Implications of Self Driving Electric Cars

A16Z’s Frank Chen laid out a wide ranging set of implications on what self driving + electric cars will bring. The first conclusion he reached is that most cars will be owned and operated by fleets instead of individual consumers. So travel by cars will be more like travel by air. Fascinating and thought provoking. There will be a lot of winners and losers with the change. Lots of opportunities, and minefields, for investors.


Hope it happens sooner than 10 years. I want it.

In the 70’s, people thought we’d have flying cars by now. I’d temper the expectations for autonomous cars in the near future.

  1. Autonomous cars won’t solve traffic unless all cars are autonomous. You’ll still have a vast majority of human drivers who are hitting the brakes too hard or often, staring at accidents and slowing down, waiting too long to accelerate when the light turns green, etc. Traffic will still be a nightmare.

  2. The average age of a car on the road is 11.6 years. Autonomous driving will be a feature on luxury vehicles first and is probably 10-20 years from being standard on all cars. Once it is standard it’ll take another decade for it to be on a majority of cars on the road. It’s 20-30 years before a majority of cars on the road have autonomous driving.

  3. The best way to do it would be to get rid of all existing cars and replace them with autonomous. That’s a logistical and financial impossibility.

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What happens when a self driving car breaks down or has a dead battery?

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I raise that in another thread like one year ago when manch says the cars should travel in kissing each other backside close. When it works, we can talk about the beauty and pros of the system. What happen if it fails? What would likely cause it to fail? Some bloggers laugh at it. Breaking down isn’t that bad, what about virus, worm, cyber attacks? All this can be done with the help of ex-disgruntled employees or physical attacks at the deployment sites. Cybersecurity is of utmost importance for IoTs especially self-driving cars. All these drones and self-driving cars and the concept of hive mind is making me rethinking the sky net scenario. As opposed to the movie, sky net is a hive mind and would be everywhere, there is no central physical place to destroy it, and can’t be pull off with a plug. I don’t think AI would want to kill us as we won’t be a threat but what if someone injects virus/worms into the system?

Bought and holding PANW and SPLK :slight_smile:

There is no need to rush. Just slowly introduce the features with new cars.

Timing is debatable. Will we see mass deployment of self driving cars in 10 years or 30? It will come some time for sure. I think it’s definitely less than 30 but maybe longer than 10.

But that’s not what the presentations are about. Regardless of when they will come, how will they change our economy and society? To me that’s the fun thought experiment. The guy clearly spends a long time thinking thru this, and the presentation shows an unusually wide spectrum. So put down the timing question for now and think about what the consequences may be.

By the way, if his prediction about fleet dominating the self driving space comes true, it will be bearish for Apple. In a B2B environment it’s mostly the Dell’s of the world that dominate. Fleets buying tens of thousands of cars won’t spend the premium on Apple designs.

It is a fun thought experiment, but I wouldn’t make any investment decisions today based on it.

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The but what about mindset will only guarantee that you won’t be an early adopter. Generally, it’s seen as a negative quality to have for most careers unless you frame the statement correctly.

Apple sells Macs and iOS devices, not cars. I have a hard time connecting cars to Apple products.
Can you explain the connection? I mean how to lead from the premise (fleet dominating the self driving space come true) to the conclusion (is bearish for Apple). You’re not an UCLA alumni, right?

What kinds of cars do car rental companies mostly buy? Are they BMW and Mercedes? Or Ford and Chevy?

Are you assuming Apple would make a car? Personally, I don’t think so. Too much liability even if iCar is setup as a subsidiary. From all the public news, the idea of building a physical car is already killed. I think Apple is true to itself… focus on MUSIC… and new push to healthcare. Car… kind of like a hobby just like TV… nothing much significant would be released.

Perils of EVs

Right. I still think Apple will make a car. They were just reprioritizing to first work out the self driving software. That’s the most difficult piece and for whatever reason they think it’s a must for their cars.

Hardware + software is hardwired into Apple dna. I can’t think of any other way for their self driving software to get into market.

Tim Cook had once said that Apple’s business model is not cast in stone. He had also said that services would be big for Apple. Most of us interpreted services to mean services for iOS devices, Macs and cloud services like iCloud and Apple music. That might not be comprehensive.

In any case, if your premise is not correct, your conclusion is likely incorrect. Even if it is, is not going to be bearish immediately… need for Apple to announce an iCar which even if true, would be at least 5 years later, which to many is too late… if it is true, then Apple won’t launch. I think you’re like some analysts saying Apple has delayed launching a product when Apple didn’t even announce that it would release that product at all. One notable example is Apple TV, every pundits say Apple would release a physical Apple TV, I had doubts because it is far too big to be a gadget, and the main cost is the screen, Apple can’t add much value to the physical TV. What kind of value can Apple bring to the table that is better than Tesla, Alphabet and other car companies? If the answer is not much, you can be very sure Apple won’t release any iCar.

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A Driver’s Suicide Reveals the Dark Side of Uber & Self Driving Cars

Whenever iCar discussion pops up, I think of the same analogy. A plug-in module for the car similar to AppleTV seems more likely than a full-blown car.

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A new article out on The Information about Google’s self driving vans having problems in Chandler Arizona. And they are supposed to roll out robot taxis there later this year? Not gonna happen.

Yeah, you’d think a place like Arizona would be easy for the machines? Turns out not so much. This twitter thread summarizes the article which is behind paywall.

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Companies like Tesla and Google/ way mo are screwing the future of self driving cars. Putting immature cars on the roads would alienate the population. General population are not early adopters,they won’t appreciate beta versions.