Baidu is becoming the new “dark horse” of autonomous vehicles. In 2017, Baidu launched project Apollo, an open data platform for the developers to c... View More
Baidu is becoming the new “dark horse” of autonomous vehicles. In 2017, Baidu launched project Apollo, an open data platform for the developers to create software for autonomous vehicles. Since then, the company has gathered more than 100 partners including leading automakers (Daimler, Ford), suppliers (Bosch, Continental) among others. Baidu is co-operating with China Speech Valley developers for the development of AI.
Baidu wants to be the brain behind autonomous vehicles and leave hardware to be handled by automakers and OEMs. Just as Google passes some of its proprietary apps to Android, Baidu is also reserving some of its proprietary services such as mapping and machine learning in Apollo. - Aman Madhok
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk met Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son in 2017 to talk about the possibility of funding, and potentially making Tesla a private company. Softbank h... View More
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk met Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son in 2017 to talk about the possibility of funding, and potentially making Tesla a private company. Softbank has ended all investment speculations by announcing that it would not invest in Tesla. This was expected as Softbank has already invested $2.25 billion in rival company GM for its Cruise project aimed at developing autonomous vehicles. Softbank could also have faced restrictions from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (Cfius), given Softbank’s close associations with China. Moreover, Tesla stock is now clearly overpriced given the increasing competition (with the likes of Chevrolet Bolt) and upcoming Chinese start-ups similar to Tesla, such as Nio and Byton - Aman Madhok
(Source: The Big Scope)
India is the fourth largest automotive market in the world, but ranks far below its peers in the EV space with only 2,000 EVs sold in 2017, according to Counter... View More
India is the fourth largest automotive market in the world, but ranks far below its peers in the EV space with only 2,000 EVs sold in 2017, according to Counterpoint’s EV Sales Tracker. Even though the government has plans for an all-electric fleet by 2030, most automakers are still hesitant to mass produce EVs, given the lack of clear government strategy, subsidies and charging infrastructure.
Despite this, leading players such as Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai do not want to lose the first mover advantage and lose their dominance in the fast evolving EV market. Automakers have started to plan and conduct market studies to mass produce EVs after 2020 based on market conditions. Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) floated its second tender to purchase 10,000 EVs to be used as government vehicles and this has further renewed automakers' interest in EVs.
However, as seen in other markets, support for charging infrastructure and subsidies (especially in cost-sensitive markets like India), which are paramount in the initial stages of market development, are still not adequate in India - Aman Madhok
(Source: Economic Times)
The automotive industry is very important for the German economy, with leading companies such as Volkswagen and Daimler based in the country. Although, the EV e... View More
The automotive industry is very important for the German economy, with leading companies such as Volkswagen and Daimler based in the country. Although, the EV era has already started for the automotive industry, German OEMs are far from developing their own battery technology and depend on key Asian players such as BYD and CATL for the supply of battery cells. Even though the German government is pushing for developing local industry for battery cells, it will take considerable time and investment to achieve technological expertise and economies that can compete with their Asian counterparts - Parv Sharma
(Source: The Verge)
Bosch is trying to transform itself from a traditional OEM to a “Silicon Valley” based new-age OEM. The company recently set up a Connected Mobility... View More
Bosch is trying to transform itself from a traditional OEM to a “Silicon Valley” based new-age OEM. The company recently set up a Connected Mobility division with 600 employees. Despite being a late entrant in the autonomous vehicle space, Bosch is trying to catch up with the competition with a spree of investments. Starting from 2017, Bosch has invested in navigation companies including DeepMap, TetraVue and Here Technologies.
Being a Tier 1 OEM, Bosch already has expertise in hardware for autonomous vehicles - such as sensors, actuators and control units. The company is now trying to gain expertise and control over the software, of which navigation remains an important component. Both Deepmap and TomTom (in partnership with Bosch) use sensor data to send live updates to maps, such technology would be beneficial for Bosch in the long-run, to integrate its hardware with navigation systems.
Bosch is already in partnership with Daimler to develop autonomous level4/level5 “robo-taxis” and invested in Splitting Fares – a B2B ride sharing service provider. With the above investments and partnerships, Bosch is offsetting the risks associated with traditional OEMs, especially with the rise in popularity of autonomous vehicles - Aman Madhok
(Source: Bosch Press)
The Filipino competition authorities approved Grab’s takeover of Uber’s operations in Philippines. The approval is an important development for Grab... View More
The Filipino competition authorities approved Grab’s takeover of Uber’s operations in Philippines. The approval is an important development for Grab and coincides with its strategy to strengthen its position in the south-east Asian region. Grab now controls more than 90% of the Filipino ride hailing market, giving it the power to control fares and services in the market.
Uber has not been successful in Southeast Asia as it tried to replicate its US strategy in the region, failing to understand local culture and specific market characteristics such as its cost sensitivity and customer behavior. In 2018, Uber decided to sell its Southeast Asian region operations to Grab for a 27.5% stake (valued approx. $1.6 billion) in the company. Considering Uber invested just $700 million in Southeast Asia between 2012-2017, gaining 27.5% stake in Grab is a good return for Uber for its exit from Southeast Asian region. The deal is also good for Softbank, a key investor in both the companies, as fighting for market share in the same region was hurting profit margins of both, Grab and Uber - Aman Madhok
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
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
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)
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
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