Auto Industry

Who is in? The Changing Face of the Auto Industry

Written by Rick Cloyd.

The emerging autonomous vehicle industry is already disrupting the traditional automotive OEM business model. While most of the global auto industry players have the financial resources to move ahead with AVs, they typically lack the technology and talent necessary to enter and then differentiate themselves in the market.

It is understandable then, why the auto majors have aggressively entered into partnerships, formed joint ventures or made acquisitions in this space. In many cases, they have also found it necessary to align with major academic institutions with established disciplines in key AV technologies.

Further complicating the landscape are new entrants with no prior auto experience. Along with some well-knows tech giant, there are Chinese start-ups, electric vehicle builders and ride hailing services looking for ways to grow in the space. Substantial investment capital has been committed to AV development, and the investors include a wide range of organizations.

Here are some examples of the changing competitive environment as reported by Research Briefs in their Sept. 4, 2018 report “46 Corporations Working on Autonomous Vehicles” and several other recent public sources:

  • General Motors acquired AV tech startup Cruise Automation in 2016, bought Sidecar’s assets, and invested $500 million in Lyft. In May 2018, SoftBank Vision Fund (Japan) invested $2.25 billion in GM Cruise Holdings for autonomous development.
  • Ford Motor Company is partnering with Domino’s on a fleet if self-driving pizza delivery vehicles and with Postmates for on-demand AV delivery. Ford announced they would take a majority position in AI startup Argo, investing $1 billion over five years. They have also acquired a number of companies working in AI, LIDAR and mapping.
  • Apple’s Project Titan is apparently intended to enter the space, but they need to clarify if they’re pursuing a self-driving system or car. Apple dismissed 200 Project Titan people in January 2019.
  • Amazon is working with Toyota on AVs, has filed patents for lane switching technology, and plans to debut the e-Palette at the 2020 summer Olympic Games.
  • Google’s Waymo has partnered with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles through the purchase of 62,000 Pacifica mini-vans, with Honda to build an AV delivery vehicle, and with Jaguar Land Rover. Waymo also has a partnership with Lyft for testing. Waymo is reportedly the most advanced AV testing company, with 4,000,000 miles on public roads through Nov. 2018, along with 2.5 billion simulated miles on 20,000 different virtual test track tests.

Other major players with significant commitments include:

Traditional Automakers

  • Audi – Autonomous A8
  • BMW — Vision Next
  • Mini – Mini Vision Next
  • Nissan Renault – Self-driving taxis
  • Smart – EQ EV
  • Tesla – Model S, Model X, Semi-truck, pickup truck
  • VW – I.D. Vision Concept MPV EV, I.D. Pilot Self-Drive 2025 
  • Volvo – Autoliv and NVIDIA partner around self-driving car for 2021

Component Suppliers

  • Apollo — Self-driving systems
  • Aptiv – Testing self-driving taxis in collaboration with Lyft
  • Bosch – Partnering with TomTom GPS and Mercedes
  • Continental AG – Partnered with NVidia on self-driving technology
  • Huawei – Partnering with Vodaphone on smartphone road recognition tech
  • Hyundai – Driver assist technology
  • Magna – Solid-state LIDAR
  • Zenuity – Self-driving JV between Autoliv, Volvo, NVidia

Tech Companies

  • Baidu — Apollo software system, Apolong A-EV Minibus, partnered with BMW
  • CISCO – Partnering with Hyundai in Ethernet for cars
  • Microsoft – Azure cloud services, Toyota robotics, HoloLens technology
  • Nokia’s HERE precision mapping – bought by Daimler, BMW, VW and Microsoft consortium


Uncovering the appropriate business opportunity for NexMobi involves understanding the AV landscape, identifying the disrupted and disrupting businesses inside and outside the AV industry itself, and creating a value proposition that meets the needs of targeted industry participants, including:

  1. Companies whose business models will be significantly impacted (negatively or positively) by the development, public acceptance and purchase of AVs.
  2. OEM Tier 2 and 3 suppliers of software and hardware that need testing and validation, but lack to scale and/or resources to accomplish those tasks on their own.
  3. Governmental entities that will eventually be confronted with the need for widespread infrastructure changes to accommodate AVs.

Disclaimer:  This article was based on publicly-available source materials we believe to be accurate. Any content not clearly attributed to its original source is unintentional.