If you take a look at past conceptualizations of what the future will look like, they almost always involve flying cars. Those obviously don’t exist, but that concept was an underlying theme about the importance of cars and transportation in decades to come. At our “Gearing Up: The Future Of The Car” tech panel last Monday (co-hosted with General Assembly and sponsored by Metromile), we brought together a group an extremely knowledgeable panelists from different backgrounds to discuss what path cars and technology will take in the future.
Moderator: Damon Lavrinc, Silicon Valley Correspondent, Jalopnik
Dan Preston, CEO, MetroMile
Danny Shapiro, Director of Marketing, NVIDIA
Ezra Goldman, Founder & CEO Upshift
Steven Rahman, Director of Technology & Research, Samsung Research America
We live in a time where technology moves at an increasingly rapid pace. Each year there’s a new iPhone with a smaller and faster microchip. Cars and the technology they employ seem to be an exception to that rule. The question of why cars don’t innovate as fast as our other tech gadgets was the first one to be tackled by our panel. Shapiro highlighted safety as a key factor. “The car is a life or death situation, which requires more engineering, testing, and work than other technologies.” The panelists agreed that the room for error is much smaller for cars and this translates to slower innovation and upgrading.
The panel’s primary focus was what the near future of driving will look like, analyzing what we’re likely to see by the year 2020 or 2025. Four experts were in accordance that data will play an even larger part in our experience. We’re very likely to see more sensors and even cameras installed in our vehicles that will be used to improve the safety and comfort of driving. Facial recognition could be used to replace keys and to alert the driver that his/her driving is unsafe.
Halfway through, Lavrinc decided he to address the “800-pound gorilla in the room” which is the subject of autonomous/self-driving cars. He asked the audience if they would like to see or own one, and the majority raised their hands.
As for it actually happening? The panelists threw cold water on that prospect and basically said don’t hold your breath. Figuring out the insurance and liability issue is something that will take years to solve. However, this is a goal that tech and automakers are diligently working on, as evidenced by the fact that every major car company has a presence in Silicon Valley.
One of the best questions from the audience touched on the issue of trust – specifically, how can a consumer trust new car technologies that will be responsible for the consumer’s life. Shapiro’s response was, “Once you have the sensors and computers rooting out errors and preventing accidents, you’ll see consumers much more comfortable with these technologies.”
Top image from Thinkstock