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While the world’s attention has been focused on the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicles, there is far more than the vehicle involved in the planning and management of on-demand autonomous mobility services. The vehicles themselves are not businesses and they cannot provide a service until they are enabled to work together as orchestrated fleets. Let’s illustrate the autonomous mobility service value chain.







  1. Vehicles

The vehicles are the base layer of the AV service value chain. They are, essentially, hardware platforms that seat people and differ little from conventional vehicles except when it comes to the driver, as fully autonomous vehicles have no steering wheels or pedals. Example: Fiat Chrysler



  1. Self-Driving Technology

The next link in the value chain is the self-driving technology that takes the place of a human driver. This comes in the form of sensors and cameras that serve as the driver’s eyes and ears, and a computer that can operate the vehicle. This technology is responsible for the safety and reliability of the vehicle — planning, obstacle detection, collision avoidance, etc. Example: Waymo



  1. Fleet Asset Management

Vehicles also need to be monitored and maintained. Similar to a conventional fleet, telematics data such as mileage, speed, conditions of components like brakes and fluids, and routine maintenance can be scheduled. Example: Omnitracs



  1. Fleet Orchestration

Orchestration is required to make a fleet successful as a business. There are many issues that need to be resolved for fleets to efficiently deliver services. These include optimized dispatching, routing, and ride-matching. Orchestration answers the questions that a human driver might otherwise provide:


  • • Service area definition: where can the vehicles go and not go?


  • • Fleet size: how many vehicles are needed to meet demand?


  • • Service level requirements: what are the maximum wait times and ride times to use to decide which vehicle to send?


  • • Positioning: where should the vehicles be located at the beginning and end of a shift? Where should they go when they don’t have a mission


  • • Capacity: Can the vehicle accommodate the number of passengers? Does it have enough fuel to execute the mission?


  • • Utilization: where are subsequent demands and how can the vehicle pick up more passengers (pooling) while meeting service levels requirements and minimizing deadheading?


  • • Operations management: The vehicles need to be told where to go. If a vehicle were privately owned by an individual and not part of a service, the owner would likely enter the destination. When it comes to a shared mobility service used on-demand, automated operations orchestration must be created to receive ride requests and dispatch missions — the location and destination of the traveler and the route — to the vehicles.


Example: Bestmile



  1. Service Providers

These are the companies that deliver the mobility service — accepting bookings, carrying passengers to and from their destinations, and receiving payment. Currently technology companies like Waymo and Uber appear to be positioning themselves as service providers using third party vehicles, as do vehicle makers like GM’s Cruise division using Ford vehicles. Example: First Transit



  1. MaaS Platform

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) platforms can be used to aggregate schedules and ticketing to allow travelers to book and pay for door-to-door journeys using diverse suppliers and transit modes. With announcements that they are adding public transport schedules and booking options to their apps, Uber and Lyft appear to be moving in this direction. Examples: Whim



Blurred Lines

There are exceptions and combinations within the value chain. For example, some vehicle manufacturers, (example: Navya) make and use their own self-driving technology. Others (example: Toyota) are both developing their own self-driving technology and partnering with other tech companies (example: Uber) as they search for the ideal solutions. Also, traditional rivals (example: Daimler and BMW) are in some cases joining forces to create all or part of the value chain. Another model is a company that aims to multiple components of the value chain (example: Tesla) as the service provider, technology maker and vehicle manufacturer.



How fully on-demand autonomous mobility services will be delivered remains to be seen. The roles and players in each part of this ecosystem continue to evolve as do the requirements for autonomous service delivery. To stay up to date with industry developments, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.



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