Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and BMW make up the top three OEMs in ABI Research's Competitive Assessment. This reflects not only the pioneering research that these brands make into the field of ADAS, but also the degree to which they attempt to make these technologies available to their customers. That being said, it is Mercedes-Benz who emerges as the clear leader in terms of Innovation, with Volvo leading the pack as far as Implementation is concerned.
The different brands here considered vary considerably, both in terms of their approach to ADAS and the sophistication of their systems. Nonetheless, it is possible to divide them into two broad categories:
• The Pioneers: Luxury brands, such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Lexus, and Infiniti account for the bulk of ADAS innovation. The availability of ADAS on their vehicles serves to distinguish them from those of more mass-market OEMs. Furthermore, the objectives of passenger safety and driver comfort are often marketing tools unto themselves.
• The Demand-orientated: These mass-market OEMs contribute far less to ADAS innovation, but often compensate by means of more widespread implementation. Players can be further sub-divided into two groups: those who adopt systems of similar sophistication to the Pioneers, and for reasons of cost offer them only as options on their flagship models, and those who seek to deliver more cost effective systems which offer similar assistance to existing systems.
Of course, many automotive groups are comprised of brands from both of these categories. Very few OEMs, if any at all, straddle both categories.