Good morning! Thanks for reading. Please share this newsletter and tell your friends they can subscribe here. If you have tips or feedback, just reply to this email.
Today Expert Voices contributor Evangelos Simoudis writes about shared AV shuttles as a way to improve urban transit and Sudha Jamthe weighs in on how AV entertainment systems may collect your personal data.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
There's a growing realization on Wall Street that self-driving cars are still many years away. That pessimism is weighing far more heavily on traditional automakers than technology companies.
The big picture: Investors are betting the real value of AV companies will come from the estimated 4 terabytes of data each car will generate per day. And based on the way they’re valuing the major AV players, Wall Street seems to think tech companies have a better shot than Detroit at capitalizing on that data.
The bet on data helps to explain why analysts at Morgan Stanley have very different views on the two leading AV companies, GM's Cruise Automation and Alphabet's Waymo.
What's happening: The mood has changed about AVs. Bold predictions by Tesla and others that cars would be able to drive themselves by now have evaporated in the face of technology challenges and market realities.
The business model for AVs assumes that by removing the driver, the cost per mile falls dramatically, from today's $2.50 or $3 per mile to less than $1, unlocking a much larger market opportunity.
That math looks even more difficult when you factor in the pressures facing GM's legacy automotive business under CEO Mary Barra, who is trying to lead a rapid transformation. It's a race, Jonas says, between management's execution and a cyclical downturn ahead.
The bottom line: "The value is in the data, and what you can do with it," Jonas adds.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
As the popularity of single-passenger ride-hailing soars, cities struggling with worse congestion and longer travel times are starting to experiment with autonomous shuttles, especially for short trips, Synapse Partners founder Evangelos Simoudis writes for Axios.
Why it matters: AV ride-sharing could help to efficiently bridge gaps between other forms of transportation services, from public transit to bikes and scooters. This could reduce congestion and enable more travelers to complete their trips more quickly, though cities and companies may need to offer incentives to spur adoption.
What's needed: Intelligent digital platforms — whether developed by cities or by transportation companies — could integrate different modes of transportation into a personal travel plan that's optimized for consumer preferences like shortest travel time or lowest price.
The bottom line: As ride-sharing displaces privately owned vehicles, different forms of AVs could play larger roles on city streets. While not a panacea, their use in on-demand services could make urban transportation more efficient.
Go deeper: Read the full post.
Simoudis is an author and the founder and managing director of Synapse Partners, which advises and invests in companies working on next-generation mobility.
Cadillac's hands-free highway driving system with Super Cruise. Photo: GM
A startup insurance company called Avinew is working with automakers to offer discounts to drivers who regularly use their car's semi-automated driving features.
Why it matters: A lot of advanced driver-assistance systems have been shown to improve safety, but many people don't use them because they don't know about the technology, or don't understand how it works.
What's happening: Avinew, which just raised $5 million in seed funding, plans to incentivize drivers to use features like Tesla's Autopilot, Cadillac's Super Cruise, Ford's Co-Pilot 360, and Nissan's ProPILOT Assist.
My thought bubble: Turning the technology on doesn't necessarily mean drivers are using it correctly, as several unfortunate incidents involving Tesla's Autopilot have shown.
The Bosch booth at CES 2019. Photo: David Becker/Getty Images
Tech and entertainment companies are rolling out infotainment concepts for AVs that could offer passengers personalized services, but require collecting data on their streaming usage, location and more, IoT Disruptions CEO Sudha Jamthe writes for Axios.
Why it matters: The collection, analysis and distribution of technology users' data has become a massive industry.
Details: Beyond location and streaming data, these systems could track social media usage and data on a passenger's in-car activity.
Between the lines: This data could then be used for targeted ads that could appear in a variety of settings including homes, offices and retail locations.
What we're watching: The General Data Protection Regulation in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act offer some protections of consumer data, including the option for users to opt out of data sharing.
Go deeper: Read the full post.
Jamthe is CEO of IoTDisruptions and teaches AV Business at Stanford Continuing Studies.
On the move: Argo AI acquires permit to test AVs in California (Kirsten Korosec — TechCrunch)
Seated: Reimagining federal safety standards (Eric Kulisch — Automotive News)
Worthy: The most powerful person in Silicon Valley (Katrina Brooker — Fast Company)
U-tron's automated parking garage packs cars close together. Photo: U-tron
Cars might not be able to drive themselves just yet, but they can already park themselves in some cities.
Why it matters: Automated parking, just now being rolled out as a way to save space and money in crowded cities, will become increasingly important once plug-in AVs hit the streets by giving them a place to stop and recharge between rides.
What's happening: U-Tron, the automated parking division of Israeli automation company Unitronics, has 8 robot garages up and running in New York, New Jersey and California, with 25 more in development around the country.
What's next: U-tron EVP Yair Goldberg says the company is talking with major automakers to make sure its parking robots can communicate with their driving robots.
Editor's note: Story no. 3 was corrected to show that Avinew raised $5 million in seed funding (not $5 billion).