Three Non-Automotive Industries that Will Have a Big Impact on Self-Driving Cars

Date: Sept. 13, 2016

Computer scientists have joined forces with car makers to develop self-driving cars and the technology that will drive them. But not all technologies need to be developed specifically for automotive applications – they are actively adapting technologies that come from other sectors.

In today’s post, let’s look at three industries with adaptable technologies that will have an impact on the development of self-driving cars.

Aviation and Aerospace

Civilian, military and commercial aircraft have been using autopilot systems for decades. An in the space industries, well more than 99% of the vehicles that go into space are unmanned. We are also seeing a dramatic increase in the use of military and civilian drones, both remotely controlled and autonomous.

What technologies will migrate most extensively to self-driving cars? Advanced sensors, computerized orientation systems, collision-avoidance systems and docking technologies.

Warehousing and Order-Picking

Robotic forklifts scurry around today’s automated warehouses, picking orders and delivering them to shipping areas.’s automated warehouses, where orders can be picked in as few as five seconds, are very much in the news today. Yet Amazon is only the most newsworthy company to develop robotic warehouse systems to store and retrieve merchandise. A number of companies that include Opex, Zebra and SSI Schaefer now self-automated order-picking systems that companies can install in warehouses to automate inventory storage and retrieval.

What technologies will migrate most extensively into self-driving cars? Microchip transponders, barcode-integrated tracking and navigation systems.

Marine Technologies

Robotic submarines are widely used in undersea exploration and salvage. Now an age of autonomous “smart boats” is about to dawn. You can read about them in “Sailing the High Seas, Autonomously,” an article that Oliver Mitchell published in on September 1, 2016. Mitchell writes about current robotic boats that are used in shipping, news coverage of ocean sports, and a variety of other applications.  He writes that driverless boats are already a $6 billion industry, and poised to grow much bigger.

What technologies will migrate most extensively into self-driving cars? Navigation systems, collision avoidance, and more.

Mitchell also writes that the increasing use robotic ships will require largescale changes to maritime laws. Who will be responsible if an unmanned boat collides with another boat, for example? What regulations will apply in international waters? And what about current maritime laws that require that a human lookout be on duty on ocean-going ships? Those interesting legal questions are not unlike those that will be addressed as self-driving cars take their place alongside other vehicles on roads around the world.

Find out what other industries will have a big impact on Driverless cars at our upcoming Driverless Cities Summit this October!