Q&A Futurist and busness strategist Peter Schwartz

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Q&A Futurist and busness strategist Peter SchwartzFuturist and business strategist Peter Schwartz has worked with companies around the world as they plan for the future. Schwartz, who will be the Connected Car Expo's keynote speaker, previewed his remarks and his vision of the future of driving in a discussion with Automotive News.Q: You have expertise in scenario planning. Is there any one scenario for the development and future of the connected car?A: There are several plausible scenarios affected by different things. Technological uncertainties -- how technology develops in terms of what particular capabilities we have available on board the car and the environment around the car -- that's No. 1.There also are customer uncertainties: What do people want? This is new terrain and consumer preferences are not predictable, so that's the second big uncertainty. Regulation is another uncertainty. The automobile is a regulated device, and especially in this arena, safety will be important.So undoubtedly regulations will have significant impact on the shape that this will take.For more information: https://steemit.com/best/@kevinsteffey/hot-the-best-car-speakers-how-to-choose-best-rated-car-speakersQ: What's the best big-picture perspective on what is plausible at this point and how does the connected car deliver on some of those things? Is it faster, cheaper, safer, more fun, more energy-efficient?WX3QF0K.jpgA: Yes. In some ways and in some balance, it will be all of those things.At the simplest and highest level, there is information that is useful to you as a driver and that we already have that is beginning to happen with the current generation of connected cars: GPS and on-board warning systems. But beyond that, the future gets more interesting.For example, we will have a variety of safety-related technologies that we basically control within the car but are connected with vehicles around it, raising the level of safety knowledge and awareness within the vehicle.In each of these areas, little bits of intelligence are being applied to tasks. Some of that intelligence will be on board, some coming from the network. But the net result is making every task a little smarter, making the driver more capable and the car more capable.Q: But does it take some of the fun away from driving? Does everyone want a car that drives itself?A: That's an interesting question and I think it's a really profound one. I'm a car guy. I drive a bright, unapologetic yellow BMW Z4. I love driving. But I think the automobile, for a lot of younger people, doesn't hold the glamour that it did for me and my peers.If you look out just 50 years, it is not implausible that most cars will be self-driving. We will look back at driving the way people look back at horses today. Are there still people going out to ride horses? Yes, there are people going out to ride horses and they enjoy it, but we don't use horses as transportation.Q: So there could be, perhaps, a dichotomy between cars that are developed for everyday use-commuting and a whole separate kind of car and separate place to drive just for fun?A: I think for a long time we're going to be sorting out the different functions of driving: the transportation aspect vs. the fun driving where there is a kind of independence and control.There are a variety of functions that the vehicle carries out in that respect, psychologically and emotionally, as well as physically. And there will still be a large number of people in much of the world that will still be behind the wheel controlling their vehicles.But there will be many circumstances, such as driving down the freeway getting to San Francisco or moving down the 405 in Los Angeles -- where it isn't as much fun driving -- that you can easily imagine the vehicle has multiple functions.When I'm commuting into the city, I put it in commute mode and read a paper, but when I want fun, I put it in a different mode -- say when I'm driving Highway 1 up the coast.Related article: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvdX_9IyZ_sQ: What happens when your car is smarter than you and they're all talking to each other?A: A world of much smarter highly connected cars is just around the corner. Little bits of intelligence applied everywhere and rich information are transforming the driving experience.Q: How will some of the pressing demographic, population and climate change issues that we see around the world affect the demand for smarter transportation?A: I think it's a big deal. First of all climate change, that's easy in the sense that technology can take us far down that road and reduce radical hydrocarbon use. But I think the real challenge is things like traffic.That isn't simply a matter of a cleaner and better car. That's a combination of infrastructure and driving practices.But here the connected car can help us enormously and I think that's one of the places it will break through.It will help both in providing information in routing and traffic and that stuff that we already are beginning to do, and also self-driving -- that is, I can easily imagine going out driving in many places where what you end up doing is going on the freeway, connecting to the freeway, as it were, to the infrastructure and it controls your speed, manages traffic flow, brings vehicles together and gets more cars on the road, frees up drivers to do other things, in situations that would otherwise be not fun driving.L1dF10S.jpgQ: What excites you the most from all the bits of technology that are happening out there?A: When you look at the fact that most accidents and most problems are caused by drivers making mistakes of one sort or another, due to alcohol or bad judgment or tiredness or lack of experience, I think the car can get smart and really help drivers avoid mistakes that hurt them and other people -- with different tools like night vision on the windshield.The thing that excites me the most is making the car a real aid to the driver by making it much safer and much more benign in terms of consequences.Q: One of the big issues for discussion at the Connected Car Expo is security.A: The issue of connected security will become important because as the vehicle is connected to networks, the network will become accessible to bad guys in one way or another.There will be a whole new level of security capabilities that will need to be applied to mobile devices of this sort. It won't be radically different from what already is happening with security on mobile devices like iPads and iPhones, but the goal is somewhat different.What a bad guy might do with screwing up your car is more serious than getting credit card information from your iPhone. Now the challenge isn't going to get easier. It's going to persistently be there. It's going to mean constantly having to develop new technologies as new threats emerge.So one thing that will happen in your vehicle, from time to time, is you will get a security update.And new devices will be added to provide security. For example, it's not at all implausible that we will have voice recognition to activate the car, right?See also: 2 way, 3 way, 4 way cars speakersQ: How do you think driving will be different for us in 20 years?A: It is likely that an electric motor will turn the wheels. That's No. 1. Second, the information environment in the vehicle will be very rich.With voice systems, anything that is informationally available, whether news reports or stories or novels or whatever, can all appear by voice or visually in your environment. Safety services will be thoroughly embedded and radically reduce accidents, both small ones and big ones. Accidents will be rare. That will also have a big effect on traffic, as we know that those little accidents on the road, and breakdowns of vehicles, have large consequences where traffic is heavy. So traffic will flow far more smoothly, with fewer traffic jams and less delays. Cars will be more efficient and they will be tunable.There will be times I want a sports car and my car will be a sports car -- and there will be times when I am taking kids to practice and I want a soccer mom car, so the vehicle itself will attune to my current activities and know the context of what I'm doing and adapt accordingly. My car will be intimately connected to my personal hub -- the thing we call the smartphone today.Q: Will everyone be able to afford all this?A: That's a bigger economic question. Are we going to continue raising people's incomes? Will growth be sufficient, particularly in the lower income brackets? If the answer is yes, it will be affordable and if the answer to that question is no, then it will be increasingly marginal.I'm a relative economic optimist. I think we go through economic cycles up and down, and new technologies coming along will enable a new generation to climb out of poverty.In places like China and India and Brazil, you will see huge increases in wealth and huge increases of car ownership along with it, so I think the answer is, yes, in many places, but not always.Copyright 2014 Crain Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.Julie Liesse

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