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03 July 2019

World Economic Forum: AVs face two big challenges

First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) will not be widely adopted unless tech issues and business cases are sorted out, says an expert at the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In an interview with CNBC, Michelle Avary, head of autonomous mobility at the organisation, said: “Really making sure that the technology is working in the areas of perception, which is vision — being able to identify objects and then understand how to move around them. That has yet to be solved.”

Speaking at the WEF’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions – a three-day summit on innovation and entrepreneurship – in Dalian, China, she also emphasised that the automotive industry needs to find ways of making money with AVs.

“We see some big divergence between the whole idea of the business model of the robo-taxi versus what we see in areas like commercial trucking, mining and construction, where the business model case might be more readily made.”

According to Avary, driverless trucks moving goods on highways would be more lucrative than robo-taxis, which offer a transportation service to people.

“Even in mining and construction equipment, where we see a lot of advances in solid business case models being made in things like digging trenches for laying oil pipelines,” she continues. “There’s a lot of lucrative opportunities for automated technologies to play in these sectors.”

Avary also believes there are likely to be more mergers and acquisitions as well as partnerships between automakers and technology companies.

“The two sides need each other, and the market is enormous, so, I think there’s a lot of opportunities for everyone to come out as winners,” she adds.

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