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Canalys: 3.5 million L2 autonomous vehicles sold in Q420

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The analyst firm Canalys has reported that 3.5 million passenger cars were sold worldwide that came Level 2 autonomous driving features during the fourth quarter of 2020. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, Level 2 autonomous vehicles require drivers to be fully engaged but can take control of more than one driving function.

In its research, Canalys looked at the sales of L2 vehicles in different regions of the world. In the United States, 1.2 million units were sold, in China sales reached 832,000 units, in Europe figures hit 628,000, Japan saw 199,000 sales, and the rest of the world recorded 600,000 units. In terms of penetration rate, the U.S. came top at 30%, Japan is at 20%, Europe is at 19%, China is at 12% and the rest of the world is at 12% too. Over the whole of 2020, 11.2 million cars with L2 features were sold, representing a growth of 78% compared to 2019.

Discussing the research, Canalys Chief Analyst Chris Jones said:

“The premium brands have been overtaken by mainstream brands such as Honda and Toyota who now sell the most cars with level 2 driving functionality. They have suites of ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) features, including level 2 driving as standard in most of their popular models. Other leading car makers such as Ford and VW Group have followed.”

The analyst warned that motorists need to be educated about the new features in L2 cars. It said that without proper education the features risk being left unused or abused by people who don’t realise that they need to continue paying attention to the road even though the car is doing the driving. It also said that different brand names for the automation systems and different combinations of features also lead to further confusion.

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