Photo: Thomas Desmet and Marco Kunz, both Product Owners at R3PI, discussing automotive trends.  

The way we travel is fundamentally changing before our eyes. New systems of transportation are allowing us to be hypermobile and vehicles are becoming more intelligent, cleaner and safer. These improved vehicles will help us to responsibly utilize the space we have in crowded cities, for example, and hopefully solve many infrastructural problems.

For most of us, owning your own vehicle is incredibly convenient, but this convenience is costly. In the future, your vehicle could become an earning asset, not just a depreciating one.

These three factors, we believe, are driving change in the industry:

Urbanization and sustainability – the need to utilize vehicles better and reduce the amount of pollution from vehicles.
Flexibility and seamless travel – the need to have transportation available anywhere, and the need to move seamlessly from A to B.
Technology, specifically software – more sensors provide more data and combined with more computing power and applications create more abilities to support the driver with the ultimate goal of making the driver redundant and maneuvering the vehicle along roads autonomously.

At Solera’s innovation hub, R3PI, we think a lot about how these changes will impact the automotive industry. We asked our experts to discuss a few trends they think will change the way we think about cars today.

Product Leaders Thomas Desmet, Marco Kunz and Pascal Stucki develop and launch new products for Solera and its customers. These guys spend their days thinking about the next big thing in automotive tech. We’ll be sharing some of their key insights in a three-part series: Automotive Trends.

Part 1 is all about market share and new opportunities for players in the OEM space. Be on the lookout for Parts 2 & 3, but for now, enjoy!

Part 1: Competing for market share and new income opportunities in the OEM space

Most autonomous driving projects are happening in tech firms, often in partnership with the automobile industry to combine the collective knowledge into hardware and software products.

Take the UBER and Toyota cooperation as an example, where Toyota, Denso invested $667 million to jointly work on autonomous driving, despite burning through significant cash.

“This is super capital-intensive R&D,” according to Desmet. And we’re not talking about small projects—recently Uber’s self-driving venture was valued at over $7 billion. Just for comparison, in its 15 years, Tesla is valued at over $60 billion, surpassing the 100-year old German OEM giant BMW and Daimler, valued at approximately $55 billion.

Also, tech veteran Microsoft is looking for its share of the pie, providing the cloud-based Azure autonomous driving platform to early cooperation partners including VW, Renault and Nissan.
While Waymo, Google’s autonomous vehicle is reported to drive most miles without human intervention.

Stucki notes the emerging competition is something pretty exciting to watch. “Matching the best software developers with the leading hardware providers creates a lot of potential in a market that’s just waiting for disruption.”

Two examples of this match made in heaven come to mind: A. Microsoft Office is enabled in non-Microsoft devices, and B. OEMs provide both hardware and software, as we see with Apple and Tesla.

“We believe that we will see both in the future, where traditional OEMs are more likely to rely on software providers,” says Stucki.

Tesla is taking autonomous vehicles further—the company recently announced that it can run robotaxis in the Tesla model 3. 

This is where it becomes interesting, says DesmetIn comparison to other vehicles, a Tesla can make money for you and be considered an investment rather than a commodity.   

If you consider the future, in a world where everything is available for peer-to-peer rental, anything you own, from your clothes to your apartment, could make money for you when youre not using it, adds Stucki. 

Following British designer Vivienne Westwood’s words, “Buy less, choose well and make it last, Desmet twists it: “Buy less, choose well and let it make money for you. 

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