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Autonomous Vehicles - Impacts and Opportunities


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Autonomous vehicles can evolve to impact society in profound ways by challenging assumptions we have lived by for generations. This presentation (and the discussion it supports) will explore the new opportunities as well as the challenges of autonomous vehicles, from how they will impact individuals’ lives during early adoption to how they will remake the urban cityscape in the long term. We will explore the technology’s impact on the concepts of vehicle ownership, parking, travel planning, and other parts of our lives shaped today around humans at the wheel, as well as practical challenges to realizing the long term opportunities.

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Autonomous Vehicles - Impacts and Opportunities

  1. 1. Autonomous Vehicles: Impact and Opportunities June 2014
  2. 2. 2  Firelake Capital was founded in 2002 and has made 26 portfolio investments across two funds  We invest in technology solutions for resource efficiency  Notable portfolio companies include: – Kurion in high-value waste cleanup, – Simbol Materials in raw materials for batteries, – Bluwrap in fresh protein logistics, – Airware in UAV software operating systems, – Ruckus Wireless in urban high-density wireless bandwidth, and – EOS Climate in carbon emissions mitigation
  3. 3. 3 Autonomous vehicle technology is rapidly progressing DriverAssist ProactiveVehicle SemiAutonomous FullyAutonomous Production vehicles Widely available today Toyota 2014 Mercedes 2014 Volvo 2014 Audi 2015 Volkswagen 2014-15 GM 2015 Mercedes 2014 Volvo 2015 Nissan 2015 Toyota 2015-16 Tesla 2016 GM 2020 Tesla 2016 (?) Mobileye 2016 Google 2018 Nissan 2020 Mercedes 2020 BMW 2020-22 Prototypes Volvo 2012 Google 2010 Mercedes 2013 BMW 2013 Volvo 2017  Adaptive cruise control  Lane departure warning  Blind spot assist  Emergency intervention  Stop-and-go traffic assist  Automatic parking  Autonomous highway driving  Complex environments  All-weather  Manual drive still supported
  4. 4. 4 Critical factors aren’t keeping pace with core technology development Category Key questions / issues Liability questions  Represents a shift in responsibility for driving from driver to the vehicle itself  Increase in manufacturer’s product liability may delay adoption  Do the laws provide automakers with liability protection for third-party alterations or unintended uses? Legal issues  How are autonomous vehicles defined?  Can state law accommodate federal preemption? Architecture and technology  Direct to Level 4 autonomy, or incremental steps? (we believe direct to Level 4)  Laser scanner + cameras + other sensors; a sufficient approach?  Cyber security concerns Interactions with other vehicles  How will human drivers interact with other autonomous vehicles?  Is Vehicle-to-Vehicle communications (V2V) required? Interactions with road and infrastructure  Is Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communications essential?  Digital mapping detail We believe the compelling benefits of autonomous vehicle technology will drive resolution to these obstacles in a reasonable timeframe
  5. 5. 5 Most people focus on the safety-related benefits of the technology Autonomous vehicles have the potential to dramatically reduce car-related crashes, injuries and deaths as they  Have faster reaction time than humans  Can see 360 degrees  Are programmed to follow local traffic laws  Never get distracted, tired or impaired Cost of car accidents  5.4 million accidents annually in U.S.  50 million injuries and 1.2 million fatalities annually globally  Most due to human error  $160B overall cost  #1 cause of death for 4-34 year olds
  6. 6. 6 TODAY FUTURE However, the benefits of autonomous vehicles stretch well beyond safety and represent a true revolution  Hope you booked flight already ($$$)  Go to bed early  Wake up at dark-o’clock and find a taxi to the airport  Suffer through security screening, a cramped seat on airplane and endless rules, delays  Rent car at destination and drive to meeting  Repeat above on way home  Spontaneous decision to travel  Request car via mobile app  Enter destination, press Go  Sleep  Arrive at meeting in morning  Return home at your leisure Scenario 1:Travelling to a business meeting tomorrow morning 400 miles away Today’s transportation reality is a series of steps fraught with stress and time wasting activities – autonomous vehicles change this entirely
  7. 7. 7 Autonomous vehicle technology changes how we perceive time and distance  Plan ahead  Visits compete for open weekends  Time spent driving is lost  Drive at most congested times  Spontaneous decision to travel  Can visit any day of week  Can work or sleep, etc. while in transit  More easily shift drive time to less congested hours Scenario 2: Ability to stay in touch with family or friends a three hour drive away TODAY FUTURE Today seeing people three hours away is a major event – autonomous vehicles allow for more frequent interactions and enables closer relationships
  8. 8. 8 The ripple effects of the technology are vast  Location is everything  Defined by time lost getting places  Public transportation favors only certain areas  Balance travel time, home size, price  Housing market is efficient around this  Meaning of “location” changes  Time spent getting places is not lost  Purchase decision rebalanced toward immediate environs  Major dislocation in home values Scenario 3: Deciding where to live TODAY FUTURE Autonomous vehicles are like having door-to-door public transportation from everywhere to everywhere
  9. 9. 9 Autonomous vehicle technology dramatically extends the casual driving distance threshold autonomous vehicle overnight autonomous vehicle car horse
  10. 10. 10 Early Adoption – Impact at Individual Level
  11. 11. 11 Late Adoption – Impact at Scale
  12. 12. Peter Shannon