The congressional and European Parliament testimonies of Facebook’s CEO focused attention on Internet and ecommerce corporations whose business models rely on the collection and exploitation of big data, with personal data being a major component. Legislators and the public at large came to realize a) the leverage such companies now possess through the dominant positions of the free and frequently personalized services they offer in exchange for the data they collect, b) the risks associated with not properly safeguarding this data, which reinforced the lessons from the massive data breach Equifax had suffered a few months earlier, c) the legislators lack of understanding about how the data is collected and used by these companies and their partners, and d) how difficult it will be to regulate the collection, combination, AI-based exploitation, and use of this data in a way that is agreeable to both consumers and businesses. These issues are re-emerging as more connected vehicles are shipped and will become more critical as companies using autonomous vehicles for consumer transportation, logistics, or specialized services start to employ big data of unprecedented variety and detail in insights-enabled business models. It is therefore necessary to understand who the main generators and users of this data are, who owns each type of generated data, the risks that may arise from mishandling the collected data, and whether existing and proposed regulations relating to autonomous vehicles and more broadly next-generation mobility suffice or need to be augmented.
On-Demand Mobility Services, and particularly ride-hailing, have emerged as a strong option for consumer urban transportation. In the process, ride-hailing has disrupted the taxi and limo industries and could next disrupt public transportation and last-mile package delivery. Nowhere is this more evident than in cities such as New York and San Francisco. Other mobility services such as shared ride-hailing, and microtransit, as well as various forms of car sharing are also showing robust growth. In a previous post I organized automotive OEMs into five categories. I’ve tried to create a similar structure with a small set of categories for the companies offering on-demand mobility services. It proved to be a harder task because of the complex interactions among the dimensions I used. In this post I present my first attempt to organize these companies into five categories based on how they approach next-generation mobility and the value they offer to their customers.
In early November 2017, Waymo announced that while it will continue its tests in Washington, California, and Texas, it was ready to start ferrying consumers in its fleet of driverless minivans in Chandler, Arizona. Later the same month GM presented their roadmap for autonomous vehicles and details about the mobility services it intends to offer using such vehicles starting in 2019. These larger scale efforts follow a year during which incumbent OEMs, automotive suppliers, global ride-hailing companies, large technology companies, and startups have been demonstrating autonomous vehicles of many form factors targeting a variety of next-generation mobility applications. Automotive OEMs are making important decisions about the role they want to play in next-generation mobility. These decisions will organize automotive OEMs to five categories.
In my book and previous posts I build a broad case for the key role big data and AI play in next-generation mobility, and provide several examples from transportation and logistics. Next-generation mobility is about intelligent, connected vehicles that utilize some form of electrified propulsion, and on-demand shared transport services of people and goods that will be offered through such vehicles. Many of these vehicles will be capable of autonomous movement. Next-generation mobility will help us address some of our biggest challenges, such as pollution and climate change, urbanization and congestion, aging population, and traffic fatalities, while enabling us to maintain economic prosperity by operating highly optimized supply chains that span the globe. It will give rise to a new value chain where big data and AI will play a key role. It is therefore important to identify the new monetization opportunities enabled by big data and AI in the context of this value chain.
In the previous post I described a new value chain that will connect companies providing on-demand personal mobility services and three emerging models for this value chain. This value chain is the result of the consumer shift from a car ownership-centric transportation model to a hybrid model that blends car ownership with vehicle access through a combination of on-demand mobility services and public transportation. It is also based on the stated intent by the providers of certain of these services to adopt Autonomous Connected Electrified (ACE) vehicles. Various acquisitions, partnerships, including the recently announced partnerships between Waymo and Avis, and Apple and Hertz, and investments by automotive industry incumbents and by companies offering, or intend to offer, on-demand mobility services point to new ecosystems that will be developed around this value chain. In this post I provide a deeper analysis of the emerging value chain and explore investment opportunities in startups that will participate in it.