You may have seen Google’s autonomous vehicles cruising around your California, Seattle, and Texas neighborhoods, and you may even be hotly anticipating the Apple Car—codenamed “Project Titan.” But chances are you haven’t heard of these self-driving car manufacturers jockeying for pole position in the autonomous car race.
The following are 8 self-driving car manufacturers you’ve likely never heard of, but are nonetheless shaping the future of autonomous transportation to come.
Last April, UK-based automotive parts supplier Delphi outfitted an Audi SQ5 with its technology, allowing it to drive itself 3,000 miles across the US. This year, it showcased its human-machine interface for easing pensive drivers into automation. Delphi is also partnering with Quanergy to develop and deploy low-cost light detection and ranging (LiDar) systems.
Tata Elixsi—a division of the TATA Group—has developed an autonomous parking valet that enables cars to locate vacant spots and park autonomously using a myriad of sensors.
Chinese bus manufacturer Yutong recently showed off its entrant to the autonomous vehicle market by taking passengers on a completely autonomous 32 km (20 mile) bus ride. The bus navigated through 26 traffic lights, changed lanes, and passed other vehicles without incident—all on its own.
Swedish bus and heavy truck manufacturer Scania recently set its new autonomous semi across 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) of European terrain. Like the Yutong bus, the truck was programmed to drive to its destination autonomously, navigating through traffic and potential hazards along the way.
Jerusalem-based Mobileye makes components that power autonomous vehicles, and in fact supply many of the aforementioned manufacturers with chips and algorithms for helping autonomous vehicles steer clear of danger. Tesla, GM, and Volkswagen are just a few key manufacturers integrating Mobileye’s technology into their vehicles.
Move over, Tony Stark. The German automotive component manufacturer recently retrofitted two Teslas with about 50 Bosch components and almost a mile of cabling to secure them: sensors, front stereo video cameras (SVCs), forward and rear-facing long-range/mid-range radar sensors, inertial sensors, backup braking and electronic control unit (ECU) systems, and a custom computer running proprietary high-resolution mapping and operating system software.
In partnership with BMW, Baidu has been rather publicly using modified 3-series cars for autonomous vehicle testing and prototyping. It recently announced its plans to start testing autonomous cars in the U.S. in an effort to introduce a commercially viable model by 2018.
If you’re in Pittsburg and happen to spot cars with unusual white rooftop devices traversing the roads, keep calm and keep driving—it’s just Uber testing out its new fleet of autonomous vehicles. The cars are equipped with radars, laser scanners, and high-resolution cameras, among others, for collecting mapping data and testing autonomous capabilities.
In short, Google may have been the first—but when it comes to autonomous vehicles, a whole ecosystem of manufacturers and component developers are coming to together to create bold, innovative offerings that will change the way we travel over land. Despite lacking the the consumer appeal of the Apple Car, these 8 projects are defining the future of autonomous driving, today.