Mobility business could make room for everyone

by admin January 16, 2017 at 1:35 am

Mary Lou Jepsen: “Everyone wants the pie. The goal is to make the pie huge.”

DETROIT — In a future filled with mobility services and self-driving vehicles, some executives say there will be room for everyone.

At a panel hosted by Inforum Michigan, a professional women’s network, Mary Lou Jepsen, a board member at Lear Corp. and Silicon Valley veteran, said the transition to new automotive technologies will be more cooperative than competitive.

“Everyone wants the pie,” Jepsen said. “The goal is to make the pie huge.”

Jepsen, who helped launch Google X, the tech giant’s moonshot laboratory where its self-driving car aspirations originated, said there is a possibility that the industry could be rearranged with the emergence of autonomous technology. She compared the transition to that of the consumer electronics industry, with automakers becoming more like hardware manufacturers and suppliers taking center stage with autonomous software.

“The Tier 1s could take over,” Jepsen said.

However, automakers have been making their own efforts to ensure they remain relevant in a transportation ecosystem that may rely more on software and technology and less on car ownership. A year ago, General Motors introduced Maven, a startup within the automaker that provides car-sharing services with GM vehicles.

Megan Stooke, chief marketing officer of Maven, said the company operates as a complement to ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.

“It’s about access versus ownership,” she said at the event.

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