The Coming Revolution in Vehicle Technology and its BIG Implications
We are on the threshold of a radical change in vehicle technology. No, it’s not automation, although that will come very soon. Instead, change is being driven by the underlying technology for automation that is already here and advancing rapidly; that is, crash avoidance technology delivered by advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS for short. ADAS makes safety and marketing sense. Whether it is Daimler, Toyota, Ford, Nissan, GM, another vehicle OEM or even Google, none are going to put vehicles on the road that can steer, brake or accelerate autonomously without having confidence that the technology will work. ADAS promises to first reduce accidents and assist drivers as a “copilot” before eventually taking over for them on some and eventually their entire journey as an “autopilot.” As for how quickly the impacts of this technology will be felt, the adoption curves for any new technology look very similar to one another. For example, the first commercial mobile-phone network went live in the United States in 1983 in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. At the time, phones cost about $3,000 and subscribers were scarce. Even several years later, coverage was unavailable in most of the country outside of dense urban areas. Today there are more mobile-phone subscriptions than there are people in the United States, and more than 300,000 mobile-phone towers connect the entire country. Low-end smartphones cost about $150. Vehicle technology is moving forward at a similar pace. And, because transportation is so fundamental to how we live, the disruptive effects are likely to be astoundingly large.