The whole idea of full autonomy is not a new one. Most who follow my channel are aware of Tesla’s effort for full autonomous features in their fleet by the end of 2019.
This brings up an interesting thought: If your car doesn’t need human input, what we will all do with our time. This is why I believe we are about to see the birth of a massive, trillion dollar industry with the advent of fully autonomous EVs.
Autonomy will pave the way for an in-car experience that all of the world’s largest companies will clamor for like Amazon. This is why I believe Amazon is leading a $700m investment in Rivian, the all electric truck and SUV maker. I believe Amazon’s interest in Rivian is not just EVs - it’s the revenue opportunity it will have to sell you it’s products and services when the vehicle is driving itself.
Global vehicle sales in 2017 alone about 79 million.
Vehicles are an important part of how the developed world gets around. In fact, the average distance driven annually for Americans, according to the Federal Highway Administration, is 13,476 mi (21,687 km).
A 2016 AAA study states Americans spend 293 hours each year in a car. That’s 5.6 hours every single week.
This begs the question, when cars becomes fully autonomous, what will we all do.
I did an informal poll on Twitter and here’s what some of your said:
Aside from sleeping, anyone company who has anything to do with the Internet will see a significant interest in gaining the attention of those who need something to do while an autonomous car drives itself.
To understand how much of a potential this will be for the largest and most successful companies in the world, let’s take a look at the areas of our life this would reach.
Online shopping services
Video streaming services
Amazon Prime Movies: Mentioned above
iTunes: Mentioned above
Music streaming services
iTunes: Mentioned above
Amazon Music: Mentioned above
Google/Android Music: Mentioned above
The total 2018 revenue for the companies mentioned is $1.4T. So the first company to dominate the fully autonomous EV space, will also likely dominate our pocket books in the next 5-20 years.
This is one of many reasons why Tesla’s Model S, X, and 3 are so ahead of everyone else. While almost every other automaker is just beginning to thinking about EVs, Tesla is on to the next most important task at hand, finalizing full autonomy and the in-car experience.
Companies like Waymo, Nvidia, Cruise, Bosch, and just about every auto maker is working on an autonomous project. Tesla, however, appears to be at the forefront of this race to autonomy with more than 1 billion miles driven on their semi autonomous suite, Autopilot. This grows exponentially with each new car that is delivered as the Autopilot hardware is installed by default.
What does the entertainment and communication in-car experience look like. Initially, it could look like what we know as an app store like iTunes or Google Play where we can visually select from various third party apps. For automakers that have the software know-how, they can review and approve apps that fit within a specific criteria. This ensures that a app makers submit apps that don’t create a safety issue. For automakers that don’t have the software know-how, they can license out an OS like Android Auto with a built in app store. Long term the in-car experience is likely to look at a AI personal assistant like Alexa or KITT from Knight Rider that leverages voice to control functions. It’s very likely that automakers will follow Tesla’s lead by installing larger touchscreens that allow for easy interaction and the ability to see no matter which seat you are sitting in.
Why will EV autonomy be the next trillion dollar tech industry? Because we will get back at least 1 hour each day we’d normally be behind the wheel. Now, we’ll be ordering Amazon items through Alexa, watching Netflix, and listening to the latest Taylor Swift on Spotify all from our car.