The Internet search giant is already openly developing an autonomous project, while the Cupertino-based competitor is reportedly mulling to build an electric car, possibly with self-driving capabilities.
Naturally, one would ask why technology companies are interested in the automotive industry, beyond what they already have – namely developments of the in-car infotainment systems, Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. That’s because futurists believe that cars in just a few years would be able to not only deliver the quickest way for the morning commute, but also order for coffee, pay for it and then take the driver to the delivery spot. This is just an example of the envisioned upcoming transformation of the automotive sector – turning into a full-service mobile device that could mean a new goldmine has been found. According to McKinsey & Co., revenue from data streams and connectivity components could become a 180 billion-euro ($200 billion) market by 2020 – and such a rich target is not only attracting Google, Apple and the like, but also the automakers.
“The transportation industry is ripe for disruption. Either we kind of drive that disruption and gain from the new business models that will emerge, or we let someone else do it,” comments Tony Douglas, BMW AG’s head of mobility services. BMW, VW AG’s Audi and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz have been longstanding rivals in every possible segment – from new models to passenger services. But having such a threat loom – Apple and Google have the money to alone buy a few automakers at once – has taken them down new roads – including collaboration. They are jointly bidding for Nokia’s Here mapping service, for example.