Company / division: Nissan
Nissan-Renault Plans to Combine Electrification, Automation and Mobility Within 10 Years (Jun 23, 2017)
This article is based on a study by a company called Navigant Research, and it seems to be an evaluating of companies’ strategic assets rather than any actual capabilities today, so it’s worth noting that context for their rankings of companies here. Notably, they rank traditional carmakers in the first six spots, with Waymo apparently the first non-traditional / tech company in the rankings. That’s notable, because all the numbers suggest Waymo is out in front in testing of autonomous driving technology in California by a long way, and although we don’t have equivalent data for Michigan, where Ford does much of its testing, I’d be surprised if it had done many more miles. So this is mostly an evaluation of the benefits the big automakers derive from their existing massive scale and capabilities in building vehicles and bringing them to market, something none of the pure tech companies has (Tesla, of course, has some small-scale manufacturing capability and is looking to ramp fast, but comes in 12th in the rankings nonetheless). This jives with my perception that, even as these tech companies do increasingly well in developing their own technology, they’re very unlikely in most cases to build the cars, and as such the traditional car companies are still in a position of strength and potential leadership when it comes to actually building and deploying the technology.
via USA Today
This piece is a good reminder of three things: not all testing of autonomous vehicles is being done in California (or even the US), not all testing is being done by tech companies and startups, and countries, states, and cities are competing to be friendly to this testing. Old established carmakers are a long way down this road too – something that was borne out to me by conversations I had with a lot of them at the Detroit Auto Show in January – and they’re testing in their home markets as well as others. And cities like London are competing to be attractive to this testing, because it brings economic activity as well as a reputation for being friendly to technology in general. I learned to drive in central London, and wouldn’t really wish that on anyone, human or machine, but it sounds like the testing is mostly taking place in some of the less busy parts of the city, which makes a lot of sense.