Canalys: US sales of cars with level 2 driving automation features grow 322% in Q1 2019

Via Canalys Newsroom

May 28, 2019

According thelatest research from Canalys, sales of cars with level 2 driving automation in the US grew 322% in Q1 2019 against Q1 2018. Level 2 features assist the driver, who must remain fully engaged, by controlling more than one driving function, such as steering, acceleration and braking, in combination, under certain road, weather and speed conditions. Over 250,000 cars with level 2 functionality were sold, accounting for 7% of new cars, up from less than 2% a year ago. The growth was driven by mainstream car brands that include the features, as standard or as an option, in new models.

“Nissan and Toyota, both top five brands by total vehicles sold in the US, added level 2 driving functionality to the new versions of popular models in late 2018. More than 50% of cars sold with level 2 driving features in Q1 2019 came from Nissan and Toyota, bringing the early stages of driving automation to the mass market by overtaking premium brands, such as Tesla, BMW, Audi and Volvo,” said Chris Jones, Chief Analyst at Canalys.

In Europe, cars sold with level 2 features also grew strongly, by 71% in Q1 2019, to represent 4.5% of new cars sold. “BMW and Volvo currently lead the way in Europe, but as seen in the US, as mainstream brands introduce the functionality to more new models, numbers will grow dramatically,” Jones added. “Yet much more needs to be done by the manufacturers to educate drivers on these particular new features. As the availability of cars with level 2 driving increases, it is vital that drivers understand the capabilities of the individual systems and use them as intended – these are not self-driving cars.”

Level 2 definition

The SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) defines the levels of driving automation. With level 2, the human driver must be fully engaged and monitor the environment at all times. Under certain conditions, the vehicle can take control of more than one driving function, such as steering, acceleration and braking, in combination. Examples of systems that meet the definition include Autopilot from Tesla, Pilot Assist from Volvo and ProPILOT Assist from Nissan.

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