Delphi to Launch Self-Driving Taxis

Big news of the day is that supplier Delphi Automotive will be launching a self-driving taxi service in Singapore in 2017. The service will start along fixed routes and evolve into a go-anywhere service by 2019.

This is big news for a couple of reasons.

  1. This is faster than most people expected self-driving cars to launch, even accounting for the fact that Singapore is a pretty small geofenced area.
  2. Delphi is a Tier 1 supplier that derives substantially all of its revenue from sales to OEMs like GM and Ford. By launching a self-driving taxi service, Delphi will be competing head to head with them.

Reports also indicate that the startup nuTonomy will be launching a taxi service simultaneously, although this has been news for several months and isn’t a surprise.

That Delphi is capable of launching this kind of service isn’t hugely surprising, either. Delphi built a self-driving car that traveled across the US autonomously a few years ago. They seem to be the most advanced supplier in terms of autonomous capability.

But from a business perspective this is a risky proposition for Delphi.

By placing autonomous vehicles in the market, they’ll be miles ahead of competitive suppliers in this space.

But it’s not clear if any of the OEMs will want to buy from them, if they view the revenue as financing a competitor.

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