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11.2 million passenger cars sold in 2020 had level 2 autonomy driving features: Report

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 29, 2021

Autonomous driving is increasingly gaining popularity as 3.5 million passenger cars sold worldwide had level 2 autonomy driving features in Q4 2020, growing 91 per cent year-on-year, according to Canalys research.

Overall,11.2 million cars sold had level 2 features, an increase of 78 per cent compared to 2019, as per an official release.

Level 2, as defined by the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) is a level where the human driver must always be fully engaged and monitor the environment, explained the Canalys report. However, the vehicle can take over certain driving functions under certain conditions, such as steering and acceleration/braking.

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These features were seen in 30 per cent of new vehicles sold in the United States in Q4 2020, 20 per cent in Japan, 19 per cent in Europe and 12 per cent in China, as per the report. The US alone sold 1.2 million such units in Q4 2020.

The growth in autonomous driving features was driven by mainstream car brands.

“These included the feature as standard or as an option in more of their cars,” as per the report.

“The premium brands have been overtaken by mainstream brands such as Honda and Toyota who now sell the most cars with level 2 driving functionality. They have suites of ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) features, including level 2 driving as standard in most of their popular models. Other leading car makers such as Ford and VW Group have followed,” said Canalys Chief Analyst Chris Jones.

“The penetration of advanced driver assistance and active safety features in new cars is increasing at a fast rate,” Jones further explained.

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According to Jones, such features are now seen as differentiators and must-haves in cars.

“But there is still a huge ADAS opportunity as many local popular vehicle types do not yet include level 2 functionality, or it is still a niche feature. These include pick-up trucks in the US, compact cars in Europe, entry-level SUVs/crossovers and city cars in China and Kei cars in Japan. When level 2 driving penetrates these vehicle types, it will be everywhere - then it’s up to the consumer to choose it, and use it,” added Jones.

“Carmakers must clearly communicate the benefits of level 2 driving features and drivers must use them as Intended - these are not self-driving cars. ADAS needs to be easy to use Ideally with one button, well demonstrated at point of sale and its limitations need to be understood (what speed, what type of road, what weather/light conditions, etc). There is no point having a car laden with driver assistance technology. If the features are not used, are turned off, are used recklessly, or if alerts are ignored,” said Sandy Fitzpatrick, VP at Canalys.

“Consumer education and trust in the technology is key for the future success of ADAS, there is a grey area right now between what the typical driver believes these features do, and what they actually can do,” added Fitzpatrick.

Published on March 29, 2021

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