The Fuse

This Week in AVs: Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Return to Pittsburgh Roads; Waymo One Could Take in $114 Billion in Revenue by 2030; and More

by Kristen Hernandez | December 14, 2018

Uber’s self-driving cars are set to return in a downsized test

Uber is putting its autonomous vehicles back on Pennsylvania roads in a reduced capacity.

After months of rigorous testing, Uber is putting its autonomous vehicles back on Pennsylvania roads in a reduced capacity. Plans for testing include, initially, running vehicles on a one-mile loop between two offices in Pittsburgh. The vehicles will at first drive no faster than 25 miles per hour and only during the day and in good weather. Before instituting their new tests, Uber submitted a 70-page Voluntary Safety Self-Assessment to the Department of Transportation and implemented additional closed track and simulation testing. Additionally, testing vehicles will have two people supervising their operation.

Alphabet’s self-driving car business, which just launched a commercial taxi service, could book $114 billion in revenue in 2030, says UBS

Though Waymo’s commercial taxi service only just began operation last week, some are already projecting that it will become a financial behemoth. UBS estimates that the service, known as Waymo One, could take in as much as $114 billion in revenue in 2030. This value only includes revenue from robotaxi-related services; there could be additional opportunity for engaging in commercial delivery and logistics services that would push this number even higher. The report claims that although Waymo One has started small, they could open several new revenue streams as their business expands, including licensing their maps and operating system to other services and utilizing entertainment and advertising to further profit from their ridership.

Samsung building autonomous driving unit, Tesla could be first client

Recent hiring decisions have led to speculation that Samsung may be making a move into the autonomous driving market. Sources say that the company is looking to hire software engineers “with over five years of experience at global automotive companies” who specialize in AV technology. Samsung is also believed to be producing chipsets for Tesla’s upcoming Model 3 units. Samsung’s entry may simply be due to growing demand for AV technologies, but it may also be part of an attempt by the company to remain competitive with rival LG, which recently entered the autonomous vehicle space itself. This move may come as no surprise to some, as Samsung’s unveiling of its hardware and software platform for car makers early this year was touted by the company as a step toward shaping the cars of the future.

Elon Musk says Tesla vehicles will soon be able to drive without any human input

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Sunday that Tesla vehicles will soon be capable of driving with no human intervention. He claimed that Tesla is already testing the development software with traffic lights, stop signs, and roundabouts, which current Autopilot technology is not equipped to handle. Tesla’s current version of Autopilot is widely considered a Level 2 system of automation and is capable of handling certain driving activities, such as lane keeping and speed adjustment, while under constant supervision from a human driver. The updates Musk describes would seem to allow Autopilot to function at Level 4, in which a vehicle is capable of driving completely autonomously under some conditions. Musk has previously made aggressive claims about the timetable for enabling Level 4 automation in Tesla vehicles.