Artificial Intelligence and Self Driving Cars

What do the following names have in common?

  • Intel – Mobileye
  • Alphabet
  • Tesla
  • Apple
  • Waymo
  • Delphi
  • Uber
  • Qualcomm – NXP
  • GM
  • Ford
  • Chrysler

The answer is that they are all involved at some level with artificial intelligence that will usher in the era of the self-driving vehicle market.

Waymo has retired its original self-driving vehicle which it called the “Firefly” and replaced it with the Chrysler Pacifica.  Waymo has or will have 600 of these vehicles to test in Arizona and California. Waymo is presently partnering with ride-hailing service Lyft.

GM and Cruise Automation have partnered up to create GM’s entry into the self-driving market. GM has produced 130 Chevy Bolt EV all electric self-driving vehicles in its Orion Township Michigan plant. These have been produced using a mass production program that is the first of its kind for self-driving vehicles.

The amount of money being spent is way up into the billions. In the past 12 months Intel paid 15.3 billion for Mobileye which has been working with BMW. Qualcomm, known as technology company and chip maker, purchased NXP semiconductor for 39 billion. NXP is known for creating and manufacturing automotive computer chips.

Artificial intelligence in the automotive industry has been present for a number of years. It normally appears first in the luxury brands and then becomes adopted within the manufacturers fleet. Self-braking and self-parking are two recent examples. The speed of which these are being introduced has been greatly impacted by the technology companies entering into this space.

These technology giants are not willing to wait on the adoption of this technology by the automotive manufacturers.  They have entered this space and challenged the traditional manufacturer to adopt the technology at an accelerated pace.

During an interview with Bloomberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the auto industry is experiencing disruption from three avenues: electric cars, ride-sharing companies and self-driving technology. And driverless cars, Cook revealed, is something that Apple has been focusing on. Cook said the artificial intelligence (AI) behind autonomous systems is an important “core technology” for the company moving forward.

“We’re focusing on autonomous systems, and clearly one purpose of autonomous systems is the self-driving cars [but] there are others,” Cook told Bloomberg. “And we sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects — it’s probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on.”

This month we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the smart phone. Do you even remember what it was like before the Apple iPhone? In 10 years will we be saying the same thing about the self-driving vehicle? Estimates are that these vehicles will be appearing in many cities within the next 5 years.

Ocado Industries, an on-line only supermarket chain in London, is testing a self-driving delivery van called the CargoPod. Otto which is owned by Uber has been working on self-driving trucks. In October of 2016 they delivered a self-driving truck to Budweiser. Budweiser ran a 120-mile route from Ft. Collins to Colorado Springs down interstate 25. The semi-tractor trailer truck had to navigate traffic through Denver. There was no driver in the cab of the truck!

The impact of more AI control of vehicles may reduce collisions and may also decrease normal wear of mechanical and suspension parts. However, I do believe that AI components will add to the value of the salvaged vehicles that you purchase. The big unknown is how fast the driving public will adopt this new technology. The growth of companies like Uber and Lyft may be an indication that the adoption rate will be quicker.

There is much to watch and much to learn over the next 3 to 5 years.

   Robert Counts       Chad Counts         Johnny Logel






Robert Counts,; 512-693-6915

Chad Counts,; 512-963-4626