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Demand soars for basic semi-automated driving features

Detroit

WITH fully self-driving cars many years from mass market adoption because of the high cost and complexity of the technology, auto supplier Aptiv Plc is seeing soaring demand from automakers for more basic semi-automated driving features, its chief executive officer Kevin Clark told Reuters on Wednesday.

"We have contracts with seven (automakers) to provide them with those sorts of solutions that they're launching across all of their vehicle platforms. That's where we're seeing the most demand," he said

Fully self-driving vehicles require lidar-sensing technology. But the tremendous cost of lidar - prices for individual sensors currently range from about US$6,000 to more than US$70,000 - is a major stumbling block to the mass rollout of self-driving vehicles, whether in commercial delivery and robotaxi fleets such as those being developed by Ford Motor Co and GM, or in passenger vehicles aimed at consumers.

Mr Clark said the cost for more basic semi-automated driver assistance packages, including automated emergency braking, lane keeping assist or parking assist, is somewhere between US$700 to US$1,000 per vehicle, which automakers can then sell to safety-conscious consumers for double that or more.

In September, Hyundai Motor Group announced it will invest US$1.6 billion in a joint venture to develop self-driving vehicle technologies with Aptiv. Mr Clark said that joint venture will help it meet its latest target of 2022 to develop fully self-driving car technology, with orders from robotaxi firms expected to generate US$500 million in revenue in 2025. REUTERS

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