While in Trollhättan the development slides into the unknown, another Swedish manufacturer is testing the future. We remain true to the topic Apple iCar, look in the continuation of the article from Wednesday to Gothenburg.
Volvo gave a press conference on autonomous driving a few weeks ago. Exciting, and of course I joined. Autonomous driving is a big topic, at first glance it is impressive what the Swedes have put on the wheels. At second glance, the euphoria is relativized.
The situation: the systems work on the city ring in Gothenburg. The road is multi-lane, the oncoming traffic separated by a Mittelleitplanke- so it likes colleague computer in the Volvo. Without separation, without multiple lanes, autonomous driving does not (yet) work. Also in snow, in poor visibility. If the sensors can no longer detect the lane markings, the system switches off. Man has to take over.
Navigation through tight inner cities is (still) not possible at Gothenburg. Bad situations that suddenly appear must be learned yet ... says Volvo. That's supposed to happen to 2017 - to be where the software industry is today.
Google is already sending its vehicles through Californian inner cities - and it works. Why?
Because Google and Apple have resources and server capacity that you can only dream of in Gothenburg and elsewhere. The advantage in the field of infrastructure, the experience in the operation of data centers is hard to catch up.
The exciting question: where will Google and Apple stand with their dynamic development and almost unlimited resources 2017? Where the vehicle industry 1.0?
Who actually builds the iCar?
That Apple could treat itself to its own production, is unlikely. You will build, as with the other products, where you understand something of it.
Two rumors are circulating. A Bavarian radio broadcaster said BMW could build the iCar and it could be based on an evolution of the i3. Another source, taken up by Swedish media, sees Volvo as a partner. The unused capacity in China could thus be better utilized.
The likelihood that Apple trusts BMW is higher than the possibility that Volvo will partner with the Californians. BMW has already proven its expertise in new materials and alternative drives with the i3 and i8.
There would be another alternative. An empty factory in Trollhätten, a company that would like to be a contract manufacturer.
Chances for the design
A computer is a box, is a box. No more. Therefore difficult to design. Apple Lisa and Macintosh set standards, the Power Macs as well. 2001 showed Apple the powerbook G4 ... the first Mac notebook with a metal case. A principle that has remained true to this day. My powerbooks have a hard life, accompany me everywhere. When I check them out, they have seen many miles in planes, cars, trains and quite a few countries. They usually go to a new owner who continues to use them.
Apple delivers good design as well as high functionality. If Apple builds a car, you should expect high expectations. The iCar will not be a playful, driving egg like Google. But a valuable, functional multitool. A technically undercooled product, a Saab 9000 transformed into the present.
Just as Cupertino 2001 dared to leap from plastic to metal, so could new materials characterize the interior. There are many ideas, as well as templates. Fisker used ecologically harmless materials. Open-pore deadwood, natural leather. On request, the interior (vegan!) Was free of material of animal origin configurable. A south German manufacturer copied some Fisker ideas for his electric car and was praised by the media for so much creativity.
Tesla took a 19 "screen, set it upright. Naughty and at the same time simple idea; nobody has dared to do that before. Saab worked on the 9-4x Concept and Aero X with interior glass elements. Part of so much outrageous coolness had almost flowed into the series, but failed because of the circumstances. From Apple, the undercooled technology brand, something similar is expected.
Once the iCar has arrived in reality, it will change life in the metropolitan areas. Driving will not be as it was. The last refuge is conquered, man always and everywhere reachable. The interaction can no longer escape, companies will love the rolling consumer.
At the same time, driving is dramatically safer. Vehicles communicate with each other, warn each other, accidents fall drastically. Traffic jams can be avoided, traffic flows can be steered intelligently. A gigantic infrastructure in the background will keep vehicles and flood of data going, with all the risks and dependencies.
And there are new opportunities. For people who are limited in their mobility, open up new opportunities to preserve their autonomy.
At the same time, there are many unanswered questions: who will reliably service the rolling computer? Who enter the updates and patches? Who will make sure that the iCar and passengers are not hacked? If you own an iPhone, you have some idea of what attention an iCar might require.
Whether the journey into the future like, whether you pay the price, everyone will have to decide for themselves.
One thing is foreseeable: a countermovement will establish itself. There will always be people who see driving as a pleasure, as a hobby, or as a haven of human autonomy.
Rebels do not want a car sharing 2.0, not a rolling computer. No patronage, no exaggerated care. They do not want to see the car as a disposable product just because the latest OSX does not run on the old platform.
These annoying individualists will be looking for the old, analog cars. The somewhere in the countryside, far from the metropolises, have survived by collectors and Consumption objectors. They will love an old Saab, they will want to take the wheel in their own hands. The consequence:
Ren Gladje! Analog driving, controlled by a human being ...