Autonomous driving technology is constantly gaining strong traction in thedata-driven fast-paced world on the heels of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered advanced features being added to driverless vehicles, which are making them more reliable for public transportation.
Moreover, continuous developments in the advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) and predictive algorithms are adding to the safety features of the vehicles. Notably, the rapid development in self-driving technology is set to revolutionize the growth trajectory of both transportation and automobile industries.
Given theupbeat scenario, Alphabet GOOGL—which is known for its robust AI and Machine Learning (“ML”) technologies and has become the most discussed company in the autonomous vehicle (“AV”) space owing to its well-performing self-driving unit —Waymo, is making concerted efforts to bolster its presence further in this promising market.
The latest re-launch of its robo-taxi ride-hailing service, with no human attendant in Phoenix, AZ, is a testament to the same. This move makes Alphabet well-poised to capitalize on the growth prospects present in the AV space.
A report from Grand View Research shows that the global self-driving car and truck market is projected to see a CAGR of 63.1% between 2021 and 2030.
Furthermore, a Market Data Forecast report indicates that the self-driving car market is expected to hit $56.21 billion in 2020 and reach $220.44 billion by 2025, witnessing a CAGR of 36.5% between 2020 and 2025.
However, not only the search giant but also the e-commerce giant Amazon AMZN is attracted to theparticular market. Notably, the latter agreed to acquire Zoox, a developer of self-driving technology.
Further, chipmakers like NVIDIA NVDA and Intel INTC are making advances to capitalize on the lucrative opportunities in the AV space.
In a bid to innovate simulation software, automotive sensors, cameras and LiDars to facilitate driverless transport, NVIDIA is progressing well with its partnerships with automotive companies. Moreover, the introduction of its software-defined platform for autonomous vehicles—Drive AGX Orin — remains noteworthy.
On the other hand, Intel is gaining strong on its autonomous driving unit — Mobileye.
Apart from these companies, Apple AAPL, Qualcomm QCOM and Baidu BIDU are gathering steam to bolster their self-driving initiatives.
Hence, the competition in the AV market is intensifying with the growing efforts of the above-mentioned companies.
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Alphabet’s Aggressive Stance
Nevertheless, Alphabet’s aggressive efforts to expand Waymo initiatives are expected to help it in staying ahead of the pack.
Waymo’s robo-taxi ride-hailing service, which is currently available to the members of Waymo One, will be made available to everyone who wants to take a ride within 50 square mile area of Phoenix via its smartphone app. Further, the service will soon be re-launched for rides within the 100 square mile area of Phoenix.
Apart from the latest move, Waymo plans to start the company’s road testing of its driverless fleet in a new hub in Dallas, TX.
Additionally, the company’s acquisition of Latent Logic, an AI company that specializes in a form of ML namely imitation learning remains noteworthy. It is expected to make the simulation technology of Waymo more advanced and realistic. This, in turn, will strengthen the behavior prediction capability of Waymo.
Furthermore, its partnership with Volvo to develop self-driving electric vehicles for ride-hailing services remains noteworthy.
Also, Waymo’s recent raising of $2.25 billion in funding is likely to aid Alphabet, which carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present, in commercializing self-driving vehicles and consequently expand self-driving presence into new areas.
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Intel & Baidu Striving to Bridge the Gap
Intel, which carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) at present, is gaining strong on the low power consumption of Mobileye chips and the ability to create maps for self-driving systems via its Road Experience Management platform.
Further, the company is gathering steam to hit the streets of Dubai by 2022 on the heels of its multi-million dollar partnership with Al Habtoor Group. Per the terms of the deal, the Mobileye system will be deployed into a fleet of 1000 automotive robotaxis.
Additionally, Mobileye’s agreements in China and South Korea, with the SAIC and Daegu Metropolitan City, respectively, bode well for Intel’s deepening focus toward bolstering its global footprint in the AV space.
Meanwhile, Baidu is benefiting from the expansion of Apollo Go Robotaxi service, which covers about 700 kilometers across China, and features about 100 pick-up and drop-off stations across several residential as well as business areas.
Notably, this Zacks Rank #3 company recently rolled out the service in Beijing city. Additionally, the company recently made the service available in the cities of Changsha and Cangzhou.
Further, Baidu’s partnership with Volvo to launch Level 4 vehicles in 2021 remains a major positive.
Apple & Qualcomm in Fray
Apple’s acquisition of a self-driving shuttle firm, Drive.ai, is in sync with its strong efforts toward bolstering its expertise in neural networks, which plays an important role in developing software for driverless vehicles.
Additionally, the solid database of Drive.ai-related to road conditions, signals and traffic are helping the Zacks Rank # 3 company in innovating the software for driverless vehicles.
On the other hand, Qualcomm, another Zacks Rank #3 company, is riding on its automotive platform — Snapdragon Ride. Notably, the platform allows automakers to transform their vehicles into self-driving cars, using AI.
Further, its strengthening partnerships with automobile companies like General Motors, Audi, Ford and Ducati remain noteworthy.
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