Is It A Good Idea To Bet On Self-Driving Cars?

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Context

From silicon valley to Detroit, several players are chasing the self-driving technology. Be it Tesla, Uber, Google, Apple, or OEMs.

This technology will need hundreds of millions of $ in investments by these companies, and is told to become workable by 2020.

But, will this technology make a good business?

Following aspects need to be considered to form a view:

  1. Competition: High. Big names are already chasing this technology
  2. Technology Diffusion: Easy. For instance, key people from Google’s car project have left to either join other companies or form their own start-ups which later get acquired (e.g. Otto by Uber)
  3. Adoption: Slow. There will always be a perception of risk associated with driver-less cars, and the usage will be possible in limited circumstances only
  4. Regulation: Uncertain. There liability and regulatory issues involved in letting a 3000 pound car steer itself with no human at the controls remain huge
Key Hypothesis* 

Self-driving cars will prove to be a cool technology, but bad business–due to high competition, quick diffusion, and  slow adoption.

Do you also hold the view that self-driving cars will prove to be a cool technology, but bad business?

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* A hypothesis is different from a foresight. When we are at the hypothesis stage, we remain open to collecting more evidence and testing our view. A foresight is a view of which we are contextually certain.

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