Start-ups hold key to self-driving car research in Europe

Car giants say they need smaller start-ups to help develop autonomous car technology

Children and parked cars are colour-coded on a monitor inside a Mercedes S-Class car. Photograph: Michaela Handrek-Rehle/Bloomberg

Children and parked cars are colour-coded on a monitor inside a Mercedes S-Class car. Photograph: Michaela Handrek-Rehle/Bloomberg

It’s no wonder that every tech firm and carmaker with a research-and-development budget to spare is getting on the autonomous, self-driving car bandwagon. You can quibble all you like with the timeline of how far away fully robotic cars actually are, but the numbers stack up regardless. The German federal ministry of economics, for example, has conducted research that shows that by 2025 the autonomous vehicle market in Germany alone could be worth €8.8 billion and employ as many as 130,000 people.

So, rich rewards are there for those who create and market the technologies needed for autonomous cars, but there are massive hurdles standing in the way. Government regulation is one thing (less so as more and more governments begin tweaking road traffic legislation to allow companies to take advantage of the supposed autonomous boom) but there are bigger worries than that.

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