Connected Cars is alive and well in Q3 2019

Now halfway through 2019, the connected cars landscape continues full speed ahead and shows signs of further evolution, expansion, and market acceptance. In a recent webinar, we reviewed the current state of connected cars for the third quarter of 2019.

A Look at Some of the New Connected Car Categories

In 2019, a number of new categories have been added to the connected car landscape. For example, Dashcam is one new category. Main features include 4G LTE connectivity, remote access, crash detection and notification, driver assistance alerts, and more. 

The key drivers in this space are 360-degree imaging and image analytics. ArVizon has raised $1 million and has launched a dashcam with this 360-degree car camera technology to monitor the driver and the road. Another company, Nexar, has launched Nexar Live Map and introduced an AI-powered image analytics system. 

Another new category is Last Mile Delivery. This category signals the emergence of delivery robots, some of which are already on the road. For example, Nuro has partnered with Domino’s Pizza for pizza delivery while UDelv has partnered with H-E-B in Texas for grocery delivery services. Recently, Boxbot unveiled its new last mile delivery system, which can serve as a benchmark for other companies to adopt. 

After having materialized more than $ 100 Billion in valuation at time of IPO and having raised $ 10 Billion, Uber and Lyft are facing scrutiny and new competition

The first insight was the Uber IPO that has raised $ 8.1 billion in total while Lyft has raised a total of $2.3 billion since its IPO. Both companies have kept innovating across the board and are now facing public scrutiny and backlash. 

Laws are changing to provide more labor protection for drivers. Some of the biggest changes to labor laws for drivers are coming from California where drivers will be considered employees. 

Other concerns related to these ride hailing vehicles involves the lack of accessibility for those with disabilities that want to use these types of services. Although Uber does provide wheelchair accessible vehicles, Lyft does not so there is a current federal class action lawsuit against the company to get drivers to modify their vehicles. 

The car rental space keeps innovating including a free floating or round-trip model. The free-floating model involves sharing costs associated with that car like maintenance or damages. Car sharing unicorns now include Turo (considered to be one of the landscape’s unicorns) and Get Around. Volkswagen is also launching WeShare as an all-electric car sharing service to gauge further interest. 

In 2020, robotaxi services from companies like Tesla, AutoX, and Pony.ai are expected to launch some time next year, propelled by data accessibility and ongoing road congestion in many urban areas. AutoX and NEVS are expected to launch robotaxi services in Europe by the end of 2020. 

Connected Car connectivity is vibrant

V2X has been the focus of European Union regulators with several initiatives including the standardization of baseline communication on DSRC, a protocol very similar to Wifi. Needless to say that Cellular are not happy with the decision.

Several industry players are also launching their own C_V2X approach, Cohda introduced a new C-V2X evaluation unit while Ford has released his designed at improving driver and pedestrian safety. 

Next, there is growing interest in driver behavior and usage-based insurance. The automotive usage-based insurance market is expected to reach $105 billion by 2027. The growth has been part of a larger focus on driver safety and finding ways to reward good driver behavior. Companies are looking to set standards around automated driving and software development that detects when a smartphone is distracting a driver. Holding this type of auto insurance back from wider adoption, however, is a concern about privacy.

In car payments is striving. Mobile payment and commercial card technologies were first introduced to fleets as a way to create more payment transparency and address payment fraud issues. Examples include Car IQ’s payment technology, Fiat Chrysler’s UConnect Market, Apple and Sirius XM’s collaboration on a connected car eWallet, and Google Assistant and Google Pay integration within a car’s system to enable payments. 

Lastly, bike sharing is now slowing down. The startups in China are running out of money in what appears to be a saturated market that has 70 bike sharing companies already. Ofo is in major debt as customers are demanding their deposits so the company has withdrawn from international markets. While a similar fate almost happened to Mobike (now known as Meituan Bike), the company was acquired by Meituan Dianping. In its place, electric scooters are winning market share.