“Large companies typically fail at disruptive innovation because the top management team is dominated by individuals who have been selected for delivery skills, not discovery skills.”
THE INNOVATOR’S DNA,CLAYTON M.CHRISTENSEN
The book which deeply influenced Steve Jobs, Innovator’s Dilemma explains how disruptive technologies can cause great firms to fail. Failing to adopt an innovation can cause organizations to fallback. However, adopting a disruptive technology doesn’t guarantee success because organizations have narrow capabilities and innovation require different capabilities.
The solution to the problem is to create an independent sub-organization that focuses on developing products using disruptive technologies. This is however difficult when it comes to autonomous driving because of its tight integration with Artificial Intelligence.
Since startups are small they have wide capabilities. It’s easier for them to allocate resources for the rapidly advancing AI technology. Collaboration with a firm that has good experience in AI is crucial for success in the autonomous driving ecosystem.
GM and Cruise
GM is collaborating with the startup Cruise in deploying autonomous vehicles to public roads. A few months ago they showcased fourth generation Cruise Autonomous Vehicle (AV).
Why did GM collaborate with Cruise, instead of building the technology themselves?
We will have some insights to answer the question when we understand how artificial intelligence works. Before AI, programmers had to manually program every task with fixed instructions. This approach was impractical because the world was too large and it changed frequently. Writing code to incorporate such a large world of possibilities was impossible.
Hence scientists decided to study how the human brain learns. Humans learn from feedback, touching a hot stove gives a good enough experience to never attempt it again. Scientists replicated the functionality of neurons inside a human brain, artificial neural networks were thus developed.
Artificial neural networks can only be taught with a data. If you want to teach the computer to recognize a pedestrian, we need to input the artificial neural network with a massive number of pedestrian photos. Neural networks identify patterns in those images and learn to recognize a pedestrian.
Similarly, we can teach the neural networks to drive slowly if the road is bumpy or drive fast when the road is free, etc. These results can be achieved only with relevant data sets.
GM found it easier to collaborate with someone was has gained experience in the field. Cruise has already built and trained neural networks using similar datasets. Building such technology from scratch requires a lot of efforts like collecting relevant data, cleaning, training and experimenting it. These efforts won’t guarantee results.
The bigger problem is real lives are at stake. Recent incidents of Uber and Tesla crashes cannot be ignored. Collaborating with a company who has to build a similar solution provides a guaranteed result, it also drastically reduces the time and cost to enter the market.
Here is a list of popular startup collaborations in the autonomous driving ecosystem.
GM & Cruise
GM & Cruise are planned to deploy autonomous vehicles by 2019. They have taken a bold step on their fourth generation vehicle by eliminating brake, pedals and the manual steering wheel. GM also confirmed the fourth generation won’t be the last one. Hence more iterations of the autonomous vehicle are expected.
Ford & Argo AI
Argo AI is a startup with expertise in robotics & AI. It is founded by former Google & Uber leaders. Ford has invested in Argo AI to strengthen its leadership in bringing autonomous vehicles to market by 2021. Ford’s Scale and Argo AI’s agility combination is likely to increase the probability of their success in the autonomous driving ecosystem.
Volkswagen and Aurora Innovation
Volkswagen group and Aurora are working together to integrate aurora’s self-driving system with Volkswagen’s AI technology. The future Volkswagen platform will utilize software, sensors, and hardware of Aurora Innovation. Aurora will be responsible for Volkswagen’s self-driving system.
“Our priority at Aurora is to make self-driving cars a reality quickly, broadly and safely, and we know we will get there faster by partnering with innovative automakers like the Volkswagen Group”
BMW and Mobileye
BMW, Mobileye are planning to take autonomous cars into production by 2021. They believe autonomous driving technologies will make driving safer, faster and easier. Mobileye is an Israeli based startup with expertise in Artificial Intelligence, localization, and autonomous driving.
Industry leaders like GM, Ford, Volkswagen, BMW is collaborating with AI-based startups to be agile in producing autonomous vehicles. Since AI is a rapidly advancing field only startups have capabilities to move at the same speed. Collaboration makes the process faster, cheaper and efficient. We at IdeaPoke help companies identify and collaborate with an appropriate startup according to your innovation need.