Autonomy with Frank Chen

Self-driving, electric cars will someday outnumber traditional automobiles on the road. As transportation becomes autonomous, it is hard to imagine an industry that will not be affected by the downstream effects of this change.

These cars will likely be managed by fleet operators like Lyft and Uber. We will need fewer cars, and the amount of space dedicated to those cars will shrink dramatically. Parking lots, massive roads, and gas stations will be reclaimed or repurposed. City planning departments will have to devise entirely new strategies.

As the self-driving cars reach consumer availability, an intricate supply chain for these cars will develop. When smartphones became mass-produced, the costs of GPS devices, accelerometers, and other small components dropped steeply. A consequence of the smartphone supply chain was that other devices like consumer drones became affordable. The self-driving car supply chain will lead to the mass production of building blocks for other new devices.

With fewer automotive fatalities, the economics of the car insurance industry might collapse completely. At a minimum, the costs of car insurance will likely shift to the fleet operators, who can purchase that car insurance at prices factoring in their large risk pool.

Frank Chen is a deal and research partner with Andreessen Horowitz. In a series of presentations on the Autonomy Ecosystem, Frank explores the effects of our impending shift to self-driving electric cars. His analysis considers changes to energy infrastructure, the competitive landscape of software companies, and a range of other topics. Frank joins the show to discuss autonomous vehicles and the side effects of widespread autonomous deployments.


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