The Germans team up as the driverless battles heat up

Last week, we saw Volkswagen promote the idea of a driverless alliance. It didn’t take long for another Germany company to jump on board:

BMW management board member Klaus Froehlich said automakers and large suppliers are beginning to discuss how to agree on one standard for autonomous-vehicle systems. “Everybody has an interest or should have an interest” in common autonomous-vehicle standards,” Froehlich said.

On the costs of electric, driverless vehicles:

BMW is open to forming alliances to share the costs of developing autonomous-vehicle systems. On batteries, Froehlich said, BMW is pursuing a strategy aimed at securing lower-cost batteries than rivals, in part by controlling the supply of raw materials for its battery-making partners. “We will have agreements with mining companies,” Froehlich said. “We have one agreement. There will be more.” A key issue, he said, is securing cobalt from mines that do not exploit workers or employ children.

This gets an A+ for How to Do Capitalism, 2018: join your competitors in lobbying governments to mandate your preferred standards for driverless cars, thus giving you a competitive advantage. At the same time, throttle the supply chain of metal to give you another unfair advantage– this time in controlling scarce materials. Finally, claim it’s all done for the children!

I think I’m gonna puke.