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- It seems that both of these responses are misunderstanding what you're saying. To me, your article was neither truly about "Google" nor "Google making $2 Trillion", but the implications of autonomous vehicles in light of the tremendous strides in implementation that Google has made, showing just how soon this technology will be upon us. But they instead chose to create straw man arguments to criticize you. That was my take, anyway.
P.S. Part 3 tomorrow? :)Jan 28, 2013
- I think we all agree that Google doesn't necessary need to be the producer of the cars. It's all about rethinking the business model, making it into a new platform - a new ecosystem around Driverless Cars. The key is not the car, it is not the sensors, it is to come up with a single platform that all parties that play in this ecosystem will have to use. This is like the story of Nokia vs. Apple. Nokia was still making phones when Apply created a platform around phones, well beyond the scope of what Nokia was thinking about when they were innovating their phones. GM and the likes may be like Nokia in this case, still producing nice cars, but either they will have to join the platform or have to fight to survive.Feb 1, 2013
- It's not even sure that car makers need Google's technologyFeb 2, 2013
- I don't think that a car manufacturer is going to bring me the platform that connects the ecosystem. None of them have even maps. They can make a smart car, and I can be wrong, but I doubt they will be the re-inventors of the transport system creating a new platform. E.g. If I want to be in the airport at 11 am, then it takes a platform to know where the cars are, how the traffic will be by the time I need to go there, there needs to be a payments system etc... This is not about a single car (phone), this is about a platform, an infrastructure, and ecosystem. Just my opinion of course.Feb 2, 2013
- You're very much right in that the article is not about Google making $2 Trillion. I hope that I made a reasonable case that the driverless car will throw many trillions up for grabs if some player and series of events force a dramatic reconceptualization of the car and the car-related economy. Will Google capture all of that shifted revenue? Absolutely not.
At the same time, the articles are very much about Google. This is because I see it as a central player in forcing that disruptive reconceptualization. Left to the industry's devices, driverless technology would be introduced incrementally and piecemeal, such as through parking assistance or crash avoidance features. This is very logical for car makers, it is less intimidating to customers, enables a steady flow of premium features, doesn't raise as large liability issues, and doesn't disrupt current business models. Google, however, has little stake in being "logical." It approaches driverless holistically, rather than as a set of discrete applications. That, I believe, will allow for a better architected solution, and one that will more likely converge to true "driverless" and the associated benefits (especially fleet and cost reduction). Once you discard "incremental" as a design constraint, many more design options open up—including the possibility of a "platform." To paraphrase a common expression, the driving platform would be greater than the sum of the incremental safety modules.
As a result, if it does indeed catalyze the non-incremental approach, I think Google places itself in the driver's seat to make lots of money in a lot of different ways. I'm going to address that in Part 4. What did you think of Part 3?
thanks, also, to and for commenting.Feb 2, 2013
- I agree withthat car makers would not necessarily make the platform, and certainly their incentive would be to make proprietary platforms rather than one that spanned multiple manufacturers. It was bold, for example, that at one point tried to be cross-platform (and I'll claim a small credit for nudging it to that position) but it eventually retreated to be a GM-specific feature than a cross-industry one.
is right, though, that not all manufacturers will need Google's technology. All would resist it, I'd expect. And the big players like GM and Toyota, would likely be able to roll their own. But it's a fragmented market, and it is unlikely that every significant player would succeed in the complex development effort. At least some might turn to Google if it succeeds as spectacularly as it seems it might. It is analogous to why so many phone makers turned to Android, and Nokia embraced Microsoft—even though they would have preferred to have their own OS. How might of a market will Google need to make this effort very worthwhile?Feb 2, 2013
- Chunka, you mentioned that you are an unofficial influencer in the transportation sector. My first unofficial influence was delivered to a (bankrupt) car manufacturer as project "T140" in 1978 and the design cycle for a new car then was 4-5 years. Today that is 4-5 weeks.
One of the strongest constants all of these years is that you have to contend with and beat the time it takes for an entire fleet to be reproduced. Which is around 10-12 years. ?Intellectuals can see that having a solid ubiquitous base of knowledge goes a long way for everyone to understand how a clock works with relationship to time. Utilizing abstract reasoning results in new grammar school transportation mathematics/relationships that are very helpful to get everyone to cooperate on our roads. Today, we have so may uncooperative strategies/gov't authorities/lost drivers/zany drivers/construction/time of day etc. etc. that we will never be able to generate a value of 1, being complete traffic fluidity. Youngsters are future drivers who can easily understand that group cooperation should enable everyone to win and advance.Feb 18, 2013
- Heygreat series so far. It strikes me as odd that everybody concerns themselves with personal driving as the core of the driverless car market. You wrote a lot about possible the downsides for insurance companies and the possible upsides for car companies. These are all pretty straightforward.
I'm surprised you skipped the workforce related downsides: Driverless cars eliminate much of the need for those who drive most... taxis, deliveries, and truckers (with the possible exception for delivery drivers who have to actually walk up to the door of the home to which they are delivering).
Truckers have long been an important part of economic discourse in western countries. I remember just a few years ago that trucker strikes brought a european country to its knees. It would be interesting to see how these unions and interest groups are preparing their constituents for the harsh reality that they're very close to becoming vestigial.
(edit - you did mention taxis)Mar 2, 2013
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