The future of Autonomous Vehicles - bold predictions from field experts and top-notch VCs


As Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) are a major driver of Artificial Intelligence Use Cases we dug into this fascinating discussion about the state of AV and the challenges the near future will bring to the automotive industry.

Detroit, Silicon Valley, Ford, Tesla... Sonal Chokshi from a16z one of the leading VC in US interviews two expe

Here's our main lessons learned from this great episode:

  1. The current AV industry is the exact replica of the old Automotive industry. If look back at titans of the car industry in the US you think about geniuses such as Alfred P. Sloan, Henry Ford. Today we have Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, but we have the same patterns of innovation.

  2. To predict the trends of the autonomous vehicles industry look at how mobile phone innovation has worked in the last ten years. Don't expect a defining autonomous vehicle movement. There was no such moment for mobile phones aside from in 2012/2013 with the flourishing global success of Snapchat and Instagram.

  3. We are laying down the train tracks while at the same time inventing the trains. Old trivial problems like fitting air conditioning into a car will need to be solved again when electric vehicles take over. The very nature of a car will change, and almost every single component of a vehicle will be impacted.

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4 Expect a renaissance of the automotive market: The AV industry will see emerging a universe of new companies broadly distributed into two categories: Software companies and infrastructure companies, like Bosch for instance, that provides the infrastructure for AVs to operate in the physical environment.

5 AV innovation will have different pace, depending on use case by use case basis. Different use cases will develop in parallel, at different speeds, in different market segments (E.g. bus shuttles, robo taxis, autonomous trucks, or agriculture trucks) depending on customers' needs and complexity of the tasks. Many say that Autonomous trucks will be the first to hit the market.

6 Protectionism, protectionism, protectionism ! Governments will be much more protectionist towards autonomous vehicles than with other internet tech. The AV industry is of national and also regional interest: governments will want the AV technology ecosystem growing up locally, all around the automotive industry, instead of being delocalised as other internet services.

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  • discover what the "Trolley problem" taught us about Self driving cars. (SPOILER ALERT...Information flows in human brains (and bodies) very slowly while computers have the time to plan the best action in advance in case a collision happens, or a big problem concerning the ethics of AI: e.g. who should the machine kill?

  • guess how much it would cost to make a sandwich on your own... and then read this article about the (Sandwich experiment. (SPOILER ALERT: The development of an ecosystem of companies around the AV industry is a natural way to spread risk and to supercede inefficiencies. While full verticalization is expensive (the sandwich experiment link), it's about the convenience of unbundling costs. Stuff that you don't have on the market. It's about reducing inefficiencies, such as in the example of the sandwich, doing it yourself costs much less. )