the 2021 predictions issue, part two – TechCrunch

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Hi friends and new readers, welcome back to The Station, a newspaper dedicated to all present and future methods and people and goes from Point A to Point B.

Last week, I focused some of my predictions for 2021 on autonomous vehicle technology and electric vehicles. I will weigh in today with some predictions about the rest of the “future of transportation”, including ride-hailing, on-demand delivery and in-car technology.

Email me kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com To share ideas, criticisms, offer opinions or suggestions. You can also send me a direct message on Twitter – @kirstenkorosec.

Okay, here are the remaining predictions for 2021.

Delivery Station delivery

On-demand delivery will continue to increase even when consumers return to physical stores, putting pressure on the logistics ecosystem. Retailers that have the best success will be the ones who have locked the consumer into multiple channels to get their “goods”.

Large retailers and even small local stores have come to understand that their physical location has become an extended part of the supply chain. Startups that have developed platforms to make it easier to manage inventory and get to the consumer.

Meanwhile, increased delivery demand will encourage giants such as Amazon and Walmart to invest in technology solutions to meet their needs. This may include partnering with or acquiring a startup. (This goes beyond interests in long-term efforts such as autonomous vehicle delivery).

Delivery apps such as Uber The Eat, Dordash and Instacart gigs will face increased scrutiny for the use of economy workers, as well as whether businesses will benefit from their use. This can very well spawn local businesses to find their own in-house solutions. Demand for digital devices will grow, helping to optimize delivery fleets and platforms designed to help consumers get goods without relying on Uber, DoorDash and others.

Restaurant groups will pull together to offer a delivery hub from Ghost Kitchen, a prophecy that is a mirror shared with me Khalid Naeem, C.E.O. Last Mile Distribution Management Software Startup Only. I am sure that local stores will do the same.

I think there will be more pitches from companies running curbside management tools and subscription delivery platforms.

On the ride-hailing front, shuttle companies such as Via will continue to grow (despite concerns about ride-sharing) and acquire to cater to their current offerings. Via will continue to sell its platform to cities as opposed to standing up for its own operations. Via handles bookings, routes, passenger and vehicle assignments and identification, customer experience and fleet management. And it will likely look for ways to broaden its services to become more attractive.

In-car technology

Some trends that started two years ago will continue even today. Automakers are increasing the size and display resolution of infotainment screens in their vehicles. Sadly, only a handful will unlock the more important piece of infotainment system: the user interface.

Two announcements last week – from a holographic startup Envisics And the second from Mercedes – signs to arrive in 2021.

Mercedes unveiled it on 7 January Next generation MBUX hyperscreen, Which has a 56-inch curved screen that runs the length of the dashboard. The 2022 Mercedes EQS will have the flagship sedan MBUX Hyperscreen optional under the Automatic Electric EQ brand.

Mercedes EQ.  MBUX Hyperscreen

Mercedes EQ. MBUX Hyperscreen

I am interested and probably encouraged in the UI as well (I have yet to test it). Mercedes chose charging, entertainment, phone, navigation, social media, connectivity and massage information – yes massage – front to screen. This means that scrolling through the menu or using a voice assistant cannot be used to locate these options.

The system’s software, which will learn the driver’s pattern, will prompt the user, eliminating any need to go deeper into the sub-menu. The navigation map always appears in the center and is located just below it which are controls for phones and entertainment – or the feature that is best suited for a specific situation according to the vehicle manufacturer.

During this, Hypothesis announces a partnership Developing and commercializing a new generation of head-up displays for cars, trucks, and SUVs combined with Panasonic automotive systems.

The technique of the hypothesis allows for high resolution, wide color gamut and large images to be displayed that can dominate reality. The technique can also project information over multiple distances simultaneously. Company founder Jamison Christmas told me that in the short term it would provide relatively simple augmented reality applications such as navigation, the lane you should be in and highlighting some security applications.

Hypothesis navigation

Image Credit: Envisics

“But as you move into things like autonomous driving, it unlocks a whole scope of other opportunities like entertainment and video conferencing,” he said.

Finally, I expect to take more chatter and perhaps even deploy driver monitoring systems as automakers roll out more advanced driver assistance systems that allow for “hands-free” operations in some situations.

I still want to emphasize that DMS is a part of the solution. An advanced driver assistance system comes down to the safe operation of how well the driver understands the features and can easily see or hear them when they are on and off. Many vehicle models, with regular ‘low’ advanced versions of ADAS, already fail to communicate properly to drivers when features are on and off. My hope after 2021 and beyond is that there is an effort to correct this deficiency.

For those who missed last week’s predictions, here’s my recap on AVS and EVS.

