Technology sector’s tryst with the self-driving car space
So far in this series, we’ve discussed how virtual reality, augmented reality, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the self-driving vehicle could dominate the next computing cycle. Autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles will hit more than 75%, or $10 trillion, of the expected $13 trillion in spending during the new computing cycle.
Although technology companies don’t have the expertise to classify themselves as mainstream auto manufacturers, they do possess technologies required for the development of autonomous vehicles. Radar (radio detection and ranging), LIDAR (light detection and ranging), GPS (global positioning system), ultrasonic sensors, computer vision, and artificial intelligence are only a few of the basic technologies already being used to make the self-driving vehicles of tomorrow.
Alphabet’s (GOOG) (GOOGL) self-driving cars have already hit the road. Recently, it created Waymo to oversee its self-driving car project. Nissan also joined the self-driving car space in 2015. Ford Motor (F), BMW, and Toyota (TM) are also at various stages of developing their versions of autonomous cars.
In April 2016, Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon (AMZN) were considering taking a minority stake in HERE, a digital mapping service. HERE is owned by the German (EWG) premium car manufacturers Audi, BMW, and Daimler. German automakers intend to develop self-driving cars through HERE’s mapping service.
2016 marked IBM’s entry into the autonomous vehicle space
In mid-June 2016, IBM’s (IBM) Watson entered the self-driving vehicle space when Local Motors launched the first self-driving vehicle, Olli. Olli integrates IBM Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities and IoT technology to enhance passengers’ experience and enable interaction with the vehicle. Local Motors, a vehicle technology integrator, created the world’s first 3D-printed car. IBM Watson’s venture into the self-driving vehicles space will generate significant spending in the next computing era, building confidence among investors.