We’ve seen a lot of this type of maneuvering already, with GM buying Cruise Automation, Intel acquiring Mobileye, and Ford giving $1 billion to some AI company that no one has ever heard of. Big companies are buying little startups and then leveraging their technology and expertise to round out the much larger-scale enterprise of developing, testing, validating, producing, and distributing self-driving cars.
YOU PROBABLY WON’T BE BUYING A SELF-DRIVING CAR AT A DEALERSHIP
Early on, most highly automated vehicles will be available through mobility services like ride-sharing and car-sharing, Abuelsamid predicts. In other words, you probably won’t be buying a self-driving car at a dealership, but rather riding in one that you hail through an app-based service like Uber or Lyft. These vehicles will be part of a fleet owned by a manufacturer, like Ford or GM. Fleet ownership will help manufacturers manage the issues self-driving vehicles are likely to encounter early on, like accidents. And there will be accidents.
“With all of that in mind, it’s far easier for a manufacturer to replicate the sort of logistics platform that Uber or Lyft have than it is for those companies to invest in and create the development, manufacturing, and service infrastructure that [original equipment manufacturers] have,” Abuelsamid said. “That’s exactly what’s already happening as all the leading OEMs already invested in or developing their own services