The Who’s Who of Self-Driving Cars

autonomous vehiclesWhen it comes to autonomous technology, it seems as though there is new information being released every day. And with such a continuous flow of both facts and speculations, it can be difficult to remember who is doing what and when each self-driving vehicle is expected to release.

With this in mind, PermaPlate has put together a quick guide, breaking down the who’s who of the autonomous car industry.


The earliest adopter of self-driving technology, Google has been testing since 2009. They are currently using modified Lexus SUVs and smaller prototype vehicles on roads in California, Texas, Washington and Arizona. The company has not released a timeline specifying when their technology will be available to the public, but they are expected to begin selling autonomous software to automakers in 2020.


With semi-autonomous vehicles already on the road, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is confident that the company will be among the first to offer fully-autonomous vehicles. He originally predicted that a self-driving Tesla vehicle will arrive in 2018, but later admitted this date “might be slightly optimistic.”


One of the last companies to announce their autonomous vehicle plans, Toyota’s goal is to have self-driving cars on the roads for the 2020 Olympics, which will be hosted in Tokyo, Japan.


Another automaker that already has vehicle with semi-autonomous features on the roads, BMW is working with Intel and Mobileye in the hopes of releasing the fully-autonomous iNEXT model in 2021.


Nissan is working with teams at MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon and University of Tokyo to complete their self-driving prototype, which they would like to be available by 2020.


CEO Mark Fields does not expect to be the first automaker to release a fully-autonomous vehicle, but he does expect that Ford will have a self-driving car on the road in less than five years. The goal is for this vehicle to be accessible to all, and Ford has teamed up with companies like Google and Uber to push for federal action that will speed up legislation around self-driving cars.

Ford’s autonomous testing fleet includes about 30 vehicles, located in California, Arizona and Michigan.

General Motors

Although GM has not specified a date that they would like their self-driving car released, they do plan to unveil the semi-autonomous Cadillac CTS in 2017. Testing continues to take place year the company’s California headquarters.



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