Cost of ownership challenged

ABI Research has found that high Robo-Taxi vehicle utilisation rates above 70% will be required to undercut the current cost of vehicle ownership of $0.71 per mile.

At these rates, ensuring minimal Robo-Taxi downtime through over-the-air (OTA) updates and advanced prognostics, as well effective fleet-management will be crucial to future driverless mobility providers. Without it, Robo-Taxi downtime would cost ridesharing providers US$3.6bn in 2028.

‘Maximising vehicle uptime sits at the heart of the ensuing profitability for any future driverless operation,’ said Shiv Patel, research analyst at ABI Research. ‘The success of future mobility services will be dictated by the providers’ ability to manage a fleet of vehicles and maximise vehicle usage through preventative maintenance, effective remote software management through OTA Updates and modular hardware architectures which will minimize the cost per mile of running such a service,  making these shared mobility services price competitive with car ownership.’

OEMs have made important strides to prepare for their transition to mobility providers. The recent string of acquisitions by Daimler AG to expand its myTaxi application or the recent announcement by General Motors to upgrade its existing production facilities to produce Robo-Taxis is evidence of this. However, most other OEMs, aside from the Toyota e-Palette platform, seem to be oblivious to the need for effective fleet management and preventive maintenance services to ensure the profitability of these services. Meanwhile, the current ridesharing service providers – Uber, Lyft etc – that are deemed by many commentators to be the principals of the future mobility market, have no experience of vehicle ownership or maintenance of large fleets of vehicles. Preventative maintenance solutions found outside of the automotive market, such as that from preventative maintenance provider, Predii and defense prognostic service provider, The Ridgetop Group, may, therefore, have an important new application in the automotive market. These solutions will not only help enable effective preventative maintenance but will also help detect safety-critical faults in sensors such as LiDAR before failure of the device, which may be crucial for functional safety and fail-safe operation.

Meanwhile, the development of Over-The-Air updates for effective software management is finally starting to gain some traction in consumer vehicle applications. OEMs have realised that these solutions will significantly help reduce the cost of software-related recalls that currently cost OEMs over US$17.3bn globally per year. Function-on-demand OTA, as seen in current Tesla models, will also help generate significant additional revenue opportunities for OEMs, over US$2.5bn in 2028.  Solutions from Airbiquity, HERE, Movimento, and Wind River are due to hit the market over the course of 2018 to 2020.

The findings come from ABI Research’s Smart Mobility Maintenance: Modular Hardware, OTA Updates, And Prognostics report.