Within the automotive space, Amazon has engaged in several investments and initiatives in self-driving vehicles and technology. Amazon has also entered strategic partnerships with automotive companies through Amazon Web Services (AWS), while allowing the sale of automobiles and vehicle parts (via third-party entities such as dealerships) through its platform in various regions of the world.
Investments and Initiatives in the Self-Driving Space
- Amazon has made a number of investments and entered several business ventures involving both self-driving/autonomous vehicles and the technology that drives them in an effort to tackle shipping costs. Self-driving technology has become a major part of Amazon’s plans for its future.
- One of these companies that it has invested in is Aurora, which develops hardware and software for self-driving automobiles. Amazon issued the following statement to coincide with the announcement of this investment: “Autonomous technology has the potential to help make the jobs of our employees and partners safer and more productive, whether it’s in a fulfillment center or on the road, and we’re excited about the possibilities.” Amazon views this, along with its other investments in the area, as an opportunity to help stimulate various changes in business, including diminishing the delivery costs associated with autonomous vehicle delivery.
- According to Singularity Hub, it is speculated that Amazon intends to integrate self-driving technology from these companies into its own wagon fleet.
- Additionally, Amazon has partnered with other startups/companies within the self-driving space, such as Embark, to establish a fleet of self-driving shipping trucks to transport its trailers. Also, Amazon has launched a wholly electric delivery system that is autonomous that it refers to as Amazon Scout, which it intends to eventually be capable of delivering packages by itself. The company is also developing the AWS DeepRacer, a mini-sized self-driving monster truck that is powered by machine learning and driven by Amazon Web Service’s AWS RoboMaker.
- In addition to those initiatives and investments, Amazon offers a complete suite of services to assist the development and deployment of autonomous vehicles and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) through Amazon Web Service (AWS). The support and capacity, along with the unlimited storage, from AWS helps deep learning frameworks (e.g., PyTorch, Apache MXNet, and TensorFlow) to bolster algorithm training and evaluations. Meanwhile, AWS IoT Greengrass supplies edge computing, as well as machine learning inference abilities, to process, in real time, local events and regulations within an automobile while reducing expenses associated with transporting data to the cloud.
Strategic Partnerships Through Amazon Web Services
- Amazon Web Services, or AWS, is used by automotive companies, including startups and global automakers, to accelerate their digital transformation. AWS is also used by these companies to allow their products and offerings to market quicker. Through the services offered by AWS, automotive companies can maintain ownership and management of their data, as well as the overall brand experience.
- AWS is able to supply automotive companies with capabilities (e.g., HPC, IoT, AI/ML), data analytics, a broad partner and customer community, superior security and performance, and innovation. As a strategic partner, AWS provides automotive companies with the abilities, speed, agility, and expertise needed “to thrive in the new era of mobility.”
- Moreover, AWS can offer services for transformation throughout the automotive value chain in areas such as product innovation (e.g., ability to hasten time-to-market for brand-new offerings and technologies), connected vehicles and mobility, digital customer engagement, and manufacturing and supply chain.
- Benefits provided to companies in the automotive industry through AWS include the ability to empower internal innovation, differentiate brand experience, accelerate time to market, and actualize and monetize data.
- Some companies from around the world in the automotive space that are customers of AWS include the Volkswagen Group, Jaguar, Land Rover, the BMW Group, KIA, TATA Motors, Scania, Honda, Mazda, Hyundai, Audi, Karma, Yamaha, Toyota, TuSimple, Embark, Here, Mapbox, Deepmax, Uber, Lyft, the Avis Budget Group, Turo, Grab, ChargePoint, Continental, AISIN AW Co., LTD., WirelessCar, Elektrobit, Cox Automotive, and Edmunds.
Online Automotive Sales
- In Italy, Amazon tested selling cars online with three separate Fiat vehicle models. With this opportunity, four preset packages are offered to consumers, who can collect the automobiles directly from a dealership following two weeks after the purchase. This removes the requirement of customers having to interact with a dealership’s staff members.
- Also in Europe, Amazon began recruiting car sales executives in June 2018 to help it begin marketing cars in the United Kingdom. The company also sells brand-new ALD vehicle leases in Spain, while promoting the installation of charging stations around the globe via partnerships with Audi and KIA.
- Amazon offers an avenue for automotive dealerships to sell their products. It is estimated that between 10%-15% of franchised dealerships in the United States market their offerings on Amazon Marketplace. The Amazon Marketplace has the potential to generate $4 billion in sales from third parties, such as dealerships, selling parts on its platform each year.
- Automotive sellers can take advantage of the tools offered by Amazon to learn which of their products are the most popular, the most effective pricing, and gauge their responsiveness with customers.