Just few weeks in 2019 and news anticipates some of the most interesting trends we will likely see through the year.
1) Mergers (industrial & corporates)
Biggest German automotive brands are considering multiple areas of cooperations. After the big merger between Daimler and BMW mobility services (moovel, drivenow, parknow, car2go, mytaxi and few more brands) just approved by antitrust authorities and recently announced, VW has entered in the arena mentioning that they have in place conversation for larger cooperations agreements with the historical competitors. According to Autonews “VW is pursuing the approach of an open platform to include as many partners as possible,” VW said in an emailed statement. Strategic partners and a broad network is essential to success, it said, without giving details”. It seems that the whole German automotive industry seeks a potential industrial alliance to develop common technology to delivered autonomous driving and mobility. It’ s clear that the automakers need to join forces against a common entrant “enemy”: giants from USA and China. Not necessary automakers but tech companies. The competitive landscape is rapidly changing and traditional rules will not work anymore in the near future. Investments required for autonomous driving platforms are huge and synergies became crucial to compete in the timeline and delivering expectations. There has likely been a Government moral suasion behind these conversations since Germany can’t risk putting the automotive industry in risk.
2) Tech industry moves into manufacturing
If we go on the other side of the Ocean..we face a similar path in the other way around. Waymo, the recognized leader in software suite for selfdriving cars, just
announced to set up a factory in Michigan, investing little more than 13.6M (which is quite a small amount compared to R&D so far) creating up to 400 jobs aiming to put more 20.000 L4 vehicles by 2022. Magna group will partner with Waymo building the factory proving that even tech companies are jumping over traditional comfort zones (software focused only). While this step is an early one for USA players, they come far after Chinese industry that is already leading EV components supply chain and AV production.
After the hype in Autonomous driving showed last year we can expect more pragmatic anc concrete approach. Understanding that Level 5 is far away to come, there will be several use cases where AV (level 4) can fit well to improve mobility and safety. EUvsUSvsChina.. global competition will be around technology, use cases, vehicles and regulations. A good time to be in the industry!