Early last November 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, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. Later the same month GM’s management team held an investor day to present the roadmap of its autonomous vehicle program and detail the mobility services it intends to offer using such vehicles starting in 2019, building on its tests in San Francisco and Scottsdale, another suburb of Phoenix. These larger scale efforts follow a year during which various company types, from incumbent OEMs, to automotive suppliers, global ride-hailing companies, large technology companies, to startups have been demonstrating autonomous vehicles of many form factors targeting a variety of next-generation mobility applications.
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.