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IHS Markit Forecasts Annual Autonomous Vehicle Sales Surpassing 33 Million by 2040

Business information provider IHS Markit released a new market forecast for autonomous vehicle sales, finding that the number of global autonomous vehicle sales will grow from 51,000 units in 2021 to 33 million by 2040. The convergence of mobility services with autonomous driving and governments dis-incentivizing gas-powered vehicles in favor of newer technologies like electric and hybrid vehicles are seen as the primary drivers of this dramatic projected increase.

The United States is expected to be the first to deploy autonomous mobility reaching 7.4 million annual autonomous vehicle sales by 2040, with China eventually leading in total volume with 14.5 million sales, and European markets accounting for 5.5 million sales.

Other factors influencing the 2040 forecast include ecosystems and partnerships built around the services and technology of autonomous mobility, and an industry shift from thinking only about unit sales towards usage over time or distance. Both of these factors are examined in the forecast, as well as a breakdown of levels 4 and 5 of the Society of Automotive Engineers Levels of Automation, the industry standard.

Egil Juliussen, Ph.D. and IHS Markit director of autonomous technology research, spoke about the future of autonomous vehicles in a press release, saying that, “The first autonomous vehicle volumes -- beyond retrofit test vehicles -- will arrive in 2019 through driverless mobility services. Volumes will surpass 51,000 units in 2021 when personally owned autonomous cars reach individual buyers for the first time, and IHS Markit forecasts estimate nearly 1 million units will be sold in 2025 across shared fleets and individually owned cars.”