Competition is good for business, this also applies to autonomous driving. Nevertheless every organization has to keep its eyes open for promising collaboration partners. Both traditional car manufacturers and new market players like Waymo (Google) are looking for suitable cooperations to fill their gaps.
Autonomous driving drives the change
The race towards autonomous driving has affected this trend in particular. Autonomous driving is not just about introducing a new way of driving, it is disrupting the industry. Current automotive profit margins are nothing compared to what companies could earn with driverless taxis. Just imagine the variety of services that can be offered inside an autonomous car.
Car manufacturers are slowly transforming into mobility service providers. But they need help from other companies to perform the change. The outcome: several strong company blocks in competition with each other.
Block building in automotive
The different blocks are fighting for the lead in the race towards autonomous driving. The goal is to offer a robot taxi service by 2021. BMW for example gathered several companies like Continental, Mobileye, Intel and Hyundai in order to bring together their knowledge whereas Waymo has been buying cars from FCA to modify them on their own.
Like BMW, Mercedes-Benz counts on strong cooperations. The Swabians teamed up with Bosch and the Chinese comapny Geely to give Waymo a hard time. A Mercedes-Benz representative recently announced that they plan to build autonomous cars from scratch instead of using modified versions of already existing models like Waymo does.
More blocks worth mentioning are:
– General Motors with Cruise Automation
– Aptiv (Delphi) with nuTonomy and Lyft
– Volvo and Autoliv (marketed as Zenuity)
Another notable block emerged around Baidu in China. The company has more than 70 partners and is currently working on optimizing the platform Apollo: 2.0.
About the author:
David Fluhr is journalist and owner of the digital magazine “Autonomes Fahren & Co”. He is reporting regularly about trends and technologies in the fields Autonomous Driving, HMI, Telematics and Robotics. Link to his site: http://www.autonomes-fahren.de