December 18, 2016


Detroit's advantage : Self-driving cars will probably go mainstream because of traditional automakers -- not tech companies (David Gilbert, Dec 17, 2016, Vice)

While tech companies are struggling, traditional car manufacturers are making smart investments, led by an icon of old Detroit: General Motors. This week it announced it would produce its next-generation driverless cars at its Orion Township assembly plant in Michigan -- where lawmakers just introduced a series of bills permitting driverless-vehicle tests on public roads.

Earlier this year GM spent over $1 billion to buy San Francisco-based autonomous driving startup Cruise Automation, with the company planning to roll out some of that tech in its 2017 fleet of cars.

But GM isn't just betting on driverless cars, it's also actively looking at how car ownership and mobility will change in the future. In January, the company invested $500 million in ride-sharing company Lyft, and has said its first batch of driverless cars would become part of the Lyft fleet. It has also launched its own ride-sharing service, called Maven.

In this space it will compete with Uber, which this week rolled out its driverless car technology -- in partnership with carmaker Volvo -- in San Francisco. However, it was immediately ordered to stop testing by the California regulators as it didn't have the right license.

While Apple and Google were assessing their ability to build a car, the companies that have been building cars for decades began to make their own investments in technology.

"Car companies have way more leverage than I think the technology companies thought - and maybe even [more than] the car companies thought," Ramsey said. That leverage includes years of experience in the supply chain, production, safety requirements, and the sales channel.

Posted by at December 18, 2016 10:26 AM