Smart Cars Smart Money



We know that the future is for autonomous electric vehicles, but everything else is still up for grabs as the future is still being invented. So, what can we learn about the future of Autonomous Vehicles by monitoring trends, innovation and investments?

With so much innovation in the industry being driven by startups and disruptors from outside the traditional auto space, we have used PatSnap Discovery to take a quick look at three signals for what might happen next.

 The Land Battle.

AV companies focused on mobility sharing strategies are seeking cities, that offer the densest population centres and therefore the largest markets. And the land battle for infrastructure has already begun. Some have already started to acquire prime real estate so that they can park, clean, repair and recharge hundreds, or perhaps even thousands of vehicles at a time; including GM Cruise in San Francisco, Waymo in Phoenix, Ford in Miami and nuTonomy/Aptiv in Las Vegas.

And these massive car park sites also need to have the capacity to recharge the vehicles from the city’s electric grid. Watch out for land grabs and power infrastructure investments.

 The Battle of the Brains.

At the heart of autonomous vehicle designs are the chips and semiconductors that provide the intelligent systems that manage everything. NXP Semiconductors are traditionally a major player with TV’s, Phones, lighting and even chips for passports and are well positioned to now move into the Auto industry. Could they become a giant disruptor?

In 2016 Chinese giant Qualcomm made a bid to acquire them that failed. The Battle of the Brains might come down to strategic decisions to partner or even acquire chip makers like NXP, or to move like Tesla or Daimler and decide to go alone. But the fact remains that the rewards for whoever wins the battle of the brains, is huge.  Acquisition and investment will be the signs to watch out for.

 The Battle of the Start Ups

The very real prospect of autonomous driving has led investors to open their checkbooks to ensure they’re part of this future. In the first three quarters of 2018, they committed, and this level of investment is fueling the battle of the startups.

AV startup Nuro announced in February 2019 that it raised $940 million to launch a self-driving delivery vehicle to run errands from picking up groceries to delivering dinner and have since partnered with U.S. supermarket chain Kroger co to provide a range of delivery services.

And they are not alone. AV start up Aurora has secured over $530 million from Sequoia and Amazon, who could someday use autonomous vehicle technology “in a fulfillment center, or on the road”.

It won’t just be a case of the biggest wallet that wins the battle of the startups, but investment tracking still provides interesting clues to how the future of AV’s is being bought and shaped, especially when Amazon have a cool $700m to drop into Rivian an electric truck start up.

 Predicting the future against such a fast shifting backdrop with so many variables is time consuming and complex using traditional databases and prediction instruments.

PatSnap Discovery helps you search through multiple data sources quickly and easily to help innovators and investors to make better decision about how to shape the future.

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