3. Real estate is emerging as an AV battleground
As leading AV companies seek to bring robotaxis to market, their competition could extend from AI-powered software into real estate, Zoox's Rob Toews writes for Axios Expert Voices.
The big picture: Today's ride-hailing companies are software-only platforms. But as AV technology goes commercial, companies that plan to own and operate fleets of robotaxis — including Waymo and GM Cruise — will need a considerable footprint to store, clean, refuel and repair thousands of vehicles.
Where it stands: AV companies are focusing their robotaxi efforts on cities, which offer the densest population centers and largest markets.
Details: Within each launch city, robotaxi operators need to find property that satisfies a particular set of requirements to support their go-to-market efforts — such as a large area in a strategic location near busy neighborhoods and an electric substation.
The catch: The U.S. has a finite number of large and attractive launch cities, particularly after factoring in regulatory and climate considerations. And in any given city, there are limited real estate parcels that will check all of these boxes.
The bottom line: As more companies get serious about bringing robotaxi services to market, real estate strategy could become an increasingly important part of the AV competition. Expect plenty of land grabs.
Go deeper: Read the full post.
Toews works on strategy at Zoox and is the co-founder of SHFFT, a Stanford-Harvard group interested in the future of transportation.