Before cars can drive fully autonomously on the road, legal framework conditions must be created, suitable software must be developed and insurance companies must think about their pricing policy. On the other hand, the hardware for the robot vehicle is already more or less mature today. The consulting firm Boston Consulting Group has calculated what it will cost approximately when it goes into production in the middle of the coming decade.
Almost 10.000 Euro extra would be due to make a normal fully automated car. Above all, two items are expensive: the high-performance satellite navigation system and the lidar sensors for environment detection and distance measurement. The latter would currently cost almost 50.000 euros in the required quality, but should only cost around 7.500 euros in a few years and subsequently decrease in price. Around 5.600 euros would be incurred today for a suitable GPS system. Appropriate technology is already available today for a small price in navigation devices, but it would be far too imprecise for use in a robot car. But even here, prices will still fall until the middle of the 2020 years.
The other hardware items are already cheap in comparison. Depending on the range, radar sensors are available for prices between just under 50 and 150 euros, stereo cameras for just under 200 euros and ultrasonic sensors - known from the car park beeper - are available for low double-digit amounts. In addition, there would be the costs for the processor in the control unit, which would be between 50 and 200 percent of the pure sensor costs.
If the vehicle is not to be fully automated, but only partially automated, the costs are correspondingly lower. For the technology for automatic parking without driver assistance, such as is to be offered in the BMW 2016er coming in the 7, the study expects just under 1.900 Euro hardware costs. A freeway pilot with automatic lane change (from 2018) would cost a good 5.300 Euro, in city centers cars could drive autonomously for a good 5.100 Euro.
Author: Holger Holzer / SP-X