Verizon underlined their intention to enter the self-driving vehicle market by investing $10 million into Renovo Auto. There is no indication on whether the entire investment hails from the telecommunication giant’s investment arm, Verizon Ventures, or if it was also funded by other sources. Renovo Auto is an autonomous vehicle startup which was founded 7 years ago, and it made a name for itself by taking a classic DeLorean and making the necessary amendments to transform it into a fully autonomous ride. Verizon has a very good reason to maintain an interest in autonomous vehicles by virtue of being a telecommunications company. They sell data services to consumers, and if your vehicle transmits drive data continuously, then Verizon would stand to earn a handsome profit from its customers.
Ed Ruth, who is the director of Verizon Ventures, claims that autonomous vehicles would be “one of the biggest markets we see.” The investment’s end goal would most probably be the development of a platform which is capable of managing an entire fleet of self-driving vehicles. This platform will ensure that all connected autonomous vehicles travel in harmony, virtually eliminating any possibility for accidents. There is still a long way to go before the platform sees such levels of maturity though.
It is said that within a 90 minute window that the average American spends in a car daily, a standard autonomous vehicle will generate 4TB of data. The figure might sound unbelievable, but it is actually equal to the Internet usage of 3,000 people across three years. The growth of the self-driving car market is set to be on the upward mark, which translates to an ever greater amount of data being generated on a daily basis. This investment looks to be a win-win situation for Verizon. If they are able to play a crucial role in kickstarting such technology, they would end up with first mover advantage and a ready-made customer base. In the event that their foray into the field of telematics (information transfer over telecommunications) does not work out favorably, at the very least Verizon would already have one foot in the transportation market to ride the next wave.