July 25, 2017

Legacy automakers have advantages over Uber and its ilk



UBER Logo on black background
Image Courtesy of UBER

Operators ride inside one of Uber’s self-driving SUVs on Monday, March 27, 2017 along Penn Ave. in the Strip District. Technology companies that specialize in software dominate the headlines in the discussion of the self-driving car. However, unlike building mobile apps or creating social networks, software will only get you so far without the infrastructure to design, validate, build, distribute and support a complete vehicle.

Chicago-based Navigant Research has twice evaluated the global competition for self-driving technology. When we first analyzed this marketplace in 2015, we considered only original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, such as General Motors and BMW. While there were already a number of new players like Google and nuTonomy working on the technology at that time, not enough was known about their capabilities to make a reasonable judgment.

Much has changed since then, as dozens of startups have emerged and other companies’ plans have come into focus as the technology matures. For our latest report, published this month, we expanded the scope of companies that we evaluated. We shed some OEMs, such as Mazda and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which have either indicated that automated driving is not a development priority or not given signs of active development, and […]

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