The End of the Automotive Era


The automotive era is coming to an end, said Bob Lutz, former chairman of General Motors, in an article in Automotive News.

That’s not to say that cars will disappear, but that the automotive industry is seeing the biggest shift in the entire history of cars. No longer will cars be an isolated bubble, a home away from home, a private island of transportation. The Internet of Things is already making inroads into automotive advances. Cars already have detection devices, and an added layer of connectivity will allow cars to talk to each other, and even talk to the roads themselves.

A major advantage of this connectivity layer is that there will be far fewer traffic accidents as cars communicate traffic conditions and hazards with one another automatically and in real time. Self-driving experimental cars are already on the road, and it’s inevitable that technological advances will make the self-driving model standard at some point.

Ultimately, we will see the car of the future much as we see the smartphone of today. A smartphone isn’t just a tool for making phone calls – it’s a receptacle for dozens of useful apps that we use every day. Cars too, will be rolling computers, where the cars themselves are commodity items, and the value comes in the connected apps that can be added as needed.

Things like shared mobility may also become commonplace, and Lutz said in his article, since cars will be fully autonomous, self-driving, standardized modules, even car ownership – which we tend to prize highly – may even be a thing of the past.