Many imagine the autonomous cars ecosystem as big companies operating fleets of cars that can be hailed by customers from an Uber like app. The main elements of this ecosystem are a fleet of autonomous cars and a customers app. This will result in two types of ecosystems, the Apple, and the Microsoft.
The Apple like ecosystems will control the end to end experience. They will have their own fleet of cars, their own app, their own customer service…etc. In this pack I could imagine Tesla taking the lead.
The Microsoft like ecosystems will be hybrids of car manufactures – or more accurately OEMs – building cars as hardware while customers hailing them using software vendors like Uber, or DiDi.
One curious case I am thinking is Mercedes and MyTaxi. MyTaxi is owned by Daimler, the owner of Mercedes. It is the most popular car hailing app in Germany, and apparently it is beating Uber in other European markets.
We rarely hear of the mix of MyTaxi and autonomous Mercedes cars on the road. I think currently Mercedes might be the only company with both autonomous vehicles (although their level of autonomy might be less than that of Tesla), and a car hailing app with large user base. I wonder if Mercedes will ever wake MyTaxi – their sleeping giant – and start using it to test the full experience of hailing autonomous cars on the road.