Morgan Stanley predicts autonomous vehicles on the road by 2020

Australian company, Cohda Wireless, said to be one beneficiary of industry trend

Financial services firm, Morgan Stanley, has released a report that says driverless cars will be available in as little as seven years. The report highlighted Adelaide-based Cohda Wireless as an integral part of reaching this goal.

The report released on November 6, states that autonomous vehicle technology is closer than many in the general public believe.

A team of Morgan Stanley research analysts held what the firm describes as “brainstorming sessions” with executives from the automotive industry in order to determine what the future of the sector may look like. This was combined with research collated from interviews with futurists, automotive executives and what Morgan Stanley describes as “potential disrupters from outside the industry”.

The result was a report that determined a timeline for adoption of driverless technology, highlighted global implications of such technology, quantified the socio-economic benefits and examined investment implications.

With the technology for driverless vehicles already available and only incremental research and development required, the authors of the report note that the main obstacles to the growth of the autonomous vehicle industry will be infrastructure development, liability concerns in the case of a accident and customer acceptance of the technology itself.

The report noted that the introduction of self-driving vehicles could fundamentally change the nature of the automotive industry in a move that shifts the value of the car from hardware to a software component. This change is said to allow new players to enter the market and to force existing companies to adapt or face potential loss of market share.

The report specifically mentioned Cohda Wireless, an Adelaide manufacturer of Vehicle to Vehicle and Vehicle to Infrastructure technology (V2X), and its key shareholders, Cisco Systems and NXP Semiconductors, as potential beneficiaries of the trend to autonomous vehicles.

Cohda CEO, Paul Grey, described V2X technology as essential for autonomous vehicles. “V2X is a wireless sensor system that allows vehicles to share their sensor data with other vehicles around them. As standard sensors such as radar, optical, ultrasonic and lidar are all line-of-sight, they can only detect visible risks.”

Grey said V2X is “a non-line-of-sight sensor with 360-degree awareness. It can detect hidden-from-view threats, so it can extend the horizon of awareness beyond what the driver can see”.

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