Closed-open innovation strategy for autonomous vehicle development

Marlous Blankesteijn*, Frank De Jong, Bart Bossink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The automobile industry is faced with societal and market pressures to develop radically innovative cars for the future. The development of the autonomous vehicle (AV) is a strategic innovation in this area. This paper studies whether and how AV-innovation strategies at Tesla, BMW and Toyota are developed by using an open and/or closed innovation paradigm. More than ever, it appears that R&D departments of car manufacturers employ a combination of a closed and an open innovation strategy. In order to nurture their AV innovation strategy, they strategically decide which innovations to adopt from outside, and which parts of the R&D process to keep in-house. This paper presents and discusses the combined closed-open AV-innovation strategies used by three dominant car producers. It provides an insight in how they aim to gain a first-to-market position and sustainable competitive advantage in a new market segment of a highly saturated market.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-103
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Journal of Automotive Technology and Management
Issue number1/2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2019


  • Automotive industry
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • AV
  • Open innovation
  • R&D management


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