From driverless taxi pilot programs to cars equipped with self-driving hardware already on the market, autonomous technology has progressed at a remarkable pace in 2016.
As companies showcase technology with potential to improve safety, mobility and transportation costs for consumers, varying timelines have emerged as to when the driverless future will arrive. Some see mass deployment in as little as five years while others expect a slower rollout over the next 20 years.
While the self-driving timeline takes shape, the next question to ask is who. Who will manufacture autonomous vehicles, operate self-driving fleets and facilitate widespread consumer acceptance of the new technology? Who will regulate and enforce regulations on these manufacturers? Who will profit from self-driving cars and who will be left behind?
With help from industry experts, Automotive News has compiled a list of 60 people who have contributed heavily to the development of autonomous vehicles.
They have applied their individual talents and expertise to make driverless vehicles a reality.
The list is long but far from complete. There are now hundreds of people tied to self-driving cars, and we have worked to identify the ones leading the charge.
Though some of these names are well-known automotive or technology veterans, others are relatively new to the space and on their way to becoming major figures in a changing industry.
Automakers, suppliers, tech giants, Silicon Valley startups, academics, regulators and a variety of other fields are represented in this list. The group is also an international one, with entrants hailing from North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, demonstrating just how far-reaching autonomous technology has become.
The questions posed by the development of self-driving cars are far from being resolved, and more are sure to arise.
But we know there will be an autonomous future, and we hope this list helps identify the players who will make it happen.