It seems automakers are trying to get a leg up due to the threat of Silicon Valley tech/auto companies driving towards autonomous vehicle development. Cooperation between major OEMs, partnerships, and joint ventures are becoming increasingly present.
The navigation mapping service know as HERE, is owned as a joint effort between BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen. It monitors real-time traffic and road conditions by collecting video data and sharing it with systems in other vehicles. The technology is expected to launch next year. Similarly, VW’s subsidiary, Skoda, along with Volvo are pursuing the same type of system provided by TomTom. Systems such as this, if adopted by more automakers, will contribute to safer driving now and safer autonomous driving, over time.
Nissan’s manager for self-driving cars, Stewart Callegari stressed:
“Gradually all of the car manufacturers will have to get more and more involved in managing data. It’s natural. We’re going to have to work much more collaboratively.”
Germany’s top automakers are further teaming up with mobile telecom networks including Ericcson, Huawei, Nokia, Intel, and Qualcomm. In order for connected cars to work, reliable, next-gen 5G wireless connections are a must.
Investment analyst Richard Windsor explains:
“This is how the automotive industry may be able to fight off the threat that Apple and particularly Google represent to their brands as digital services become more and more important.”
Mobileye is also in the mix with video technology that will help General Motors, Nissan, and VW compete with Apple Maps and Google Maps. The eventual plan is to use the video mapping data for joint autonomous car initiatives.
Audi of America president, Scott Keogh told Reuters:
“The automotive industry has and will continue to become a software business in many ways.”
Daimler Chairman, Dieter Zetsche said in Paris:
“We see the car transforming from a product into the ultimate platform … We need to think whether we work together analyzing the data or whether we do this on our own. This depends on the use case.”
While Daimler may be pushing harder to go at it alone, as much as is possible, other companies are realizing that sharing data and systems may be the ticket to the future.
Renualt will team with Waze smartphone app, Google with Intrix for traffic data, Volvo with Uber, Apple with Didi Chuxing, and General Motors with Lyft and Cruise Automation. This is just the tip of the iceberg, as there are many more joint ventures in progress and others are popping up on a very regular basis.