Expert Blog

The Inside Track, V7

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Here at Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, we’re so enthusiastic about the future of motoring that we spend each month scouring the Internet for articles you might have missed.

Here’s our reading list for the past month:

  • Are the tech upstarts, such as Tesla and Google, going to depose the traditional car manufacturers? The Financial Times looked for answers in an article inspired by BMW’s recent attack advert against the Tesla Model 3. The general conclusion was that, whilst Elon Musk and his ilk are pushing back the boundaries, it might not take too long for the big old manufacturers to join them: ‘Only now are the Germans truly shifting gears into electric vehicle production. And thanks to their focus on profitability, they are in a position to deploy financial muscle and catch up with Tesla, say several analysts.’
  • Another article about the traditional manufacturers and how they are shaping up for the future; this time on Slate. Specifically, it’s about Ford’s plan to mass-produce driverless cars in about five years’ time or so. To help them get there, they recently announced that they are doubling their workforce in Silicon Valley. As Slate’s reporter puts it, ‘Ford is starting to look like a tech company.’

  • But autonomous cars may become mainstream sooner than we, or Ford, expect. Bloomberg reported that ‘Uber will allow customers in downtown Pittsburgh to summon self-driving cars from their phones’ – and this development won’t happen next year, next month, or even next week. It’s set to happen… well, now. The article summed up Uber’s eventual goal thusly: ‘to replace Uber’s more than 1 million human drivers with robot drivers – as quickly as possible.’

  • The futurist Jan Chipchase published a piece envisaging how our patterns of behaviour might change in response to autonomous motoring. There’s a lot in it, so we’ll pull out just one of his predictions: ‘There will be a widespread questioning of what constitutes punishment for anti-social behaviour such as errant parking, and the ability to identify and transfer payments between the inconveniencer and the inconveniencee will lead to new forms of auto-fines, where fines are levied and settled automatically.’

  • Okay, this one isn’t about electric or autonomous cars, and it’s a little bit more fun than our usual fare. But it’s still about innovation in motoring – sort of. Jason Torchinsky, associate editor of the brilliant Jalopnik website, reckons that he has invented the ultimate food to eat while driving. Let’s just say that it’s made out of bagel dough, has various fillings, and is cylindrical in shape. Bon appétit!

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