OpScoop Issue 3: Automotive Landscape- A Robotic Monster

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The prospect of autonomous cars may still seem impossibly futuristic, but a host of industry leaders, adjacency aspirants and new players in both the automotive and high technology environments are now engaged in a high stakes race to enable (and dominate) a driver less car future for a radically changing consumer world. Electronic innovation and hands-free driving experiences are rapidly replacing horsepower numbers and stamped steel sales pitches. The technology offers possibility of significant benefits to social welfare — saving lives, reducing crashes, congestion, fuel consumption, pollution, increasing mobility for the disabled, and ultimately improving land use.

An autonomous car (or a driver less car) is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human inputs. It can detect their surroundings using a variety of techniques such as GPS, radar, Computer Vision and Odometry. The cars have advanced control systems that are capable of analyzing sensory inputs to distinguish between different cars on the road, obstacles and relevant signages and finally identify the appropriate navigation paths.

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Blanketing the roads with autonomous cars will provide incredibly comprehensive, up-to-the second data to the “cloud” about road conditions, traffic and travel times. Each car will retrieve on that information and know to be extra cautious at dangerous intersections.

But despite all of man’s technological progressions and self-directed inclinations, not everything is right in this carbon-clad future. While all of this looks great for tech startups and established electronics suppliers, trouble brews at the bottom. This monolithic amalgamation is squeezing out smaller businesses at an alarming rate as the haste to keep up with an increasingly autonomous future becomes more frantic. The automotive industry’s self-driving revolution has spurred the biggest 2 years of car supplier takeovers in a decade, with more acquisitions on the horizon as many parts manufacturers struggle to keep up with tech demands. The fact is that autonomous cars would slash hundreds of billions of dollars of annual revenue from all sorts of entities: car makers, car dealers, parts suppliers, auto financiers, auto insurers, body shops, medical practices, health insurers, government taxing authorities, personal-injury lawyers, and on and on.

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The sellers of tomorrow need interdisciplinary tech expertise today if they want to subsist, because competition is stiff in this segment too. The mass production of headliners, rear differentials, and door jams won’t ever go away though, It’s just that the tech side of the equation is growing so much more rapidly than previously predicted, any supplier that has issue keeping up with the times stands a strong chance of getting gobbled up by big business or going belly-up.

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