KPMG index shows growing readiness for self-driving vehicles

KPMG's Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index highlights positive steps towards AV adoption

Tags: Autonomous vehicleKPMG InternationalNetherlandsUnited Arab Emirates
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KPMG index shows growing readiness for self-driving vehicles The ParkShuttle, an autonomous passenger shuttle operating in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the leading country on KPMG’s AVRI.
By  Mark Sutton Published  March 19, 2019

KPMG has released the 2019 edition of its Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index (AVRI), which shows a great deal of progress in the AV sector in the past twelve months.

The AVRI evaluates the levels of preparedness for fully autonomous vehicles in 25 countries that are leading the field. The index scores are based on 25 different measures, focused on four pillars, and are compiled by KPMG and ESI ThoughtLab based on data from KPMG and public sources.

The consultancy firm said that this year it has expanded the index to 25 countries, and while the index leaders, the Netherlands and Singapore, maintain their positions at the top of the table, the market is moving rapidly, with opportunities for all countries to take the lead.

Writing in the foreword to the report, Richard Threlfall, Global Head of Infrastructure. KPMG International, said that the 2018 edition of the report felt like "conversation in its infancy", but great progress has been made since then.

"Through 2018, we have seen a huge acceleration in investment in AV technology, in policy adoption by governments to encourage AVs, and in media coverage of the topic. Countries and states including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia, France and California have passed or are passing legislation opening AVs' access to public roads. Trials are underway from Singapore to Madrid to Gothenburg," Threlfall said.

"But many of the overall scores are very close and there are numerous opportunities, identified in this report, for countries to make significant progress. Those that did would rise quickly in the rankings. The most successful countries have a policy framework that enables innovation, a strong track record in technology, high-quality road and digital infrastructure, and populations that are eager to adopt new technologies."

KPMG highlights the importance of fully autonomous vehicles, sometimes categorized as ‘level 5 vehicles', across a number of fields. The benefits include elimination of human error leading to traffic accidents and deaths; greater efficiency in both public and private transport, and freight and logistics, resulting in more effective road use and reduction of carbon pollution; and better tracking and better management of roads and traffic through better data.

Among the milestones for the AV sector in 2018, KPMG noted the launch of AV testing across many countries; trials of AVs for e-commerce deliveries and logistics; the tentative launch of passenger AV services; major private investments in AV technology; and a number of countries announcing legislation around AVs. The report also notes the death of a pedestrian during AV testing in the US.

The AVRI scores countries on 25 different measures, gathered into four pillars - policy & legislation; technology & innovation; infrastructure and consumer acceptance.

In terms of overall scores, the Netherlands was first, with a score of 25.05, followed by Singapore (24.32) and Norway (23.75). The UAE, the only GCC country which was studied, ranked ninth, with a score of 20.69.


Netherlands in first place

KPMG said that the Netherlands consistently does many things well on the AV index, including investigating AVs' use in freight and logistics and passing new legislation. It leads the index's infrastructure pillar, is ranked second on consumer acceptance and is fifth on policy and legislation. The country also scores highly on many individual measures, including supportive regulations, road infrastructure quality, exposure to AV testing and market share of EVs.

The report says that the Dutch government is taking a balanced approach to AVs, in areas such as working to improve safety and enhancing the legal framework. It has plans to introduce driverless trucks, and is working with Germany and Belgium to develop ‘platooning' of trucks, where as many as 100 self-driving trucks will be able to operate in close formations on highways.

The Netherlands also plans to use 5G technology and to install 1,200 smart traffic lights, and it is already a leader in the provision of electric vehicle charging stations. The country's infrastructure ministry has also introduced a legal framework for autonomous driving, the ‘Experimenteerwet zelfrijdende auto' which became law in April 2018; a Driving License for a Vehicle which will focus on whether an AV can produce safe and predictable automated driving behavior; and a Vehicle Safety & Security Framework (VSSF) to be able to assess the robustness of in-vehicle software.


Positive sentiment in the UAE

The UAE ranks in the top ten of the AVRI, with positive consumer opinion of AVs a strong supporting factor. Looking at the four main pillars of the study, the UAE ranked 11th in terms of policy and legislation to support AVs, 14th in terms of technology and innovation, 5th in terms of infrastructure and 7th in terms of customer acceptance.

The UAE was found to lead the measures on road quality (ranked #1) and the change readiness of its technology infrastructure (ranked #1), and also scored highly for its government's overall change readiness (ranked #2).

Ravi Suri, Partner, Global Head of Infrastructure Finance, KPMG Lower Gulf, said: "With Dubai's enthusiasm for technological innovations-in particular, its forays into artificial intelligence and blockchain-the UAE is well-positioned to leverage the tremendous benefits of AVs in the future."

Suri added: "The initiatives undertaken by the UAE Government to make automation and AVs a reality reinforce the possibility of a future where people live cleaner, more efficient and safer lives. The UAE is already a leading international tourist destination, and greater investments in new technologies across industries in the near future will enhance its image and make it an even more competitive destination for leisure and business, and a leader in the adoption of smart solutions."

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