US fourth on most-ready nation for autonomous vehicles list

17 July 2019 2 min. read

The US is the fourth most-ready nation for autonomous vehicles (AVs), according to KPMG’s “Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index (AVRI).” The ranking brings the nation down one spot from last year. For the second year running, the Netherlands tops the list. Rounding out the top five are Singapore, Norway, and Sweden – in second, third, and fifth place, respectively.

The AVRI ranked 25 countries on 25 variables, which are categorized in four pillars: policy and legislation; technology and innovation; infrastructure; and consumer acceptance. Variables stem from research and consumer surveys, as well as media reports and press releases. All variables were given equal weight in coming to an aggregate score for individual pillars.

The US also performs well in the technology and innovation pillar, ranking third, but lags behind in infrastructure and policy and acceptance pillars, where it ranks eighth and ninth. Certain states – especially Ohio, Michigan, and Massachusetts – have made great strides in the adoption and development of AVs. One such stride is an executive order signed in 2018 by then-Ohio governor John Kasich, which opened AV testing on roads in the state.

US fourth on most-ready nation for autonomous vehicles list

Virginia’s Department of Transportation has similarly established a program dedicated the deployment and adoption of AVs. Massachusetts, meanwhile, encourages electric-vehicle adoption via a law passed in 2017.

For the US to move up the index, according to Ted Hamer, managing director and head of mobility for KPMG in the US, other states must follow suit. “There is recognition that states have to start laying the groundwork for connected vehicles and the infrastructure that underlies them, and understand where AVs are going to be deployed, whether it’s urban environments or more in freight and logistics,” he said.

The US would also do well to follow the lead of the Netherlands. The top-ranking country is first in infrastructure and second in consumer acceptance. The country is working with Germany and Belgium to introduce “truck platooning” – convoys of “at least 100 trucks and eventually self-driving vehicles at night” along the “Tulip corridors,” which stretch from Amsterdam to Antwerp and Rotterdam to the Ruhr valley.

There is, however, one major problem that stands – or, rather, pedals – in the Netherlands' way. “We have a lot of bicycles,” Stijn de Groen, manager digital advisor, executive for automotive, of, KPMG in the Netherlands, said. “In urban, crowded areas it will be very difficult to start autonomous driving.”

Related: Transition to electric and autonomous vehicles will cost auto industry hundreds of billions