The promise of Internet-connected vehicles is in full view, the question now is “when?”
Henry Ford’s visionary idea of the moving assembly line spurred a revolution in car manufacturing. With a conveyor belt production line, “they cut the time taken to assemble a Ford Model T from 12 hours and 30 minutes in 1913 to just one hour and 33 minutes the following year.”
A hundred years on, and the car industry needs another revolutionary idea to transform its production and design for a digital age. Like the health care and banking industries, the car industry must rethink its fundamental structure in order to adapt to the needs of a new generation of ultra-connected drivers and passengers. Without reengineering the fundamentals of the car — Google’s (GOOG) driverless car project, or flying car fantasies — we need a totally new paradigm in car manufacturing. Right now, the behavior of wired passengers is an afterthought.
In order to unleash the connected car, we need to reframe our thinking about what a car is capable of. This might mean imagining it primarily as a digital space, rather than solely a transportation device.