Life in the Fast Lane: Top 5 Startup Opportunities in the Autonomous & Connected Vehicle Market

By Wladimir Hinz, Altitude Accelerator Research Associate

What will the future’s “ultimate mobile device” look like? Well, very similar to a car. Even though Smart mobility and the Internet of Cars are just starting to take shape, they’re bound to take over the car market within the next decade.

Autonomous vehicles 2Ready for another “industrial revolution-type transformation”? You should be. The world of ‘connected vehicles’ is here. The evolution of cars is underway and it’s transforming cars from automated to autonomous to unmanned.

Although vehicles can’t handle all the driving right now, they’re already providing some autonomous driver assistance.

Experts are saying that the Internet of Cars is the most innovative phase in the automotive industry since the invention of the car itself. This Infotainment-way of driving will surely offer a much more enjoyable and safe experience, and consumers know it.

Why such a big deal? Well, not only will cars be able to ‘talk’ to each other, but they’ll interact with external devices too. The possible uses that emerge are pretty much endless.

These new capabilities are rapidly transforming the automotive market. According to Telefonica, 80% of consumers expect that ‘connected cars’ will provide the same connectivity experience as the one they experience at home, work, or on their phones.

So, it’s not surprising to see studies anticipating a booming market for connected cars over the next 10 years. PwC’s Strategy& estimates that sales for connected car products will increase explosively (with a CAGR of +29%) over the next 5 years, adding more than $149 billion in revenue just in the passenger car segment.

By 2025, Navigant expects a similar scenario. They’re looking at a market revenue of $36.6 billion for the Vehicle-to-external (V2X) communications segment. A very significant growth from the $96.3 million projected for 2016.

Autonomous vehiclesStartups might as well jump in! There’s already some competition out there, but there’s also plenty of niche markets that look promising:

1. Navigation: In-car technologies that help drivers reach destinations quickly and safely, while using the most cost efficient routes. They provide information on traffic, parking and fuel optimization.Inrix is doing exactly this.

2. Vehicle management: Cellular technologies that provide diagnostics and general information about the real time status of vehicles including details like: vehicle condition, historical data and driver habits. Companies like Mojio, Pikotec  Zubie, and Telogis offer this.

3. In-car entertainment (ICE): All sorts of ‘safe’ entertainment options for driver and passengers alike. ICE can refer to game interfaces, music/video, internet, or general media. This is definitely Navdy’s

4. Safety: Tools to keep drivers aware of possible hazards both inside and outside vehicles. Like collision protection and internal responses, ZenDrive seems to be on the right track for this.

5. Driver Assistance: Functions that involve some type of automatic driving, like parking or auto-cruising on highways. Parko is just one example.

This market has the potential to grow significantly, and it all depends on how well startups, automotive manufacturers and consumers communicate with each other.

Connectivity with machines is bound to become more and more intimate. With cars, there’s an immediate connection between driving and our senses. What’s fascinating about this technology is that the experience can be so much more immersive and it looks like the future is right around the corner!

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