the strategies covered in this section are product launches and developments, business expansions, and partnerships/collaborations/joint venture. The preferred strategy for the companies have been product launches & developments in order to strengthen their position in the global autonomous vehicle market.

According to BIS Research analysis, the global autonomous vehicle market was valued at 6.6 million units in 2017 and is expected to reach 67.5 million units by 2028, registering a CAGR of 20.78% between 2018 and 2028. North America dominated the global autonomous vehicle market in 2018, whereas, Rest-of-the-World is expected to have the highest growth rate during the forecast period 2018-2023.

The key market players in the global autonomous vehicle market are Audi AG, BMW Group, Daimler AG, FCA Italy S.p.A., Ford Motor Company, General Motor Company, Nissan Motor Corporation, Tesla Inc., Toyota Motor Corporation, Volkswagen AG, Volvo Group, Waymo LLC, and Zoox Inc.