The Navigant Research Leaderboard ranks 18 different companies developing automated driving systems.

Ford has received top honors in the Navigant Research Leaderboard Report, a ranking of 18 different companies developing automated driving systems.

Analysts assessed the strategy and execution of each player with ratings based on 10 criteria: vision; go-to-market strategy; partners; production strategy; technology; sales, marketing and distribution; product capability; product quality and reliability; product portfolio; and staying power.

The report places Ford, GM, the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Daimler and Volkswagen Group in the top five 'leaders' spots, respectively. BMW, Waymo, Volvo/Autoliv/Zenuity, Delphi and Hyundai Motor Group round out the top 10 'contenders.'

PSA, Tesla, Toyota and ZF are in the bottom half of the ranks, while the lowest po sitions are held by Honda, Uber, nuTonomy and Baidu.

"This is an important report because Navigant takes a holistic look at what is required to bring self-driving vehicles to market at scale, looking beyond just the hardware and software development efforts that have dominated recent headlines," says Ford CTO Raj Nair.

Other analysts undoubtedly disagree with Navigant's methodology, particularly as it applies to the first companies to launch such technology. A Ford executive this week cautioned that the company might not sell fully autonomous cars directly to customers until 2031, far behind the projected timeframe projected by Tesla and other players. In the long run, however, established automakers such as Ford and GM could achieve an advantage in terms of total sales volume for autonomous-capable vehicles.