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Entries in Cars (4)


Servicing Autonomous Vehicles

We all know that vehicles are more reliable, and complex.

We have come a long way from the simple mechanical car of a few decades or is it generations ago.

As vehicles become more sophisticated, and complex with higher technology content, the disposability of the vehicle increases.

With all the technology, sophistication, complexity, a lot of the under chassis requirements are a constant, tires, brakes, oil change, exhaust, suspension components...its all changed, and its still the same.

From a diagnostic perspective most vehicles have a self diagnostic functionality, all manufacturers have specific diagnostic tools for their vehicles. Its "plug it in and see what comes up on the screen".

But what will be unique about AV's...

From our perspective servicing autonomous vehicles...

  • These vehicles will be connected, and monitored 24/7.
  • Will require mandatory inspections at regular intervals.
  • Autonomous capability will be deactivated if inspection schedules are not respected.
  • The vehicle can drive itself to the service department...think about this.

The safety and liability aspect of the vehicles will enforce a servicing, inspection, maintenance schedule.

Imagine a dealer seeing a bunch of AV's show up at the service drive through, with pre scheduled appointments, and pre authorised payments. Once the inspection/service is complete. The vehicle drives itself back to the owner.

What do you think?




What One Consumer's Car Buying Process Reveals...

We all know that it starts online, and now more often on a mobile device, an informative walk through the buying process of one consumer.



Apple and Cars

All the recent talk and speculation of perhaps Apple getting into the auto business and perhaps even building and selling electric cars by 2020.

Makes you wonder why would Apple or Google, or another tech company actually want to get into the auto business. Yes...if Tesla did it, anyone else with sufficient funding can do it...and it fires up the speculation.

If you are in the tech business and making money selling products that are dramatically less combersome that cars. Why would you want to get into the auto business, and actually build cars?

Is there a vacuum of not enough car builders in the auto business? What do you think?

Is there a vacuum in the current clumsy center screen area of any vehicle? What do you think?

From our perspective, the vacuum/void is in the centre screen of all vehicles. The functionality of the centre screen is all over the map, accompanied by the various disconnected capabilities. One vehicle its this way, another its that way, its all over the place.

Factor in that most everyone has a smart device that functions on 2 software platforms. We are talking about millions that are intimately familiar with 2 software platforms. Yes...Apple owns iOS, one of those platforms.

Some centre screens from certain manufacturers are starting to look like someone stuck an iPad on the dash.

If you have had an opportunity to have the centre screen of a Tesla Model S demonstrated to you, obvious the size is impressive, once you get over the size, the functionality is exceptional, its intuitive, its disruptive, its like no other center screen.

Imagine for a moment synching your iPhone with your iPad, you can do that today. Now go a step further and synch the centre screen of your vehicle with your iPad, iPhone, iWatch. How cool would that be?

The entire discussion of connected vehicles the actual connection is outside the realm of all current auto manufacturers. Its the ongoing bits and pieces here and there, one offers a feature, another a different feature, and so on. Think about this for a moment.

In the hyper competitive arena of smart devices, and the connection moving towards vehicles. Connecting vehicles presents an immense opportunity for anyone that can offer a pre engineered package to any manufacturer.

To offer a pre engineered centre screen package you need folks that have an understanding of autos, the auto industry, and the various elements that are currently controlled by a center screen. Where some elements still relate to the vehicles climate control comes to mind, and other elements will be related to connecting the vehicle to other devices. Perhaps even having "autonomous" in the centre screen.

The consumer has an iPhone that is synched to an iPad, that is synched to the iScreen in the vehicle. The iScreen connection functionalities can be explained by any Genius in an Apple store.

Reflect on this for a moment.

Reflect on the reality that many components/assemblies of a modern vehicle are engineered, designed, assembled by a supplier. If you have a supply chain that provides iPads....

To cover further possibilities, look at additional functionalities that can be controlled by a centre screen.




Some Questions and Answers

Lets get going with a few questions, and answers that have developed through the years.

What would happen if Wal Mart went in the car business?:

A few decades ago it was a fascinating question. As to what would happen if Wal Mart became a dealer. Today's dealer groups are the answer to the question. Think about it, huge groups with numerous franchises, public and private funds. Exerting influence on manufacturers.

Vehicles will reach a level of parity:

Remember when some manufacturers had better products, quality than others? Today with increasingly less platforms, accompanied by an increase in common components. There is a strong level of product parity amongst all manufacturers. You know the saying "They are all good vehicles". Think about this for a moment.

Vehicles will become a commodity:

In the mid 1980's the thought vector that with a level of parity, vehicles would increasingly become a commodity. At the time it was unthinkable, "they will never become a commodity". Today CMS (Citizen Main Street) wants a vehicle with a warranty, and a service package. Think about this...

What happened to the mechanical car?:

The mechanical car that was service intensive, often unreliable, and rebuildable, is on a vector of rapid extinction. Carburetors, distributors, ignition points, hydraulic power steering with a steering box, hydraulic valve bodies in automatic name a few. That stuff is from yesterday, and non existent on today's vehicles.

What happened to the manual assembly line?:

Its gone, same as the carburetor. Robots perform a majority of the precision tasks on a modern assembly line. While manual labor the little that is required can be done in a secondary country with dramatically lower labor rates. The auto industry that for a couple of generations empowered blue collar middle class workers, is now empowering robots, and lower wages. Remember "Japanese assembly lines can run with the lights out"

Why are vehicles with leading edge mechanical components expensive?:

The moment any manufacturer steps away from common, mass produced mechanical components the price escalates dramatically. Think high performance, high horsepower, ceramic brakes, carbon name a few. High performance is more expensive than a few generations ago.

Why is the cost of technology inexorably rising?:

Simple there is increasingly more technology in a vehicle. CMS demands more technology, the cost savings from mechanical components are applied towards the increased content/costs of technology. Its a delicate balancing act.