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Big Tech's car obsession is all about taking eyes off the road

The Japan Times

At first glance, the forays Apple Inc., Google and other technology giants are making into the world of cars don't appear to be particularly lucrative. Building automobiles requires factories, equipment and an army of people to design and assemble large hunks of steel, plastic and glass. The world's top 10 carmakers had an operating margin of just 5.2% in 2020, a fraction of the 34% enjoyed by the tech industry's leaders, data compiled by Bloomberg show. But for Apple and other behemoths that are diving into self-driving tech or have grand plans for their own cars, that push isn't just about breaking into a new market -- it's about defending valuable turf. "Why are tech companies pushing into autonomous driving? Because they can, and because they have to," said Chris Gerdes, co-director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford University.


Tech Giants Make Push Into Autonomous Driving

#artificialintelligence

At first glance, the forays Apple Inc., Google and other technology giants are making into the world of cars don't appear to be particularly lucrative. Building automobiles requires factories, equipment and an army of people to design and assemble large hunks of steel, plastic and glass. The world's top 10 carmakers had an operating margin of just 5.2% in 2020, a fraction of the 34% enjoyed by the tech industry's leaders, data compiled by Bloomberg show. But for Apple and other behemoths that are diving into self-driving tech or have grand plans for their own cars, that push isn't just about breaking into a new market -- it's about defending valuable turf. "Why are tech companies pushing into autonomous driving? Because they can, and because they have to," said Chris Gerdes, co-director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford University.


Apple officially joined the self-driving car race. Here's a look at the road ahead.

Mashable

Tim Cook finally acknowledged one of the most poorly kept secrets in the tech industry: Apple is working to develop self-driving car technology. Cook's comments clarified that Apple is working on something in the autonomous space -- but that's it. He gave no more details about the project than what we could infer from the evidence that has been mounting since late last year through document leaks about the "Apple Autonomous System," regulatory filings, and a reported sighting of a Lexus SUV toting self-driving sensors driving near the company's offices in California. Self-driving car development is one of the hottest trends in both the automotive and tech industries. The biggest companies in the world are busy launching projects, announcing partnerships, and spending massive amounts of money to develop the first viable autonomous platform.


The Race to 2021: The State of Autonomous Vehicles and a "Who's Who" …

#artificialintelligence

We uncovered the following insights and trends: • Semi-autonomous vehicles are the stepping stone to fully autonomous vehicles. Most car manufacturers and technology companies have taken Tesla's lead and are offering features like self- parking, adaptive cruise control, emergency braking and semi-hands off driving in highway/interstate conditions. Semi-autonomous features help consumers become comfortable with the idea of robots taking the wheel.


40 Corporations Working On Autonomous Vehicles

#artificialintelligence

Beyond trendy names like Tesla and Alphabet chasing self-driving cars, a host of auto brands and other tech heavyweights are also investing in autonomous R&D. Private companies working in auto tech are attracting record levels of deals and funding, with autonomous driving startups leading the charge. Along with early-stage startups, VCs, and other investors, large corporations are also angling to get a slice of the self-driving pie. From autonomy to telematics to ride sharing, the auto industry has never been at more risk. Get the free 67-page report PDF. Using CB Insights' investment, acquisition, and partnership data, we identified over 40 companies developing road-going self-driving vehicles. They are a diverse group of players, ranging from automotive industry stalwarts to leading technology brands and telecommunications companies. This list is organized alphabetically and focuses on larger corporate players in the space (as opposed to earlier-stage startups). Companies working on industrial autonomous vehicles were not included in this analysis. A few of the companies or brands listed below belong to the same parent organization but are detailed separately if they are operating distinct autonomous development programs. Some companies are grouped together by key partnerships or alliances. Given the complex web of relationships between these players, other collaborations are also noted in each profile. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of corporations working on autonomous vehicle technology. This brief was originally published on 9/25/2015 and featured 25 select corporations. It was updated and expanded on 5/17/2017, 9/4/2018, and 8/28/2019. Over the last decade, Amazon has spent billions of dollars working on finding ever-better solutions to the last-mile problem in delivery. It's built its own fleet of cargo jets, explored delivery by drone in the form of "Prime Air," and more. More recently, an increasing percentage of that investment has been directed toward autonomous vehicle technology. In February 2019, Amazon invested in Aurora Innovation, an autonomous tech startup run by former executives from two other firms with strong ties to self-driving technology: Google and Tesla. "Autonomous technology has the potential to help make the jobs of our employees and partners safer and more productive, whether it's in a fulfillment center or on the road, and we're excited about the possibilities." The Aurora investment isn't the only autonomous technology play that Amazon is pursuing. In January 2019, the company introduced the Amazon Scout, a six-wheeled electric-powered delivery robot.