The transportation and logistics space accelerated its shift toward a digital future in 2017. In the auto world, both new contenders and entrenched incumbents are moving past limited tests and gearing up for the commercial launch of autonomous cars. And nearly all of these players have honed in on using autonomous taxis in urban ride-hailing services as the near-term opportunity. That has set the stage for urban self-driving mobility to become one of the most competitive and compelling areas in all of tech in the next couple of years. Meanwhile, accelerating growth in e-commerce and rising freight demand is opening opportunities for digital technologies to upend the $4 trillion global logistics industry. Based on these developments and our proprietary research, here are our top five predictions for transportation and logistics in 2018:
1. The real self-driving car race will begin. Automakers and tech companies have been in a race to put self-driving cars on the road for several years. In 2018, we expect that race will come to an end, as Waymo, GM, and possibly others will commercially launch self-driving cars in ride-hailing services. Then, the real autonomous car race — to scale up around the world and leverage the vehicles to create new business models and revenue streams — will begin. Although developing self-driving cars has been a monumental task, deploying them widely throughout the world and making money off them will be even more painstaking. Companies will have to convince consumers that self-driving cars are safe, navigate an uncertain regulatory landscape, manage partners that may have competing interests, rapidly iterate their self-driving technologies and vehicles as they gain new insights from commercial deployments, and incorporate autonomous cars as a core part of their business. This battle will last at least a decade and determine the real winners in the self-driving car space.
2. Uber will continue to grow its US business — and lose market share. Uber had the most tumultuous 2017 of any company in the world, but [...]