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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Dozens of AV-related companies have launched in the past few years, but recent consolidation suggests there may be a limit to how many companies can muster the data and talent to succeed.

The big picture: As saturation continues into 2019, players lacking in capital face a choice between joining a more powerful player and narrowing their focus.

Teaming up: Through mergers and partnerships with larger players, such as automotive manufacturers, companies focusing on specialized hardware or software can gain access to deeper pockets and wider distribution networks.

  • Lyft recently acquired AR-focused startup Blue Vision Labs, as well as specialized startups FinitePaths, YesGraph, and DataScore. Lyft has also partnered with Magna, one of the world’s biggest automotive suppliers, to expand its reach.
  • nuTonomy, a software startup, was acquired by automotive supplier Delphi to create an AV platform that can be licensed to other automakers and tech companies.
  • Mobileye, a sensor-focused startup, was acquired by Intel Corp., which has entered into an alliance with luxury car maker BMW, German parts maker Continental AG, and Fiat Chrysler to accelerate AV deployment. Mobileye gained resources and reach, Intel entered the AV race, and the automotive manufacturers gained partners against their competition.

Going it alone: Cornering the market on a specific AV use case or technology can set up a smaller company to sell their product to larger players that don’t have the expertise to build it in-house.

The bottom line: The AV industry is nearing a tipping point. Expect fewer new start-ups aiming to scale up on their own and more consolidation.

Justin Ho is the CEO and co-founder of rideOS, which is developing transportation marketplace and mapping technologies.

Go deeper

Former Sen. Bob Dole dies

Former Sen. Bob Dole in 2019. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole passed away Sunday morning at the age of 98, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced in a statement.

Driving the news: Dole, a revered figure in U.S. politics and the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, served in the Senate for 27 years, including 11 years as GOP leader. Earlier this year he revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

5 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.