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Hacking Satellite: Autonomous Vehicles as Mobile Businesses
Pizza Bot Coming Soon
Anything, Anywhere, On Demand
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the autonomous vehicle revolution is the potential to spawn new businesses, or to generate endless opportunities for the expansion of existing businesses. The most obvious new business model for the autonomous vehicle to fuel is the driverless cab service, essentially allowing the Ubers and Lyfts of the world to offer on-demand private transportation without paying a driver. Disruptive, to be sure, but really, this is just the very tip of the iceberg so what else could we envision?
If you consider the existing on demand products and services currently available, it becomes much easier to construct a vision of the same products and services arriving without a human operator. For example, any delivered product (food being the primary market) will soon be delivered by a driverless vehicle, assuming the recipient can walk to the street to pick up their food. Mobile toolboxes, renting various tools, small appliances, or household items that people commonly need, will also occupy this ecosystem. Finally, and perhaps the most likely model early, will be the mobile “locker” service that will be used for everything from local courier to Amazon deliveries.
At the heart of all of these services is the autonomous vehicle, but also an implication for fully outfitted vehicles that can perform other tasks like operating a locker system, or, in the fun thought experiment, making a pizza on the move. The strategy rooms of Dominos, Subway, and other quick service restaurants are already trying to determine how they can create a robot capable of assembling and preparing a given set of food items while in motion. Imagine, if you will, placing an order from Dominos for a cheese pizza, and knowing that an autonomous vehicle with a pizza bot in the backseat has received your order, and is preparing it on the drive to your home or office. A mechanical arm preps your crust, spreads your sauce and cheese, and then puts your pizza in a small oven inside the vehicle. By the time the car makes its way to you, your pizza has cooked, and is sitting in a box waiting for you to take it from the car.
While fun to consider, it is also more fair to assume that this will occur in phases, the first of which is dominos simply employing autonomous vehicles to deliver pizzas that are made in the store, but again, do not assume that strategy rooms aren’t planning for the long future as well. Companies in the sectors most directly affected by driverless vehicles are those who have some kind of transport element to their business model, whether movement of their products from one place to another, delivery to their customers, or some form of on-demand service. Each of these companies has already begun considering the threats posed by autonomous vehicles, and also the ways in which they can adapt to leverage the technology.
What About Satellite?
The role of satellite in the future of the on demand ecosystem is manifold, and firms in the industry can prepare themselves to see substantial lift in business as long as they are adequately equipped with products to support the changes. Tracking services like GSatTrack, for example, will be critically important when there are fleets (large or small) of autonomous vehicles running around doing anything and everything. Data collected by these vehicles can also be used to build exceptionally powerful and insightful APIs that feed back into the ecosystem to improve the efficiency of each autonomous vehicle.
Additionally, because of the volume of data that will be moving through networks on a daily basis to support autonomous vehicles, it is more than certain to tax the terrestrial communications networks to an unsustainable level. Moving that data via satellite, however, would remove the burden from the traditional telecom companies, and will also create revenue opportunities for the airtime providers. Autonomous vehicle ecosystem participants will reach the foregone conclusion that a large portion of the data transmitted to and from the vehicle would be best sent through some means other than terrestrial networks, and that data movement represents billions of dollars in revenue for every airtime provider with a sensible tailored service solution.
How do I…
Futurism is exceptionally overwhelming at times, and its sensationalism is the source of that confusion while also being the reason it’s so exciting. Examining the autonomous vehicle trajectory, I would say that firms in the satcom sector have up to 5 years to capitalize on the opportunities presented by these eventual changes before joining the rat race. If you begin asking yourself “...and what does that lead to” now, you will certainly have the time to identify your firm’s opportunity or opportunities to enter the market, and prepare yourself accordingly.
As always, I appreciate you taking the time to dream with me. If you’d like more information about the topics in this article series, please reach out to us. If you’ve read this article because you’re looking for a firm that has a fleet management product that is focusing on the future, I’ll say that you’ve certainly found the right partner for your autonomous venture, and we’d love to speak with you about the future of our tracking products.