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Comma.ai's technology enables your car to steer, accelerate, and brake automatically within its lane.
Comma.ai's technology enables your car to steer, accelerate, and brake automatically within its lane.
( Source: Comma.ai)

AV Platform An Overview of Autonomous Car Tech Platforms—North America, Part I

Author / Editor: Seth Lambert / Erika Granath

Plenty of automakers have announced or shown off self-driving vehicles. But the majority of these companies are not creating their own self-driving hardware and software systems in-house; they’ve either acquired specialized firms to create these systems for them or are outsourcing the work to third parties. Some of the most respected leaders in this growing market segment are in the United States and Canada.

There’s lots of talk about autonomous vehicles (AVs) these days, and a fair number of prototype cars and trucks are currently on public roads. There are also fully functioning autonomous robo-taxi services ferrying passengers around various global locales, occasionally without anyone in the driver’s seat.

But for all the talk and test vehicles in the marketplace, the number of actual “platforms”—the intelligent technology at the heart of AVs—remains limited. The reason for this is simple—creating these platforms is a major endeavor requiring significant capitalization, copious systems engineering, and rigorous testing. For now, this work is better suited to technology companies (ones with experience in computer hardware and software), rather than automakers. (For the purposes of these articles, automakers may be referred to as original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs.)