Last year 343 driverless trucks and buses were sold. In four years these driverless vehicles will be part of an industry worth $35 billion

A new report has suggested the rise of driverless trucks and communal buses will be so pronounced that within four years an industry that is currently worth $84 million will reach a global revenue of $35 billion.

The report from Tractica, titled (imaginatively) “Autonomous Trucks and Buses”, plots the industry’s likely course from the present day through to 2022.

“The potential for autonomous trucks and buses is huge and market growth is accelerating, with news of successful pilot projects coming at an increasing pace,” said Tractica research analyst Manoj Sahi.

“Considering the next 2 to 3 years as a make or break time, several prominent companies are prioritising investment for large-scale development.”

Image courtesy of Kristain Baty

In its report, Tractica claims that sales of automated trucks and buses amounted to approximately 343 vehicles in 2017.

In 2022, however, Tractica expects this number to rise exponentially, to approximately 188,000 units in 2022.

Singapore recently announced plans to begin piloting driverless buses in three neighbourhoods, before they are introduced nto public roads by 2022.

“The autonomous vehicles will greatly enhance the accessibility and connectivity of our public transport system, particularly for the elderly, families with young children and the less mobile,” Singapore’s transport minister Khaw Boon Wan was quoted by the BBC as saying.

Tractica makes the point that by taking more cars off the road, self-driving shuttles and buses will also provide cleaner air, reduced noise pollution and safer areas to walk and ride.

Uber Announces Plans to Launch Flying Taxis by 2020

Uber’s chief product officer, Jeff Holden, has announced that the ride-sharing company will make flying taxis available in Los Angeles by 2020.

While making the announcement at Web Summit, Holden compared Uber’s ‘flying car’ project – dubbed UberAir – to the method of travel popularised in the original Blade Runner movie, which showed flying cars in a fictional version of 2019 Los Angeles.

“UberAir is coming to Los Angeles, and we’re doing so in 2020,” says Holden. “Blade Runner was only off by one year, which is pretty impressive for a 1982 production.”

Image courtesy of Web Summit. Featured image courtesy of Uber

In addition to announcing UberAir’s imminent arrival in LA, Holden also announced a number of strategic partnerships that Uber has entered into to make its vision a reality.

The first partnership Holden announced is with Sandstone Properties, who will provide Uber with access to 20 strategically located sky ports.

Uber has also entered into a partnership with NASA, where the signing of a space act will allow the two to work together on aerospace management.

“NASA has been home to some of the most technical innovations in the world,” says Holden. “These are exactly the kinds of partners we need in order to make UberAir a reality.”

Holden pointed out that the size of and congestion within LA make it an attractive place for UberAir to operate.

The company believes it will be in a position to hold flight demonstrations in the city in just over two years.

“Launching in LA is a really big deal,” says Holden.

“LA is the second largest metro area in the US and the 14th largest in the world. Earlier this year the LA Times reported… that it’s also the most congested city on Earth.”