1.  Crystal ball-ing the next decade!

If the last decade spelt doom for the U.S. automotive industry, the next decade will more than make up for it. Industry analysts are predicting (and really, you don’t need to be an analyst to predict this) that the next ten years in automotive will witness more change than the last 50 years have.

Stemming from a conversation at the Churchill Club’s recent event on disruptive technologies in the automotive industry, it appears that autonomous vehicles are on every automakers’ mind. At the event, Thilo Koslowski, automotive practice leader at Gartner, predicted the following evolutionary phases for autonomous vehicles:

o   Phase I: Vehicle is on autopilot but the driver still has a role

o   Phase II: Driver watches Game of Thrones while the car is drives itself. Driver available to take charge if/when required

o   Phase III: The car doesn’t need a human at all; the driverless vehicle is the new soccer mom

 

2.  Has Silicon Valley become the new Detroit? Or is it more that Silicon Valley + Detroit = a better car and driving experience?

The future of in-vehicle computing looks like a smart phone – app-ready, cloud-powered and touchscreen-enabled. It’s no wonder that Ford, General Motors, BMW and Nissan-Renault all have R&D centers in Silicon Valley. With auto companies going all out to win the car computing race, the customer is poised to be the real winner.

 

No doubt, the production and know-how of auto is centered in Detroit. The car industry’s powerful partnership with Silicon Valley can only mean accelerated access to customization, safety and accessibility. Key characteristics of both industries with Tesla leading the way.

 

3.  Customers can get whatever color they want and more

It’s the age of customization. While machine learning has been applied to heated seats, in-vehicle temperature and ambient lighting, it’s going a mile further.

Johann Jungwirth, CEO of Mercedes-Benz R&D in North America, shared that the next line of cars will know you and your schedule—intimately. Your car will know where you want to go at 8 a.m. M-F, the kids’ car-pool route, and your favorite radio station. Just for the rich? Nope. “Loaded features” will be standard so Millennials (a.k.a. early adopters) can afford it.

 

4.  Caronomics

At the crux of any car discussion is the price and money proposition. The value of a car and how we choose to make our cars work for us is changing and will continue to change.

With autonomous cars, we can be dropped off at work and our car and be rented out to others who want to use it for a quick lift. Actually, we won’t need to own a car in the first place.  Who wants to spend upwards of $1,000 on auto insurance every year? Multiply the dollar amount with the total number of vehicle owners in developed nations and think about how the money can be put to good use. It’s the age of shared economy or AirBnB for cars! Autonomous vehicles will change the concept of city dwelling as well. Folks don’t need to live in dense urban pockets anymore. Live in the countryside, grow your own food and have the car drive you to work.

 

For more conversations on disruptive automotive, join us for a conversation on the Connected Car at the Churchill Club on Wednesday, August 13.