If one thing was made clear during my visit to the Consumer Electronics Show, CES 2018, it is that the autonomous vehicle battlefield is heating up. The technological world is on the precipice of making the autonomous vehicle commonplace on US roads. However, the question still remains,
"Which manufacturer will produce the autonomous vehicle product or technology that breaks into the mainstream marketplace first?"
Will it be newly-formed Aptiv’s groundbreaking technology that has already integrated with Lyft to create the world’s first autonomous taxi? Does Ford’s recently established Smart Mobility LLC break through and expand their mobility services to general everyday transportation methods such as cars and delivery vehicles? Perhaps the industry will see a wild card manufacturer lead the pack as Mitsubishi Electric might with their EMIRAI concept car. Honda’s Safe Swarm technology sure makes sense, as they have infused the beauty of natural human sensing to hone their platform.
As seen in breathtaking displays throughout the CES 2018 showfloor, all of these concepts, platforms and technologies offer something different, but what will the winning recipe for success prove to be when it comes to autonomous vehicle brands?
Aptiv: The Future of Mobility
Aptiv has made waves in the news lately after breaking off from Delphi in November of 2017 to create the industry’s first company with the credentials of a seasoned automotive technology supplier as it positions itself as being solely dedicated to the future of mobility. Sequestered in a private tent in the North Plaza of the Las Vegas Convention Center was Aptiv’s invitation only display which was geared towards major auto manufacturer buyers rather than the general public. Inside, the long awaited automation concepts were unveiled - garnering the interest and awe of the most prestigious automakers.
Ford: Organizing the Transportation Ecosystem
For Ford, the race to autonomy runs deeper than a winning technology. The company has been challenged with morphing their brand from a 115 year old metal welding automaker to a Silicon Valley-esque technology first pioneer that blends their autonomous vehicle concepts into everyday services such as pizza delivery and couriers. Ford’s cloud platform will not only facilitate the launch of the self-driving vehicle but aims to help organize the entire transportation ecosystem.
Mitsubishi Electric: The EMIRAI
Not to be overlooked is Mitsubishi Electric who has been quietly staying in the game as they have just released their fourth version of their EMIRAI technology. Perhaps not reaching too far into the future will allow Mitsubishi’s concept to win the race to the finish as the EMIRAI 4 integrates autonomous features with human controlled driving to serve as a bridge between the automobile of today and that of tomorrow.
The Race for Relevance
In a rapidly changing market, the automakers of yesterday are evolving into brands focused on cutting edge technology developing versions of themselves that successfully integrate the technologies of tomorrow into their products. The race is on and the competition is stiff. In all the chaos that the new winds of technological change bring, one thing is certain: automakers and technology providers must keep up with the blazing pace of advancement or risk fading into irrelevance.
*Featured image courtesy of CES 2018.