Blog Archives

The Future of Auto is Mobile

The question doesn’t seem to be whether or not we want to live within “the grid,” but rather what type of grid we want to inhabit?

In order to remain just on the ground level of our evolving digital society, let alone any furnished apartment or luxury suite, we must embrace the ever-growing connectivity of an ever-growing networked world. From our smartphones (if anyone has a flip-phone, I’d like to see it for historical purposes) to watches to tablets to computers to social networks to commerce to business to entertainment and everything in between, life’s daily necessities focus hard on innovative, customizable software.

That’s the reality…until it soon becomes virtual (see Ready Player One).

There are some negatives to this modern lifestyle, least of which are explored by the futuristic HBO hit show Westworld and a few select Michael Crichton novels. Still, there are incredible positives to embracing futuristic technology. And it looks like BMW is working towards one of these aforementioned positives…

If I were a betting man (thanks to a college poker game, I’m not), I’d wager a large sum of money on the word “charging” on the Buzzword Market Worldwide.

Or BMW, for short.

Investing in the right battery stock may be a prudent move as well. Time to get out the credit card and charge it.

The point is that the next technological frontier, and it’s still in the very early stage, appears to be a seamless, all-present wireless charging ecosystem for all the portable products/things/necessities in our lives. The world, to prognosticate, could evolve into a 3-D electronic world of sorts akin to an ’80s video game simulation. Walls, homes, roads may, one day, become super batteries and one further day down the digitized road all-mighty supercomputers. Just imagine what the digital grid could and will inevitably look like in a few decades. The pace of change increases with every passing day, hour and minute.

But for now, the BMW charging pad looks impressive and promising.

P.S. I hope you’re skilled at driving into car washes with precision.   

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Apple’s Ingenuity is Shifting Gears

This is not the Apple Inc. of the late Steve Jobs.

This blog post’s opening sentence is aimed directly at the surprising disclosure of development plans concerning evolving technology discussed in the recent interview above for the part-tech and part-lifestyle brand that is Apple. You’re likely recalling those iconic slideshow presentations when Steve Jobs was speaking/performing in front a packed auditorium in northern California’s Silicon Valley when he would suddenly reach into his pocket and reveal everyone’s favorite new gadget.

We all miss that suspense from the master of tech ceremonies.

But, as has been pointed out on Jimmy’s Daily Planet many, many times, Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs. For better or worse, that’s a fact. However, for a CEO not categorized as something damn near demiurge for 21st century technology consumer products, Tim Cook has proven to be among the best business leaders in the world. That’s also a fact.

There’s no risk with Tim Cook. Whether that’s been good or bad for Apple is for another blog post.

Returning to the video clip above of the interview with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang (a Silicon Valley favorite), a couple things were subtly revealed that should leave us wanting more. First, Mr. Cook appears to be feeling a bit of pressure (from investors, critics, reporters, their consumers, etc.) because why else admit a project that’s still “in the shop”? Or maybe automotive AI is only intended to serve as the obvious appretizer to something much grander and mind-blowing that shall remain hidden until suspense reaches its peak, as is the past tradition of Apple? Secondly, is automotive AI the best design path forward for empowering Apple consumers in the future?

Not to mention the implications and dangers of increasingly intelligent and widespread AI, as boldly illustrated in virtually any science-fiction book, movie or TV show ever made (cough cough Westworld).

Today, I will leave more questions than answers. Why?

Because perhaps Apple should be asking more questions as our society continues to undergo a massive (and equally uncertain, to put it lightly) digital transfer of power, of which it has played no small part. For a company made a global sensation for literally putting a surreal amount of high-quality information, entertainment and power into our hands, it seems abnormal to shift that same awesome power away from those very same hands.

Automotive AI may or may not be an automatic sell to Apple’s global consumer base. That remains the variable.

The constant is that consumers around the world will ultimately determine whether this evolving technology will find success on the right side of the road.

Das Engine of Life

Star Wars is part of us.

All of us.

On this Throwback Thursday, let’s recall that brilliant TV ad from Volkswagen that perfectly joined the forces of business and imagination.

That cool, original one-minute story conceptualized by the advertising team at Volkswagen achieved something that far exceeded the normal expectations of a TV commercial. And that was suspension of belief with a tether that was surprisingly tied to reality. Above all, the TV ad above showcases the necessity and power of creative storytelling. Telling a story, however seemingly other-worldly is one of the most important things in life and it connects us to each other in profound, sometimes unexpected ways.

Just ask any Star Wars fan (excluding Episodes I-III).

A New Blue Hue for You to View

The digitization of Henry Ford’s Model T is seeing an illuminating next chapter.

And it’s quite a sight.

Cars are (as has been written about many times on Jimmy’s Daily Planet) increasingly being designed and built as supercomputers. Tesla is the best practical evidence in 2016 of this burgeoning reality with the Model S, Model 3 and Model X. No, the price point for these three car models have not dropped into mainstream affordability, but the availability is there nonetheless. That’s impressive, even if it’s an expensive alternative. An encouraging note is the Tesla Model 3 is trying to crack the Lexus and Mercedes consumer market with a tax credit/incentive in the thousands that makes people take a second glance at the electric automaker beyond its sleek lines and quiet, yet powerful engine.

For many of the major car makers, their giant leap from the engine and functionality from the 20th century to the computerized innovation in the 21st century won’t be comprehensive. That’s impractical and foolish. At some point, perhaps in half a century, but that’s still a ways off…

Thankfully, as is the natural consequence of innovation, engineers are constantly conceptualizing that manageable next step.

“Powerful batteries will give the SUV a driving range of over 300 miles.

It will be priced like a “reasonably equipped Mercedes GLC.” At today’s prices, that would be around $50,000.”
–Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN Money

Visitors of the 2016 Paris Motor Show were recently privileged to an exciting first glimpse of the Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ imagined for modern roads. While the cool blue design is a concept, there doesn’t appear to be too many far-fetched ideas in the video above. Yes, it’s a promo made by and for the German car giants, yet this engineering dream looks like a realistic ambition for a few years down the road. However, one small speed bump may be that, as clean and appealing as the white interior shows in HD, perhaps the final call should favor dark blue or black (from experience, bright white leather may not pair well with dark jeans or clothing with indigo or black dye).

That’s the only grilling the EQ warrants. Speaking of which, that new grill is hot.

Red Blue-hot.