Should Apple Sit On The Sidelines Of Autonomous Vehicle Development?

Most automakers are moving forward into the market of self-driving technology. Tesla Motors is leading the surge, and making much press with its now infamous “Autopilot”. General Motors has partnered with ride-sharing company, Lyft, and also acquired self-driving startup, Cruise Automation. Ford has publicized the investment of multi-billions in the technology. Software companies, Google and Microsoft, are also in the mix. With all this competition, some are saying that Apple should simply throw in the towel. Maybe Apple shouldn’t give up, but waiting and watching is probably not a bad idea.

In the end, there will not really be a true winner. The process moving from cars as they are today, toward increasing levels of autonomy is just that … a process. It will prove to be a lengthy one, especially in terms of insurance companies’ and government agencies’ stance on the fate of the innovations.

In the past, Apple has stood by and watched certain technologies grow and flourish, and then jumped in, offering its own, “better” version. While Apple is watching the self-driving trend come to fruition, the company can tweak its own involvement, finish the Apple Car, and in the meantime, benefit from increased use of its other products. If people don’t need to drive, they can spend all of their time on their Apple devices!

Fully autonomous vehicles may or may not ever become commonplace. While the technology is already nearly capable of being a reality, this doesn’t mean that it will ever be fully accepted by consumers. Obstacles involved concerning government approval and infrastructure updates are monumental. One fatal accident using Tesla’s Autopilot has caused a huge stir worldwide, even though the statistics and data show that self-driving vehicles will reduce crashes and save lives.

Apple is already behind other companies in the electric car market, watching and waiting to disrupt. The company is likely better off to focus on an electric vehicle (that people drive themselves) and mobility services, ride-sharing, vehicle-related hardware, software, apps etc.  If the time comes when autonomous vehicles are the “thing”, then it may be time for Apple to work its magic and disrupt that market in a second wave.

Source (BNL Finance)

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