Adapting to survive and thrive

2014 Mercedes S500 Will Be the World’s First Driver-less Luxury Car

During the summer, our team was involved in a number of events and activities related to mobility.  Several of us participated in the Automated Vehicles Symposium held in San Francisco.

Attendance at this event has been increasing significantly over the years mirroring the tremendous rise in interest for the driverless technology as well as the rapid pace of technological advancement necessary to bring driverless vehicles to consumers in coming years.

While numerous presentations and speeches were made at the 2014 Automated Vehicles Symposium, one presentation and, in particular, one slide (and accompanying comments) resonated with us. It was in fact, the slide that most people discussed in many of the corridor conversations among attendees. Ralf Herrtwich, of Daimler, made that presentation. Here’s the slide I’m referring to:Slide_Daimler


Herrtwich presented this slide to a delegated-packed conference room and asked if anyone recognized any of the names / brands on the slide.  No one did.  Well … they are all brands of the leading horse carriage manufacturers who went out of business with the arrival of the revolutionary technology known as the automobile.

Businesses can either accept that this revolutionary technology will be among us and prepare for its commercialization and adoption or suffer the fate of so many forgotten brands / companies.

Daimler is leading and growing in the midst of this revolution. Its business models, its R&D focus, its acquisition strategy, etc have all been aligned with the mobility revolution being facilitated by technology: mobility on demand and driverless vehicles.

How has Daimler chosen to “adapt”? All while continuing to manufacture its various automobile brands, the company, recognizing the opportunities afforded by the shared economy, has vertically integrated forward into the car sharing space with Car2Go.

Daimler is also a leading developer of driverless technology. The Mercedes S class is equipped with one of the most advanced autonomous drive systems currently available on the market.

Further, earlier this month, Daimler announced the acquisition of mytaxi Provider Intelligent Apps and RideScout, the leading mobility platform in North America.

mytaxi is the world’s first app enabling direct connections between taxi users and taxi drivers. RideScout is dedicated to allowing users search and compare ground transportation options on demand.

With these investments, Daimler is demonstrating its understanding of where mobility is headed. In the future, Daimler may be a leading mobility services company, with vehicle manufacturing representing only a small portion of revenues and profitability.

The visionary leaders at Daimler are ensuring that their company name does not become a forgotten one!