Autonomous Vehicles and Strategic Choices

This Recent Article is the result of a collaborative effort between TCS and the Clayton Christensen Institute.  The article examines the strategic choices faced by various players in the emerging Mobility Ecosystem – viewed through the lens of the Theory of Disruptive Innovation. It outlines the best course of action for achieving long-term profitability in the ride-hailing market.

As with any future scenario, the variables that must be considered in determining the path of the scenario can be overwhelming – There is Peril in Predicting. However, inaction is not an option. Strategic choices must be explored.


Autonomous vehicles (AVs) have captured the world’s imagination as companies move ever closer to bringing this technology to the cusp of reality. While much of the discussion of self-driving cars has focused on the technology itself and its societal benefits, there is an equally important discussion needed around the business strategy required to get the product into the hands of consumers. Indeed, while estimates vary, UBS projects that autonomous vehicle technology will produce global markets of up to $2.8 trillion by 2030. With so much potential revenue on the line, it is of little wonder that investment in the technology is running in the billions of dollars per year as companies vie for pole position in the automotive future.

Autonomous vehicles represent an exciting new chapter in transportation. Coupled with ride-hailing, they stand to completely reimagine how people get from place to place. With the right strategic vision, AV companies can play a principal role in the advancement of the industry—and make a handsome profit in the process.


Chandrasekar Iyer is a visiting research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Chandrasekar researches the future of manufacturing with a primary focus on automotive, industrial machinery, and aerospace subsectors. Chandrasekar’s work has been published in TechCrunch and Automotive News, and has been cited in The New York Times, Clean Technica and InsideEVs. He is also the author of Driving Disruption: Catching the Next Wave of Growth in Electric Vehicles

Rich Alton is the director of emerging research at the Clayton Christensen Institute. He is responsible for training new visiting research fellows, advising them on research questions, and helping them drive their research to publication. Rich has co-authored two papers with Clayton Christensen: The New M&A Playbook, published in Harvard Business Review, and Picking Green Tech’s Winners and Losers, published in Stanford Social Innovation Review.


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