Tesla crash raises stakes for self-driving vehicle startups

Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:00am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

* Tesla Autopilot crash puts spotlight on self-driving tech startups

* Valuations increasing for select few companies

* More than $800 million pumped into self-driving start-ups - research

By Paul Lienert and Alexandria Sage

DETROIT/SAN FRANCISCO, July 12 (Reuters) - Concerns raised by the first reported fatality in a semi-automated car were expected to speed adoption of more sensitive technology to help vehicles see and drive themselves safely, increasing demand on the emerging autonomous vehicle technology industry, investors and analysts said.

Goldman Sachs forecasts the market for advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicles will grow from about $3 billion last year to $96 billion in 2025 and $290 billion in 2035. More than half of that revenue in 20 years, Goldman estimates, will come from radar, cameras and lidar, a sensor that uses laser - all tools considered essential to building vehicles that can pilot themselves.

The May 7 death of Ohio technology company owner Joshua Brown in a Tesla Motors Inc Model S while the car's semi-automated Autopilot system was engaged highlighted the limitations of current automated driving systems.

Tesla's Autopilot system uses cameras and radar, but not lidar. The company said its system would have had trouble distinguishing a white semi-trailer positioned across a road against a bright sky.

Industry executives and analysts told Reuters they expect the Tesla crash will spur investment in self-driving vehicle systems that combine multiple of sensors, including lidar.   Continued...