Uber corporate espionage allegations. Denso acquisition. Chinese map protectionism.
Alyce here filling in for Kerry!
At our A-Ha! Conference this past week, we revealed the 40 startups for our Demo Day, and unveiled the 2018 AI 100, a list of pioneering companies using artificial intelligence to change their industries.
Among our lineup of speakers was Waze founder and CEO Noam Bardin, who sat down with us to discuss the company’s new focus on carpooling, its potential impacts on transport, and the challenges to surmount.
We also chatted with Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt, who confirmed the company is on track to launch robotaxis in 2019, and Waze founder Noam Bardin.
In the addition to the auto commerce elements of Ford and Alibaba’s three-year agreement from last week, the partners will also collaborate on the use of Alibaba’s AliOS infotainment system (rebranded from YunOS in October).
Unlike rivals’ vehicle-specific solutions, this open-source platform intends to be an industry-agnostic general operating system for IoT products. Outside of Ford cars, AliOS will also be launching in SAIC and Dongfeng-PSA cars starting next year (four years after the initial launch of Apple’s CarPlay).
It’s interesting to Ford and Alibaba partnering with each other instead of seeking out market leaders. Ford has a mixed record of deploying user-friendly infotainment, most recently with its Sync system (first developed with Microsoft, now BlackBerry QNX).
Here, the automaker is choosing to gamble on pre-production software. Using the CB Insights trends tool, compared vehicle OS platforms jockeying for pole position (Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Baidu CarNet):
Clearly, the move is meant to establish a stronger presence in China and modernize existing product lines (per Hackett’s 6-point plan), but will AliOS be the best option available?
In addition to vehicle infotainment, Apple and Alibaba are also going head-to-head in the final four of our bracket of the best company to invest in for 10 years. Cast your vote here.
In the month following Tesla’s semi-truck unveiling, major fleet buyers have announced pre-orders and pilot plans for the trucks, including Anheuser-Busch, Walmart, and now Pepsi.
This PR play is classic Tesla – following the launch of the Model 3, Tesla publicized the nearly half-million pre-orders for the sedan, which has faced difficulties in its mass-market production ramp. Less publicized have been the 60,000+ cancellations to date as delays have mounted.
Tesla has a long history of aggressive deadlines and questionable timeliness (its enhanced Autopilot and self-driving features are another recent example). As of this week’s announcements, there are orders for 165 trucks, and there will undoubtedly be more, but keep an eye out for any cancellations as well.