Cars are getting smarter, thanks to investment being made by car manufacturers. However, the Digital Transformation of cars is opening up new doors, and new opportunities, to companies that are not manufacturing cars but are expert in the digital world and they are most likely to be the ones that, eventually, will deliver the value perception to the end user, both driver and passengers.
Take Valeo. It is a major automotive supplier, with over 100,000 employees in 33 Countries, that has focussed its business on the “smartification” of cars, both by partnering with cars manufacturers and through aftermarket solutions. It labels itself as a “technology” company.
Most recently they have presented the Voyage XR, watch the clip, a VR based systems that using sensors in the car and a VR goggle can recreate the perception to a person at home (or in a office) to be actually a passenger on a car, and at the same time it gives the real passengers/driver of the car the sensation of having that person on board. By the way, they are delivering VR on the move using the existing 4G, they are not waiting, nor needing, 5G.
Whether your elderly mom will feel at ease in donning a bulky VR equipment and interact via wireless control pads is a different story.
There is also a side story to this. Some journalists seeing the demo of Voyage XR at CES 2019 pointed out how the system could be used by apprensive parents to stay (virtually) in the car with their new licensed driver son and watch his every move. I suspect this is something my son would not like at all…
What interested me most is to see how technology is opening new business opportunities to companies by enabling them to deliver products and services in areas that have been very closed garden. And, as I mentioned, it might well be that in 10 years time those will be the companies that will reap most revenues, with the other incumbent players confined to commodity markets.
Indeed, if you think about self driving cars, when all pleasure of driving will be removed and you will look at the car as you look today at a taxi (or a bus) the real difference (and value perception) will be provided by the adds on. Something similar to what happened to telecom incumbent that saw the value perception in communications shifting from their networks to the smartphones and from their services to someone else’s apps.