I don’t have twitter, so I’ll make a suggestion for a topic next month.
Scott Cassingham

Thanks Scott — many an investor would love to know the answer to that question. I’ve covered it in part across a few articles (see below). That said, as it is with all future states, there is no fate but what we make. If we want a familiar environment of competing services with tangled supplier and data partnerships, we can have that. If we want an omniscient force running the entire transportation stack, we can probably have that instead.

1. Here’s an analysis of how (if at all) traditional carmakers can take part in the transportation future, based on their current revenue expectations:

2. The 800lb. gorilla in autonomous transportation is consumer integration. In that sense, the likes of Google and Amazon stand the best chance of becoming overlords of the ecosystem. Carmakers and suppliers know that, and they’ve been trying to figure out how to get more involved with the customer for a while now — if the future is all about on-demand transportation, then the consumer touch points and access to personal data required to play a major role are almost non-existent in the current private ownership model. The only entities today who have that constant connection are local governments for mass transit (who squander the opportunity), and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. Thing is, the latter don’t have the deeper consumer connections that a Google (or Amazon, or Apple) has, so in my mind any partnerships with Uber and Lyft are short-term go-to-market solutions, or a build vs. buy decision on rideshare platforms. There won’t be a Lyft in the future unless it’s Lyft, a division of Google. At any rate, this piece below focuses more on what carmakers are doing to shoehorn themselves into the consumer data treasure chest — and specifically, how they’re doing it.

3. While we exist in a global economy, it’s worth noting how influential carmakers and mobile electronics companies are outside of the U.S., and South Korea is a very interesting example:

4. Some components of the transportation stack can be easily jettisoned or absorbed. Insurance is one of them, and is already being absorbed in subscription plans like those from Porsche and Volvo. Another is all of the fat around vehicle production — Marketing, design, sales, etc. — much of which sits under the hood of car manufacturers themselves.

Hope that helps fuel your perspective, or at least gives you something to do on Sunday besides watching your football team lose.