So far in this series, we have covered how mainstream automakers (XLY) such as General Motors (GM), Ford (F), and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) have increased efforts to hit the road with their autonomous vehicles lately. These efforts include their collaborations with and investments in technology companies.
It’s important to note that the development of driverless vehicles is only possible with the integration of automation-capable hardware in vehicles. In simpler terms, we can think of the vehicle as the body of an autonomous vehicle and the software and platforms capable of vehicle automation as the mind. Therefore, the role of vehicle automation platforms is critical for the functioning of driverless vehicles.
Providing platforms for autonomous vehicles
During an interview with Bloomberg, Tim Cook, Apple’s (AAPL) CEO, emphasized the role and importance of core technology for autonomous vehicles. He also suggested that Apple is “focusing on autonomous systems.”
These tech companies are well aware of the cyclical and highly capital-intensive nature of the automotive business. This could be the reason why they want to benefit by only supplying the platforms and software to allow vehicle automation rather than producing their own vehicles.
Experts see vehicle automation as one of the biggest revolutions in the auto industry. Therefore, we shouldn’t expect any company to do everything from researching, developing platforms, testing, and producing fully autonomous vehicles, at least not at this early stage.