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There Will Be 20 Million Self-Driving Cars On the Road by 2025

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A new reality that includes a lot more self-driving cars is closer than you might expect.

Google

There will be 20 million autonomous vehicles on the road by 2025, according to a new report from Juniper Research. Self-driving cars will largely be used by researchers and tech developers for the next handful of years, but by 2021, consumers will begin to adopt autonomous car technology, according to the market-research firm’s findings.

Related: If You Get In the Way of Google's Self-Driving Car, It Might Shout at You

To get consumers over the psychological speed bump of letting go of the wheel, the switch from entirely human-operated cars to self-driving vehicles will be gradual. For example, drivers will get used to the idea of more automated control of their vehicles with interim technologies like adaptive cruise control and automated braking, the report states.  

Some of the biggest names in tech are putting a hefty lot of resources into the development of autonomous car technology, including Google, Volvo, Daimler, Tesla and Apple.

Related: Google Hires Longtime Car Exec to Head Up Its Driverless Car Division

Google is the leader of the pack, according to Juniper. Currently, the tech titan currently has 53 self-driving cars on the streets of Mountain View, Calif., and Austin, Texas, according to the most recent report from Google on it’s self-driving car project. And since the launch of its pilot, Google’s autonomous cars have logged 1.3 million miles without any driver assistance.  

There are still some functional challenges, the report indicates. For example, weather is a big one. Self-driving car technology struggles in snow, rain and very strong sunlight. Also, the autonomous car technology currently available isn’t able to tell the difference between various obstacles, such as other vehicles or pedestrians

So before we are all ready to hand over the wheel, automakers still need to smooth out some of the bumps in the road.

Related: Elon Musk Says Tesla Cars Will Soon Be Able to Steer and Parallel Park Themselves

Catherine Clifford

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Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.