Interessanter Standpunkt hier zum Autonomen Fahren: Open Source als Zukunft!
Marin: So, if the car of the future will be more like a computer, how will that work?
Liu: Our core assumption, based on emerging trends around the world, is that there will be a shift from ownership to service. In this new paradigm, the way cars are made will definitely change because our priorities as consumers will change. You’ll care less for big car brands and start to pay more attention to the quality of the service you are getting from point A to B.
Hence we are not trying to sell vehicles to final consumers, we want to sell vehicles to companies that offer mobility as a service. This means that cars in the future won’t be built for individual consumers because people won’t even buy cars.
With this in mind, we interviewed the big players in the New Mobility industry to better understand their needs. The problem we found was ingrained in the classic business model of selling cars. For example, if you’re using a car as an Uber driver, the lifespan of your vehicles drops dramatically, from the average of 10 years to two years, resulting from heavy usage for providing services. The problem is that after two years it’s so expensive to fix the car that it’s better to buy a new one, and this is completely unsustainable.
For us, the car of the future should be more like an aeroplane, designed and engineered for services and heavy usage, and the key part here is inscribing modularity right from the design. Just like after several flights you can replace turbines, the entire cockpit technology, change the interior for better infotainment or more comfortable seats. We are bringing this vision for modular cars in big cities, and for the big players in the ride-sharing economy. We want to make big fleets of cars that can be upgraded and adapted to meet consumers’ needs, one that last 10 times longer so we don’t have to throw away literally millions of vehicles every year. That’s why we believe an open and modular approach is fundamental at the B2B level, just as Linux is doing in the server industry because everything is becoming a service.
Marin: What is the business model behind your open source approach?
Liu: There are many open source companies that are profitable. We believe that open source is a fundamental approach to speed up everything. Linux Foundation changed the server industry, and they boosted infrastructure and services around the world like banking and financial systems. So based on this, the business model is pretty simple: We encourage companies to use our technology, but in the end, even if we provide all the documentation and sources, when you go to the market you need to have the hardware, not only the software, so the keyword for us is "aggregate." In the automotive industry especially, quantities are something that you have to consider.
We are the missing link between tier one suppliers and a very long tail of new players that are trying to combine more projects based on the same core technology, so everybody can have better pricing and easier sourcing of the parts.
A lot of companies now coming from the tech industry trying to get into the automobile industry don’t necessarily know how to make cars, so we can provide services to help them from the sketching of a vehicle to prototype development, road legal certification, crash test and even set up an assembly line.