The traditional thanks to enter an emerging market is to either build it yourself or pip out from somebody else. Google developed its own self-driving car lab within the late 2000s, which it later renamed Waymo. Waymo develops AI software and hardware for autonomous driving. Google doesn’t, manufacture its own cars. It relies on the vehicles of other carmakers like Toyota, Audi, Fiat Chrysler, and Lexus to check and deploy its technology.
But Google had a start , which allowed it to make its own self-driving car unit from scratch. Other companies that entered the sector later made up for his or her tardiness by acquiring self-driving car startups. Examples include Amazon’s acquisition of Zoox and Intel’s acquisition of MobileEye.
Tesla is among the few who have an entire self-driving car stack. The electrical carmaker has autonomous driving technology integrated into its electric vehicles. It also has many sold cars that are constantly collecting fresh data to further enhance its algorithms.
Apple also has plans to manufacture its own self-driving cars.
Apple also has plans to manufacture its own self-driving car, though the complete details have yet to emerge. Microsoft’s approach to the self-driving car industry is different. “We partner across the industry. We aren’t within the business of creating vehicles or delivering end mobility as a service offerings,” Sanjay Ravi, head of Automotive Industry at Microsoft. He wrote this during a blog post that laid out Microsoft’s automotive strategy in 2019. Instead of acquiring startups and test-driving cars in cities, Microsoft features a program to support self-driving car startups by providing them engineering support and discounted access to cloud services.
These startups can become potential Microsoft partners within the future. In October Microsoft entered a partnership agreement with Wayve a London-based developer of self-driving car software that was a part of Microsoft’s start-up program. Cruise is the second self-driving auto company Microsoft is partnering with. Microsoft also has partnerships with several carmakers to supply them with cloud services.
Why Microsoft’s strategy can succeed.
The problem with the self-driving car industry is that we still don’t know once we will get there. Per Annam, we’re missing new deadlines on having fully autonomous cars on roads. But just like the go after artificial general intelligence, we all know that we’ve a bumpy and potentially long road ahead. We also don’t know what the ultimate technology will appear as if.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes that computer vision alone are going to be enough to succeed in full autonomy. Other companies are banking on lidar technology becoming cheaper and stable within the future. Car design also will undergo changes because the industry matures.
Another issue is the regulation of self-driving cars. Will self-driving cars be allowed to share the road with human drivers? Will they only be allowed in specific, geo-fenced areas? How will culpability be determined just in the case of accidents? Every one of those areas can undergo fundamental changes. And people changes are going to be decisive in determining which startups will flourish and which collapse within the coming years.
Microsoft’s strategy of not acquiring startups.
Interestingly the one thing which will likely remain constant is data, cloud, and software, the three areas where Microsoft already excels at. And this is an often why Microsoft’s strategy of not acquiring startups will protect the corporate against the industry’s volatility.
For one thing, partnership may be a flexible format that’s compatible for the quickly evolving self-driving car space. Entering a partnership is quicker and cheaper than a full acquisition (compare the $2 billion partnership with a full $30 billion acquisition of Cruise, if it had been possible at all). At an equivalent time, leaving a partnership is far easier than having to scrap and sell a whole self-driving unit.
Meanwhile, small investments allow Microsoft to cast a wider net and become engaged during a diverse range of solutions through its self-driving startup accelerator program and its partnership agreements. Already, the roster of startups included in Microsoft’s self-driving startup program represents a various set of research areas and directions. Any of them can become breakthrough solutions within the future.
While Microsoft supports these startups, it’ll also tap into their industry expertise and develop its in-house talent and tools. This may be very crucial if and when Microsoft considers making a more serious move in developing self-driving cars. As the field matures and potential winners become more evident. Microsoft are going to be during a better position to upgrade its relationship with startups into full partnership and eventual acquisition.
Microsoft’s partnership with Open AI.
If Microsoft’s partnership with Open AI is any indication, tons of the investment that Microsoft makes into startups is in Azure credits. Which makes sure those startups become locked into Microsoft’s cloud service rather than going with other cloud providers. So, Microsoft’s wide selection of partnerships will enable it to become a growing hub to draw in self-driving car startups. It’ll use the expertise and knowledge of those startups to reinforce its cloud and AI services for autonomous driving and successively attract more customers.
Many analysts think Microsoft is lagging within the self-driving car space by not having a lively program to check cars in cities. I feel that the corporate has made a sensible move to solidify its position in things which will remain constant (cloud, data, and algorithms). While developing a technique which will allow it to adapt to the inevitable changes which will overcome the industry within the coming years.
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