The Good Deeds

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The Good Deeds
By Marco Falsarella, 07/06/2022


Fintech, Industry 4.0, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, robotics, augmented reality and more. In this column we discover some of the most interesting companies operating in high-tech sectors. As of today, we are pervaded by devices and technologies that are capable of radically changing, within a few years, the way we are used to moving, communicating, and spending our free time.

More and more often we are reading or hearing about news concerning new medical breakthroughs, new production methods, new services. That is why what we are going to cover in this article (and the next ones) can be a good way to get a cue and a general overview of the potential players that are going to shape the world as we know it today.

 

Autonomous driving and mobility of the future


The automobile undoubtedly ranks among the most important innovations of the last hundred years. Although it has radically disrupted our routines and given us unparalleled flexibility and freedom of movement, until the beginning of the new millennium, in addition to implementing safety systems such as airbags and the seatbelt over the years, there have not been many other inventions or radical changes. In the past 20 years, however, new designs and features have been introduced including the electric motor, vehicle ignition without the need to insert keys, and the implementation of inter-vehicle connectivity systems.

Prominent among the countless new frontiers in mobility technology is that perhaps one day cars will no longer need a driver. Self-driving cars, once considered science fiction, are currently taking their first steps on the streets of San Francisco, New York, London, Tokyo and many others. The devices employed are built through the use of some of the most cutting-edge 3D imaging and artificial intelligence software and aim to provide passengers with a hands-free driving experience without compromising safety.

It has been predicted that by 2040 there will be more than 33 million self-driving cars on the road and that around 55 percent of small and medium-sized businesses will adopt this new technology at the operational level within the next two decades.

Clearly, there is still a lot of testing to be done before the total reliability of these new systems can be guaranteed, and there is also a need for time to regulate their use. But considering that the industry is currently valued at over $54 billion and the fact that many automakers are investing heavily in this new technology, it will not be long before the roads will be carpeted with self-driving vehicles.

 

Cruise


Founded by Kyle Vogt and Dan Kan in 2013 in San Francisco, California, Cruise LLC is a company that produces software for autonomous driving. After exiting the "Y Combinator" program, a startup accelerator launched in March 2005, the company was acquired in 2016 by General Motors, which became a majority stakeholder. Over the years Cruise gets investments totaling $10 billion from other investors including Microsoft, Honda, T. Rowe Price and Walmart, increasing the company's value by 30x since its founding.

On June 2 of this year, the company received the go-ahead from the California Public Utilities Commission to operate its fleet, making it the first commercial robotaxi company in the state to get the permit and the second in the U.S. By contrast, the first ever was Alphabet-owned Waymo, which obtained the permit in 2020 in Chandler, Arizona.

Baidu


Tech giant Baidu Inc. founded in 2000 in Beijing, is the leading search engine in China, comparable in some ways to Google, has also embarked on a path in the autonomous driving industry. It recently announced that it will launch its robotaxi services in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province, through Apollo Go, a platform that includes 84 service stations scattered throughout the city. Passengers will be able to use the available cars from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. by booking through the App.

So far, Apollo Go's Level 4 autonomous driving has driven 25 million kilometers and obtained 593 driving permits in China, including 398 for passenger transport. Robotaxi services have been offered in nine cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

The company is trying to penetrate the market quickly to counter the strong growth of competitors, among which we find AutoX, a company backed by Alibaba, which has completed more than 100 consecutive days of service in Shenzhen.

Baidu Inc. listed on the NASDAQ market (Ticker: BIDU)

Arity


Arity is a mobility data and analytics company that offers data collection-based solutions for those companies in the transportation industry, enabling them to provide safer, more efficient and cost-effective services. The company uses the information collected from its infrastructure to indentify traffic patterns or patterns in order to predict and reduce the risk inherent in the movement of wheeled vehicles. The data collected is also used to assist insurance companies in risk management and policy underwriting, for shared mobility, and for car companies in risk reduction practices (a crucial component of making autonomous driving possible).

Emerging technologies and new business models, such as ridesharing, are disrupting existing systems and rapidly changing the way people get around. Data collected from smartphones or other vehicles around us make it possible to generate meaningful behavioral information, such that it can be leveraged by different players in the market, who can in turn improve their services, making the process of matching supply and demand more efficient.

Arity is based in Chicago and was founded by Allstate, an American insurance company. So far it has analyzed more than 30 billion miles of routes.