When we first published the Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index in 2018, there was widespread excitement around the technology, reflected in frequent media coverage. This has since reduced significantly and the casual observer could conclude that perhaps it was all hype after all, and that the autonomous revolution remains decades away.

The reality however is that AV technology is entering a period of development maturity, during which the complex challenges of implementation are being addressed. The transformational potential of AV technology remains immense.

According to the data gathered for the third AVRI and insights from specialists within KPMG’s network of national firms, significant progress has been made on the extensive work needed to allow AVs to operate safely and effectively in our societies, including overhauling regulations and running large-scale tests. We are also seeing AVs move into use around the world in public transport and in closed-site environments such as mining and logistics. And national and local governments are finding distinctive ways to introduce them.

This edition of the AVRI adds five new countries and jurisdictions: Belgium, Chile, Denmark, Italy and Taiwan. It lightly refreshes the measures used to assess each country and jurisdiction to account for our increased understanding of some of the key enablers of AVs, such as telecommunications. The indicators remain organized by the same four pillars as the first two reports – policy and legislation, technology and innovation, infrastructure and consumer acceptance.

As some countries and jurisdictions devolve responsibility for transport to local authorities, this year’s report also features coverage of five notable cities – Beijing, Detroit, Helsinki, Pittsburgh and Seoul – which are undertaking ground-breaking work at a municipal level.

The third AVRI sees Singapore swap places with the Netherlands to claim the top position in the index. Since the start of 2019 the city-state has taken a number of significant steps to encourage the testing, development and adoption of AVs, such as opening a tenth of its roads for testing. Like several other highly-ranked countries, Singapore has embedded AVs into wider goals, including greater use of public transport, wider use of EVs and economic development from research-focused jobs.

As in previous editions, many national scores are very close and many countries and jurisdictions have opportunities to make progress. Demonstrating this, of the 25 in the 2019 index, 17 have increased their score. By providing assessments of strengths, challenges and recommendations, this report aims to provide constructive insights that can help governments learn from each other and improve.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to several AV trials being suspended, but it is possible to imagine the contribution this technology could make if it were further developed, from maintaining delivery networks to providing more flexible, less crowded public transport such as through the use of smaller, on-demand minibuses.

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Richard Threlfall

Global Head of KPMG IMPACT, Partner, and Global Head of Infrastructure
KPMG in the UK

❝ I continue to see AVs as enabling an impending revolution that will strengthen our societies and economies, while making the world’s roads safer and more accessible to everyone. ❞