Which Countries are the Most Prepared for Autonomous Cars?

Published on March 28, 2019 in Technology/Autonomous Vehicles by Guillaume Rivard

Fully autonomous vehicles are coming and we can’t stop them. It’s now just a matter of when they will be ready to hit the road.

Automakers have accelerated their efforts to develop driverless technologies, governments are gradually allowing real-world trials and adopting policies to regulate AVs, and media outlets like us have inevitably increased their coverage of the topic.

After publishing its first-ever Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index (AVRI) last year, KPMG International is back for 2019 with an updated list of countries that are making the most progress toward a fully autonomous future, based on market and industry research, public surveys and other key data.

They were assessed on 25 different measures within four pillars: policy & legislation; technology & innovation; infrastructure; and consumer acceptance.

The 2019 AVRI shows that governments are prioritizing the modernization of transport and taking steps that consider the real-life impact of driverless cars and trucks.

Photo: Kia

From 1 to 25, including Canada

Once again, the Netherlands tops the ranking. Notably, it is working with neighbouring countries to launch huge platoons of driverless trucks to transport flowers on major “Tulip Corridor” routes from Amsterdam to Antwerp and Rotterdam to the Ruhr valley. In a recent speech, the Dutch government even announced a “driving license” for AVs.

Hailed as a powerhouse of technological innovation, Singapore comes in second place. With a leading university, it has created a test town for driverless vehicles complete with traffic lights, bus stops, skyscrapers and a rain machine that recreates its stormy tropical weather. The country also has a single government organization that deals with AVs, which improves coordination.

Norway, a leader in electric vehicle acceptance (40 percent of new cars sold are electric), legalized AV testing on public roads in January 2018, giving clarity for providers and leading to trial bus services in several locations.

Where is Canada in all of this? We dropped five spots from 7th to 12th place. The KPMG report praises our good quality workforce and strong government leadership, with Ontario now allowing tests of fully driverless vehicles. The federal government has also supported research into how AVs will change Canada’s economy and job market. However, a big hurdle remains the country’s large size and remote locations that may stretch AV infrastructure, not to mention inclement weather conditions in winter that can compromise the effectiveness of vehicle systems. Limited 4G coverage and a lack of charging stations don’t help, either.

Here is the full ranking:

  1. The Netherlands
  2. Singapore
  3. Norway
  4. United States
  5. Sweden
  6. Finland
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Germany
  9. United Arab Emirates
  10. Japan
  11. New Zealand
  12. Canada
  13. South Korea
  14. Israel
  15. Australia
  16. Austria
  17. France
  18. Spain
  19. Czech Republic
  20. China
  21. Hungary
  22. Russia
  23. Mexico
  24. India
  25. Brazil
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