Technology Bulletin

    • From Waymo to Otto to Uber to Kodiak Robotics – a ...
    • Aug 10, 2018
    • Don Burnette is known for his self-driving work at Google (Waymo) which he left and co-founded Otto a self-driving truck startup. Otto which was acquired by Ube... View More

      Don Burnette is known for his self-driving work at Google (Waymo) which he left and co-founded Otto a self-driving truck startup. Otto which was acquired by Uber in 2016 was involved in a legal battle with Waymo over patent infringements which Uber lost and gave up its self-driving Truck ambitions and lots of dollars!! However, Don Burnette is back on the scene with his new startup Kodiak Robotics which just emerged out of stealth mode with US$40 million funding. Kodiak is now looking to build something more than Otto, a holistic sensor-driven technology beyond Lidar. We believe its going to be an uphill task for Kodiak, but again talent pool is quite limited in this space and there could be an exit strategy in tow here. This could be a good opportunity for sensor companies to check out Kodiak’s new ambitions Neil Shah

      (Source: Wired)

    • Ford Separates Self-Driving Autonomous Efforts int...
    • Aug 10, 2018
    • The cold-war between Detroit based traditional car manufacturers and Silicon Valley based car manufacturers is actually hot. Ford re-hired veteran Sherif Marakb... View More

      The cold-war between Detroit based traditional car manufacturers and Silicon Valley based car manufacturers is actually hot. Ford re-hired veteran Sherif Marakby who spent a year at Uber and now made him a CEO of Ford’s distinct company – Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC. This is a much needed and present move for Ford to separate out it's self-driving efforts into Ford AV to help it grow faster and not in the shadows of traditional businesses, which could slow down the efforts due to lot of inertia, politics and conflicting approaches. This will also help Ford attract investors and partners similar to GM’s $2.25B investment from Softbank for its driverless business. This will potentially help Ford AV to be more agile, innovative, open and catch up with the competition -  Neil Shah

      (Source: Bloomberg)

    • Carmakers Speed Towards Electric Future
    • Aug 10, 2018
    • The effect of government regulations on the EV market is diminishing with the maturing market. Declining battery costs and increasing economies of scale have im... View More

      The effect of government regulations on the EV market is diminishing with the maturing market. Declining battery costs and increasing economies of scale have improved the economics of owning an electric vehicle, given its low maintenance and fuel costs. Moreover, automakers are convinced of the future of electric cars and want to get an early-mover advantage in the US. Furthermore, China’s mandate on automakers to manufacture EVs will affect the demand in the US and other markets as well Aman Madhok

      (Source: Bloomberg BNA)

    • Ola to Challenge Uber in UK
    • Aug 10, 2018
    • This is Ola’s move to enter into a high profile and high taxi-price market – its first outside India. The move can help Ola gain mindshare as a glob... View More

      This is Ola’s move to enter into a high profile and high taxi-price market – its first outside India. The move can help Ola gain mindshare as a global platform for mobility, like Uber. This could also attract investors who weren’t able to or won’t invest in Uber.
      Uber and Ola share an investor in Softbank. From Softbank's perspective, it can have two horses in every race. The ridesharing market is a winner-takes-all market; marginal players will quickly be forced out. Ola’s clever move in the UK is to gain the participation of the black cabs. While it is not yet launching in London, this could be next and will help the iconic London ‘cabbies’ fight back against Uber, which has decimated their business over the last few years. By going after Uber's stronghold markets such as UK or Australia, Ola could also be looking to gain leverage and pressurize Uber to merge in India 
      Aman Madhok

      (Source: Reuters)

    • Smart Enters Crowded China EV Market as US Growth ...
    • Aug 10, 2018
    • Smart Fortwo sales growth in the US has not been impressive, even though demand is decent in some European countries. China is a prospective market for Fortwo g... View More

      Smart Fortwo sales growth in the US has not been impressive, even though demand is decent in some European countries. China is a prospective market for Fortwo given the preference for small cars. Smart should also be able to compete with the local Chinese brands if priced appropriately and has the potential to win a reasonable market share thanks to innovative design and strong marketing Aman Madhok

      (Source: CNBC)

    • Supply Chain Risks Mounting for EVs
    • Aug 10, 2018
    • Cobalt supplies will remain a constraint for the next few years but will ease gradually as leading EV companies such as Tesla and GM move away from cobalt and a... View More

      Cobalt supplies will remain a constraint for the next few years but will ease gradually as leading EV companies such as Tesla and GM move away from cobalt and add nickel to EV batteries. While limited cobalt supplies can limit EV growth in the near term, it will have limited long term implications Aman Madhok

      (Source: Market Watch)

    • Chinese Electric Car Start-up Xpeng Aiming at Tesl...
    • Aug 10, 2018
    • Xiaopeng Motors is a promising start-up but has a long way to go before making an impact. The company will face stiff competition both from domestic EV makers a... View More

      Xiaopeng Motors is a promising start-up but has a long way to go before making an impact. The company will face stiff competition both from domestic EV makers and Tesla’s entry into China; Chinese customers’ preference for western brands will likely benefit Tesla in China – assuming no impact from trade sanctions. Xiaopeng Motors must create a USP to compete against existing premium EV brands in China. Xiaopeng has identified R&D as a key focus area with around 700 employees in this department. One to watch - Aman Madhok

      (Source: South China Morning Post)

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