Station autonomous vehicle 1

Autonomous vehicle

The wave of consolidation that began in 2020 will continue this year, leaving fewer players who aim to commercialize autonomous vehicle technology in three different areas: robotaxis, trucking and delivery.

In 2020, Starkey Robotics shut down, Uber sold its self-driving assistant to Aurora and autonomous delivery startup Nuro Ike acquired robotics. This development is not yet complete.

I will pay attention to the activities of all the big AV players including Cruise, Motivational, Waymo and Zox. I am particularly interested in how Aurora handles Auro ATG to absorb them in its operations. I am also looking for progress in Argo AI, which has integrated VW’s self-driving subsidiary Autonomous Intelligent Driving (AID) into its operations for the past several months.

I often expect big moves by the unseen platform, including new travel and driverless operations.

Autonomous delivery 2021 will see the most investment, consolidation and commercialization activity. This will not be the year when autonomous distribution becomes ubiquitous. But expect more pilot programs in urban, and even suburban and rural areas as companies try to find out whether the environment and form factor – pavement bots, purpose-built vehicles that operate on roads or drones Are – produce the best economics.

New regionally focused entrants will pop up in 2021 and drone distribution companies will expand to larger geographies.

I look forward to seeing what becomes of Postmates’ autonomous robot, which Uber has completed acquiring on demand delivery company.

Neuro R2 delivery bot

Neuro has a second generation R2 delivery robot. Image Credit: Nuro

Chasing companies Autonomous trucking Are going to learn that long-haul logistics are more difficult and expensive than before. While companies will continue to focus on Class 8 trucks that can operate without humans, the so-called mid-mile logistics market anticipates more and more activity. This is an area that startup Gatic AI has targeted with some successful results.

The mid-mile market, in which autonomous trucks make frequent trips to local retailers from large distribution centers, will become increasingly important as consumers continue to order groceries and other goods online. Amazon, Walmart and Kroger are some of the large and deep-pocketed companies interested in finding fast and cheap ways to move goods. Expect more investment and even acquisitions from big retailers.

Autonomous vehicle rules There will be a shift in 2021 due to the new Biden administration in the United States. Changes will not happen immediately; There will be more activity in 2022 and beyond. But still the change will not happen.

The Trump administration has taken a light touch for autonomous vehicle development and deployment, preferring to stick to voluntary guidelines rather than creating mandatory mandatory rules. For instance, last month the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted a notice clarifying the AV policy and deciding that the road to deployment would be easy. (read the description In my December 21 newsletter)

President-Elect Joe Biden nominated former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigg as the next Secretary of Transportation, a cabinet post that would see him in other roles overseeing the Federal Highway Administration and NHTSA. Batigiag is expected to lead the charge (ahem) for the electric charging infrastructure. What is less clear is how he and the Biden administration will approach automated vehicle technology and the advanced driver assistance systems found in today’s modern vehicles.

It was released by the Automotive Industry Group’s Alliance of Automotive Innovation Four year plan This is how the federal government intends to function for the last month. The group made 14 recommendations, including reformative regulations to allow for large scale deployment of AV deployments. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation expects a national AV pilot program and a push for a new vehicle class for AV.

electric vehicles

Station electric vehicle 1

Image Credit: Bryce Durbin

A BV of new electric vehicles from Startups and Legacy Automakers will arrive in 2021. Lucid Air, Rivian R1T and R1S, Audi Q4 Etron and Nissan Area will come on the market, while production ramps for the Ford Mustang Mach-E and VW ID have been prepared. .4.

In the latter part of the year, we should also see some electric pickup and first delivery from Lordstown Motors Bmw iX And this GMC Hummer EV. I do not expect Tesla Siebertruck to appear until the end of 2021, if not by 2022.

In the US, I am looking for policy changes at the federal level that may encourage more consumers to switch to electric vehicles. According to PoliticoThere is $ 40 billion in unused Energy Department loan authorization that was provided under the 2009 stimulus. These funds can become a central part of the upcoming Biden Administration’s Climate and Infrastructure Plan. While those loans will likely go towards energy storage and other infrastructure, it is worth noting that former Michigan government Jennifer Granholm will head DOE. Granholm was directly involved in the Obama administration bailout of the American auto industry during the Great Recession.

Electric bikes, mopeds, scooters and even skateboards Will continue to grow in 2021 as consumers seek means to move around the city without purchasing a car or using personal transit.

This does not mean that every eBay or scooter company will prosper. Some shared electric scooter companies have struggled in 2020 or shut down altogether. Others are switching to membership-based models. Expect tinkering to continue.