Self-driving as a Service

An analysis of the positioning of self-driving transportation service providers

Note: all data included in this analysis are not from the related companies or their investors and may not be 100% accurate.

The transportation service market is HUGE. Transportation service includes the service for passengers and the service for goods. The passenger transportation service is also called mobility service. From traditional automakers to the new self-driving software start-ups, everyone knows that transportation service, rather than auto manufacturing or software development, will be the most attractive market.

Traditional automakers and self-driving technology companies are entering the transportation service market.

On one hand, there are many cases showing that traditional automakers are building their mobility service arms. Daimler initiated its car2go in 2008, Ford acquired Chariot in 2016, GM acquired Sidecar in 2016 and built the new Maven, BMW launched its ReachNow in 2016, and VW strategically invested $300M in Gett in 2016. Moreover, Ford envisions its future as the Most Trusted Mobility Company. On the other hand, self-driving software companies are also trying to enter the transportation service market: Zoox, Optimus Ride, and Voyage are entering the urban taxi market; TuSimple, Embark, and Starsky Robotics are entering the long-distance freight trucking market; Nuro, Udelv, and Starship are entering the local “last-mile” delivery market.

Self-driving transportation service companies vary in strategies: whom to deliver for, what to deliver, where to deliver, and how often to deliver.

Self-driving software companies have different strategies when entering the transportation service market. A group of companies delivers goods, and the rest deliver passengers. Within each of these groups, the companies have different strategies that vary in the content to deliver, the customers to deliver for, the place and distance to deliver, and the frequency and speed to deliver.

Companies that serve the high-frequency rigid demands with simple and low-cost solutions will have the largest potential and value.

Given the differences in strategies, companies will have different solutions. These solutions will vary in capacity, coverage, speed, storage environment, self-driving requirement, and business model. The difference in targeting markets means different potentials for different companies, while the difference in solutions means how fast these companies can realize their potentials. Those companies that serve the high-frequency rigid demands, such as food delivery and urban taxi, with a relatively simple and low-cost solution will have the highest value.

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