Our vehicles are changing faster than most of us realise. They’re getting connected to the cloud; they’re becoming data engines. But technology isn’t the only shift happening in the space. Social and economic changes are also at work.
Cars are one of our most valuable, yet under-utilized assets. People spend more on cars than any other belonging besides their homes, yet they are used less than 10% of the time.
Urban Millennials are increasingly opting out of car ownership. It’s understandable: owning a vehicle already costs $50-75 per day in many cities. This trend is likely to accelerate as new alternatives emerge for the carless, restless class.
However, one presenter noted that its research showed that Millennials still value cars and suggested recent studies may have been taken during the Great Recession, which may have negatively influenced Millennial attitudes towards car ownership. Regardless, connected cars and smartphones create opportunities and challenges for the auto sector as transport options multiply and become easier to access in real time.
Ridesharing models from Uber and Lyft and car sharing models from Turo (formerly RelayRides) and Flightcar are already having significant impact on how people think about transportation and car ownership.
Yet this is only the first order effect. Cities today are organized around their transportation infrastructure and they look very different today in an auto-centric world than a century ago before the car. The cities of tomorrow could look quite different as new transportation models emerge.
Connected and autonomous cars should reduce congestion, accidents and time lost commuting. Tomorrow’s car could be a shared vehicle and today’s garage could be an AirBNB residence.
Who wins in an Intelligently Driven Connected Car world: Silicon Valley or Detroit?
Possibly neither. We have seen from other sectors that disruption creates an opportunity for new winners, often from outside the industry.
Both Detroit and Silicon Valley have a proud history of innovation and industry leadership, but the ultimate winners could come from elsewhere. European OEMs are pushing the frontiers and China’s Shenzhen powerhouse is reportedly able to move from prototype design to model car in six weeks.
In this sense, as Car Connections underscored, Silicon Valley and Detroit have more to gain by collaborating than competing.
How do you think technology and social change are going to impact on the car industry?
In case you missed them, you can catch up on the first and second parts of this series.
Car Connections: Intelligent Driving – a 2020 View Conference