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Waymo will dominate the taxi industry; $UBER and $LYFT will fall
Lately, I'm seeing more instances where Waymo tells me that the robotaxi that will come pick me up is currently completing another ride. This has never been an issue I encountered during the first couple weeks of using Waymo. This is all part of Waymo's plan to open the floodgates of its robotaxi service to the masses.

Meanwhile, Cruise, which is owned by GM, has been open to everyone for over a year. The issue with Cruise is the service time that they offer to customers. People can only access the service between 9pm to 5:30am. This is less convenient for users (and most users end up not using the service at all). Looking at the news headlines, Cruise is often cited in the self-driving car accidents. Until Cruise can fix their issues, the gap between Waymo's and Cruise's robotaxi business development continues to widen.

For $UBER and $LYFT, the rise of Waymo is bad news for them. Inter-city taxi rides will plunge as more people will start using Waymo instead of Uber or Lyft. Nightclubs that would normally send drunk guests in an Uber would now send them in a robotaxi. With no human and the guest is alone in the vehicle, it removes the risk of another human being harming that drunk person. Also, robotaxis are cheaper and don't require tipping, giving people a break from the toxic tipping culture. The only rides that Uber and Lyft will rely on are rides coming or going to places outside of SF. But once Waymo figures out how to navigate highways and gain approval to expand into more cities, then Uber and Lyft will struggle to find customers.

It's possible that Cruise and other self-driving startups can catch-up to Waymo in terms of technological capabilities. But once they do, they'll have to fight for customers from Waymo. I see a price war happening among the robotaxi startups because that will be the main way to steal customers away from competing robotaxi networks. With Alphabet having the biggest war chest in the self-driving race, there are more reasons to expect Waymo to win the self-driving race.

In terms of deployment, Waymo executed far better than Cruise. It chose to expand slower than competitors but also ensured that as they expanded, they're able to provide the 24/7 service that people look for in a taxi. By having people download the app and apply to be on the waitlist, it was able to hook people onto their app and it gave them the impression that Waymo is only accessible on its app. $UBER and Waymo formed a partnership in March of this year but so far, people are only able to access Waymo vehicles through the Waymo app. As more people get off the waitlist and use the Waymo app to call rides, I doubt that those same people will use the Uber app to request for rides. The partnership was originally made as a backup for Waymo incase they aren't able to fill their vehicles with people. But from what I've seen, I think Waymo wouldn't need Uber's help to scale its customer base. For Waymo's view, going DTC would enhance their margins. The only thing Uber brings to the table is give people a bigger reason to want robotaxis.

With Alphabet already invested $1.1 billion in Waymo from 2009 to 2015 and billions more since then, the commercialization of their SF ride-hailing business will bring much needed revenue that helps justify the hefty investments they've made in self-driving tech. The revenues SF will bring for Waymo will be far more than what Phoenix already brings to the company. While the revenues are currently small, I know they will grow rapidly every month for the next few years. Partnerships with automakers like Jaguar to boost production of robotaxis is essential for winning the self-driving race.

Those who feel bad about Uber and Lyft collapsing under the success of Waymo should know that the rideshare business model is not sustainable. Without the rideshare platforms penny pinching on the fares that their drivers collect, they wouldn't be able to breakeven or create the profits that make Wall Street enthusiastic. Since they get paid little for their driving, they rely on tips from passengers to meet minimum wage. A business built on screwing its drivers over is not a good business. Waymo's growth will mean fewer human taxi drivers on the roads but in the process, better jobs will be created that those drivers can hopefully work in.

The future is very bright and very exciting.
The Verge
Waymo’s robotaxis are now available to tens of thousands of people across all of San Francisco
More people in more driverless cars.

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