The Autonomy Ecosystem: Where and How It Begins (1 of 8) | Summary and Q&A

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February 2, 2018
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The Autonomy Ecosystem: Where and How It Begins (1 of 8)

TL;DR

The transition to electric-powered self-driving car fleets is happening faster than expected, with major implications for everyday life.

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Key Insights

  • 🇲🇬 Electric cars are becoming more affordable and reliable, leading to a significant increase in sales. Bloomberg predicts that electric car sales will surpass gas-powered car sales by 2038.
  • 🥺 Car manufacturers and startups worldwide are investing heavily in the development of self-driving technology, leading to increased availability and advancements in this area.
  • 🎴 Government regulations and incentives are playing a crucial role in accelerating the transition to electric and self-driving cars.
  • 🤳 Younger generations are culturally ready for this shift and are already embracing ride-hailing services, indicating a readiness for self-driving fleets.
  • 🥶 Electric and self-driving car fleets will improve accessibility and mobility for older individuals and those with disabilities.
  • 🛒 The shift to electric and self-driving car fleets will have significant impacts on public infrastructure, energy, finance, the justice system, and shopping.
  • 🙃 The cost of owning and operating a car is expected to favor ride-hailing services in the near future.

Transcript

in 1980 the iconic phone company AT&T asked one of the smartest consulting companies around McKinsey this question how many people will be using cell phones 20 years from now in the year 2000 McKinsey sharpened its pencils and came back with an answer 900 thousand people they said the actual number of cell phone users in the year 2000 was a hundred... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why haven't electric cars been widely adopted even though they were available in the early 20th century?

The dominance of gas-powered cars is primarily due to their lower cost and better performance compared to electric cars. However, the cost of electric cars is rapidly decreasing, and they offer longer lifespans and improved reliability.

Q: What are some factors contributing to the fast adoption of electric cars?

The cost of producing electric cars is decreasing rapidly, battery technology is improving, and there is a growing number of government regulations and incentives encouraging the transition to electric vehicles.

Q: How are established car manufacturers responding to the shift towards electric and self-driving cars?

Established companies like Mercedes and Daimler are investing billions of dollars in developing electric cars and battery production. They are proactively competing with startups and are committed to transitioning their fleets to electric vehicles.

Q: Who is most likely to embrace self-driving and electric car fleets?

Younger generations, particularly those aged 18-24, are already adopting ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber regularly. Additionally, self-driving and electric fleets will benefit older individuals and those with disabilities who currently struggle with mobility.

Summary

In this video, Frank Chen discusses the potential future of electric-powered self-driving car fleets. He argues that the shift to electric cars and self-driving technology is happening faster than expected and explores how this shift will impact various aspects of our lives, including car buying, the value chain, insurance, and energy infrastructure. Chen presents evidence for the increasing popularity of electric cars and the advancements in self-driving technology, along with the potential economic benefits and cultural readiness for this shift. He then delves into the potential changes in public infrastructure, energy, finance, the justice system, and shopping that may occur in a world where we are driven around in electric cars.

Questions & Answers

Q: How many people did AT&T predict would be using cell phones in the year 2000?

AT&T asked McKinsey to predict how many people would be using cell phones in the year 2000, and McKinsey estimated 900 thousand people. However, the actual number of cell phone users in 2000 was 109 million, indicating that the adoption of cell phones happened much faster than expected.

Q: What does Frank Chen believe is the next major fast tech adoption?

Frank Chen believes that we are on the cusp of another massive fast tech adoption, specifically the transition to electric-powered self-driving fleets of cars. He argues that most miles driven on the planet will shift to self-driving electric car fleets, replacing individually owned and operated gas-powered cars.

Q: What are some of the potential changes that may occur when electric cars become more popular?

When electric cars become more popular, there are several potential changes that may occur. These include changes in the way we buy cars, changes in the value chain, changes in the insurance industry, and changes in the energy infrastructure. The transition to electric cars will have a broad impact on our everyday lives.

Q: Why are electric cars not as popular as gas-powered cars currently?

