It is the last few days of 2018 and the new year 2019 is just around the corner. 2018 was a pretty topsy-turvy road for a number of giant companies in the market with some not making the gains that it was expected to or has been making, while some expanding their market by almost double the size. It just went on to prove the fact that no matter how much permutations and combinations you do and shelf out multiple predictions, there is no end to the surprises that you can get and the situations that remain unforeseen.
One thing that is in common among all companies in the hope that things will take a turn for the better in 2019. Multi-Billion dollar companies like GM, SpaceX, and Volvo will also hope the same. These three companies have been very enthusiastic and encouraging as long as innovation is concerned and 2019 seems like to be the year when the plans start getting converted to viable actions. Here is a list of things that these companies are set to achieve in 2019.
GM’s self-driving cars become available for ride-sharing services, potentially competing with Uber
Self-driving cars are definitely the future of automobiles and going forward, General Motors plans to launch cars that are not only self-driven but will be used as a ride-sharing service. This will be an ideal example of inculcation of technology in order to up the revenues of the company. The President of the company Dan Ammann believes that by 2019, the first fleet of such cars will hit the road and become functional.
Though GM has been the largest automakers for a really long time, they have witnessed a reduction in sales of late, mostly for the past year. This announcement is being deemed as an effort to impose themselves back on the game and also increase the revenue generation as self-driven cars result in a drastic cut in labor cost.
To give you some perspective here, any general ride-sharing service with a manual driver charges around 2-3 dollars a mile out of which one quarter goes as income to the driver. Since in self-driven cars there will be no driver per se, the cost can be effectively reduced to 1 dollar a mile and the whole profit will be there for the taking. This reduced price will also result in more people being interested in using the service and the market has the potential of increasing by 500-1000 times.
To top all that, the technology-driven cars will have very less hassle for maintenance similar to flights that can make multiple journeys with one servicing. The number of parts is also significantly less, reducing the chance of damages. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether GM will handle the whole operation on their own or pair up with Uber or some other automobile company to get their wheels rolling.
SpaceX gigabit internet satellites launch early in 2019, offering a new, global internet service by the end of the year
Elon Musk became a household name with some touting him to be the real-life “Iron Man”. He doesn’t seem to be short of any kind of innovation which ranges from self-driven cars to launching customized personal rockets to space and creating large tunnels underground for the Hyperloop project. He has also set his sights on the Internet Service Provider business and came up with the plan of launching satellites into space that will provide the internet with minimal latency throughout the world.
For people thinking that those were just sweet and far-fetched words, SpaceX is already preparing to take its first two satellites using the Falcon 9 rocket on 17th Feb 2019 to start testing out their Starlink project. They plan to launch 4425 satellites by 2024 which will provide compact and high-speed internet around the world and will also reduce the latency from 600ms to around 25-30 ms which is along the lines of fiber-optic ground lines. As a user, all you have to do is subscribe to the gigabit internet service that will be provided by SpaceX and you can say goodbye to the multiple cables and broadband lines that are generally required conventionally.
Moreover, since the project is aimed at providing internet globally, you don’t have to worry about international data packages and all that hassle as a single subscription will be valid throughout the world. This definitely sounds like directly out of a science fiction movie but the way the company is moving forward, with its first operations in 2019, it doesn’t seem to be far from reality any longer. As a user, you have to take the call about whether you will be interested in subscribing to them.
Volvo ceases production of new product lines of petrol cars and focuses entirely on designing electric vehicles
In a big announcement that came from the Chinese owned Swedish based company, Volvo is planning to switch completely from Internal Combustion Engine to Electrical Vehicle Models and plans to cease the production of the vehicles that run on petrol by 2019. The move is being hailed as a big step by all as Volvo seemed to have followed on the path of other automobile companies who have made similar decisions earlier.
However, the other companies have only proceeded to the hybrid models, whereas, Volvo is the first company to announce the complete Electrified Vehicle models. They are slated to release 5 such models which will be open to choice for the customers. Their sales target is 1 million cars by 2025. The first two years, from 2019-2021, the hybrid models will be launched and after that the completely EV ones. Tesla, who have been the frontrunners in electric cars, will take note of this announcement as this is bound to increase their competition, which is a good thing, as long as innovation is concerned. Tesla couldn’t meet their target of selling 50000 cars by 2018 as they failed to gather enough battery supplies and could meet only 40 percent of the total demand.
This shows that the switch will not be an easy one. Volvo being a Chinese-owned company may have played a role here as well as China is taking giant initiatives to strive for a greener and cleaner environment, especially because it is facing the wrath of excessive pollution. That day is not far when the classical engine will become completely obsolete, burning combustible fossil fuels and releasing greenhouse gases will be a thing of the past and automobiles will either become driver-less or robot-driven.
These companies are yet to reach their full potential but 2019 certainly seems to be the year of stepping stones to success for them.