Car Industry

Analysts say 21 million autonomous cars will be on roads by 2035

IHS Automotive updated (and enlarged) its self-driving car estimates after witnessing a groundswell of new developments.

Google Self-driving car

They won't all be Google gumdrops, but IHS believes that autonomous cars are going to explode (metaphorically) when they're ready for the market.

Google

It's no surprise that autonomous cars, when they finally reach consumers, will sell like hotcakes. Workaholics, the elderly and businesses that rely on drivers will all flock to these vehicles, as it will save time, money and the potential for driver error. By most accounts, analysts understand that the next decade or two will be big for self-driving cars. But IHS Automotive thinks it's going to be yuge.

According to the firm's latest forecast, it believes that the world will have purchased some 21 million autonomous cars by 2035. Global sales at that time should be around 600,000 vehicles per year. For a bit of context, that's approximately the number of Chevrolet Silverados sold in America last year.

"Our new forecast reflects a 43 percent compound annual growth rate between 2025 and 2035 -- a decade of substantial growth, as driverless and self-driving cars alike are more widely adopted in all key global automotive markets," said Egil Juliussen, Ph.D., head of research for IHS, in a statement.

Many different factors are contributing to this not so conservative forecast. IHS made specific mention of the sharing economy, partnerships with the tech industry, and participation in autonomous-tech development from both suppliers and automakers.

IHS believes that "several thousand" autonomous vehicles will hit roads in the US 2020, with 2035 market share including some 4.5 million vehicles, or 21.4 percent of the total global figure. China will outpace the US in this regard, laying claim to 5.7 million autonomous vehicles by that same date.

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