It seems that within the next several years autonomous cars will become the future of the automotive market. Nowadays, almost every major company is developing systems for creating a self-driving vehicle.

Modes of transport are gradually changing: in developed countries owning a car is becoming less popular. The use of autonomous vehicles can contribute to solving many of today's transportation problems. Smart cars can, on a larger scale, help to reduce exhaust gas emissions and lower the number of victims of car accidents. The question isn't whether computers will replace drivers, but when, and how it'll effect the automobile market.

In the United States alone the automotive industry, including oil companies, generates revenues of over $2 trillion. In market news, there are countless announcements of new self-driving cars. Virtually every major company is currently working of developing such technology. This is due to the fact that if a company overlooks this moment of growth in autonomous cars and electric motors, it might not be able to compete with other manufacturers.

It is worth noting that one of the companies that has been working on such projects the longest is Google (GOOGL  ). Its cars have already clocked over 1 million kilometers in test drives without causing any dangerous road incidents. However, using these cars in urban traffic still is far from ideal, though they are able to easily detect other road users. Google's self-driving cars have the valuable function of scanning maps to detect road works and navigate around them. It is worth remembering that the main advantage of autonomous cars is the fact that the computer works constantly, and as opposed to humans, it can't get distracted. As car sharing services are becoming more popular, autonomous vehicles will be easier to lend to other people, which in turn can help reduce congestion.

Another company working on self-driving cars is Uber. Last August the company teamed up with Volvo to create an autonomous vehicle. The estimated cost of the investment amounts to $300 million. The development of such cars will allow Uber to reduce its biggest expenditure, i.e. the remuneration of drivers. Volvo Cars provided Uber with modified XC90 models. During tests there were two people closely monitoring the car behavior.

Despite the company's innovation and significant popularity, its board continue to rely on private investors, who believe in the success of the company that is changing the transport services market. It is worth bearing in mind that Uber isn't tolerated in every country, due to taxi companies' protests. There were instances where drivers waiting for their clients where blocked and protested against. In China, Uber was forced to sell its branch to its rival, Didi Chuxing.

Elon Musk's company Tesla (TSLA  )  is another major player in the autonomous cars market. The electric cars manufacturer has been offering vehicles able to partially perform driving functions for quite some time. There have been a few incidents involving Tesla cars, however they were probably caused by improper use by the drivers themselves. Currently Tesla isn't promoting their cars as being able to drive autonomously.

Audi decided to release a model that uses the Traffic Light Information system which allows for your car to communicate with servers of traffic management and informs the driver about the time remaining before the traffic light changes. Although a few other manufacturers started working on similar solutions, Audi is the first one to implement it. Due to obvious limitations, the number of cities in which this service is available is relatively small. However, in the long run the German producer looks forward to a wider use of this technology.

Then there's Ford (F  ), which as the biggest car manufacturer in the world can't remain oblivious to the advent of autonomous cars. The American producer's plans are ambitious: the company predicts that by 2021 there will be independent models used by transport companies. The project aims at a total exclusion of the steering wheel and pedals. Ford's management plans on producing relatively inexpensive cars available for the majority of citizens, which in the upcoming years is to become the company's mission. Although there are many advantages of using driverless cars, we need to remember that independent factors, such as bad weather conditions, can impede the use of autonomous vehicles.

General Motors (GM  ) is also in the process of creating a self-driving car. The company has invested $500 million in Lyft, the main rival of Uber, as it sees a great potential in cooperating with ride-hailing company from California.

Finally, it is worth adding that  first autonomous car racing series was just created, which can definitely help to implement innovative solutions for the driverless road cars market.