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.

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Skydio unveils its obstacle-dodging, thrill-seeking, AI-powered drone

An autonomous drone startup founded by former MIT researchers has today launched its R1, a fully autonomous flying camera that follows its subjects through dense and challenging environments.

In a promotional video, launched to introduce the autonomous camera, R1 can be seen following an athlete as she parkours her way through dense woodland.

The drone’s makers Skydio have explained that the camera combines artificial intelligence, computer vision, and advanced robotics and works by anticipating how people move, so R1 can make intelligent decisions about how to get the smoothest, most cinematic footage in real-time.

“The promise of the self-flying camera has captured people’s imaginations, but today’s drones still need to be flown manually for them to be useful,” said Adam Bry, CEO and co-founder of Skydio.

“We’ve spent the last four years solving the hard problems in robotics and AI necessary to make fully autonomous flight possible. We’re incredibly excited about the creative possibilities with R1, and we also believe that this technology will enable many of the most valuable drone applications for consumers and businesses over the coming years.”

Launching today is the Frontier Edition of R1, which is aimed at athletes, adventurers, and creators.

This version of R1 is powered by the Skydio Autonomy Engine, enabling it to see and understand the world around it so that it can fly safely at speeds of upto 25mph while avoiding obstacles.

The autonomous drone is fitted with 13 cameras, which gives it the ability to map and understand the world in real-time, allowing it to be fully autonomous and independently capture footage that in Skydio’s words “once required a Hollywood film crew” and will “enable a new type of visual storytelling”.

The R1 “Frontier Edition” is available for order now on Skydio’s website for $2,499.