A major car company in the world to introduce Autonomous driving technology or are in the process of their development. However, while there are two leaders who are very close to fully Autonomous driving without driver intervention and the transformation of these technologies into a profitable business.
The words “Autonomous driving” investors hear from many well-known car manufacturers, from Tesla (TSLA) to BMW, but there is a big difference and millions of miles of real road tests between “Autonomous driving functions” – autopilot, keeping in lane, Parking assistance, etc., and the real “Autonomous driving” in which the vehicle computer system is completely controlled by them without the aid of the driver.
Succeeded in the latter by two American companies: Waymo is a subsidiary of Google (GOOG, GOOGL) and Cruise – subsidiary of General Motors (GM).
Autonomous vehicles both of these companies after obtaining approval of the local transport departments have traveled millions of miles for testing security technologies, but still had drivers for control. Until the end of 2020 these vehicles for the first time will carry passengers without a driver behind the wheel. To start the Waymo cars without drivers will travel to the Phoenix area with an area of 80 square kilometers, while the Cruise plans to send its unmanned vehicles on the road in a tough neighborhood of San Francisco.
The goal of both companies is the creation of a fleet of taxi passenger transport, in the absence of costs drivers promises billions of dollars in profits. The company Waymo in addition to the business model of passenger taxi Waymo One, also working on Autonomous fleet of trucks for delivery services – Waymo Via.
Several pilot programs Waymo Via already running in the Phoenix area, the company is testing a fleet of trucks in California and Arizona, and in the near future plans to expand to Texas and new Mexico.
What are the prospects of such a business model?
To evaluate the potential of this business is to look at the income of the company for every 1.6 km of the journey: for companies such as Uber and Lyft, it is about $2, while travel without drivers will bring about $1 for every 1.6 km of the path.
The market is huge, if you take into account the data published by the Federal highway administration (FHWA) of the U.S. Department of transportation, which showed that the total number of trips to the U.S. in 2018 rose to a record 5 trillion vehicle kilometres traveled (VMT). It is a market of more than $31 billion of revenue per year.
Added to this is the potential from savings on operating costs, since the goal of both companies is parks electric self-driving cars that cost less to operate than traditional cars with internal combustion engines.
Waymo or Cruise?
Key features among these companies that the parent company Waymo Alphabet is not a car company, it is not necessary to introduce technology and innovation and cooperate with Lexus from Toyota, Volvo, Fiat Chrysler, Jaguar Land Rover and others.
Waymo ordered from Jaguar Land Rover to 20,000 electric cars I-Pace, estimated value of more than $1 billion and was to be part of her fleet in 2020.
A subsidiary of General Motors is also working on improvements to its fleet of Cruise Origin Autonomous electric vehicles, testing new battery system Ultium on a specially equipped Chevy Bolt.
Alphabet is fully owned by Waymo, and GM owns about 69% of the Cruise.