The simple answer to why electric cars are not as popular as gas-powered cars currently is economics. In the early 20th century, electric cars were available and had various advantages such as being quiet, having a good range, and being reliable. However, the Model T, which was significantly cheaper and had better performance, dominated the market. Gas-powered cars became cheaper to produce and had better performance, leading to their widespread adoption. Economics has been a key factor in the preference for gas-powered cars.

Q: Why do analysts expect electric cars to become as cheap as gas-powered cars by 2025?

Analysts expect electric cars to become as cheap as gas-powered cars by 2025 primarily because the cost of batteries, which is currently the most expensive part of an electric car, is rapidly declining. As battery production ramps up, prices are falling. Additionally, electric cars have fewer moving parts, leading to lower maintenance costs and longer useful lives. With these trends, analysts predict that electric cars will be as cheap to produce as gas-powered cars, even without government subsidies, by 2025.

Q: Why is the shift to electric cars emboldening new companies to enter the car-making business?

The shift to electric cars, with their lower production costs and longer useful lives, is emboldening new companies to enter the car-making business. The example of British company Dyson, which is known for its vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans, committing to launching an electric car by 2020 demonstrates this trend. Producing electric cars allows companies to leverage new technologies and potentially disrupt the industry. If the transition was to internal combustion engine cars, these companies might not have greenlit such projects.

Q: How are incumbents responding to the shift towards electric cars?

Incumbent car manufacturers and companies in the supply chain are not giving up and are also making significant investments in the shift towards electric cars. For example, Daimler, in response to a tweet by Elon Musk, revealed that they are investing a billion dollars in battery production and ten billion dollars to electrify their fleet. The incumbents are aware of the market potential and the need to adapt to the changing landscape.

Q: How prevalent are self-driving capabilities in cars today?

There are cars available today that have partial self-driving capabilities, especially on the freeway. These cars can maintain a safe distance from the car in front and stay in the lane, even if it curves. This technology allows cars to drive themselves on the freeway, but the driver still needs to take over when exiting. These features are not exclusive to luxury cars and can be found in cars in the $20,000 price range with additional options.

Q: What is the potential for self-driving technology in the future?

Both car manufacturers and startups are heavily investing in self-driving technology, resulting in an amazing race to develop and perfect this technology. With cities worldwide actively piloting self-driving cars and encouraging trials, the development and integration of self-driving technology are gaining momentum. The combination of self-driving technology and electric cars is particularly suited to fleet operations due to higher utilization rates. This suggests a future where self-driving electric car fleets will dominate the roads.

Q: How will the transition to self-driving electric car fleets impact car ownership and operation costs?

The transition to self-driving electric car fleets will significantly impact car ownership and operation costs. Currently, car ownership is more expensive compared to utilizing ride-hailing services like Lyft or Uber. However, the cost curves are expected to reverse by 2030, with the cost of utilizing ride-hailing becoming significantly cheaper than owning and operating a car. This shift in economics will likely contribute to the mass-market adoption of self-driving electric car fleets.

Takeaways

The adoption of electric-powered self-driving car fleets is happening faster than expected. The declining costs of electric cars, advancements in self-driving technology, and cultural readiness among younger generations are driving this shift. Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular, and established car manufacturers, as well as startups, are investing heavily in this field. Moreover, the economic benefits and increased utilization of self-driving electric fleets make them more cost-effective than individually owned gas-powered cars. The transition to self-driving electric car fleets will have significant implications for car ownership, infrastructure, energy, finance, the justice system, and shopping habits. The future is heading towards a world where self-driving electric cars are the norm, and individuals are driven around rather than driving themselves.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The adoption of new technologies in the tech industry can often happen faster than experts anticipate, as seen in the case of cell phones. Similarly, the shift towards electric-powered self-driving car fleets is expected to occur rapidly.

  • The transition to electric cars is driven by improving economics, with falling battery prices and longer lifespans of electric vehicles. Both established car manufacturers and startups are investing heavily in this technology.

  • Self-driving car technology is advancing quickly, with many cars already having partial automation capabilities. A range of cities worldwide are embracing this revolution, making them ideal testing grounds for these technologies.

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