Self-driving car companies’ first step to making money isn’t robotaxis

While governments may be wary of driverless cars, people want to buy the technology, and companies want to cash in.

It’s a market for a limited version of self-driving tech that assists drivers with tasks like parking and switching lanes on a highway. And McKinsey predicts the market for a basic form of self-driving tech — known as “Level 2” in a classification system for autonomous driving — is worth 40 billion yuan ($6 billion) in China alone.

“L2, improving the safety value for users, its commercial value is very clear,” Bill Peng, Hong Kong-based partner at McKinsey, said Monday in Mandarin translated by CNBC. “Robotaxis certainly is a direction, but it doesn’t [yet] have a commercialization result.”