How Can Cars Keep Up With Gadget Innovation?
Jim covers some of the barriers to innovation that must be overcome as cars merge into the Internet of Thingss (IoT.)
When we spoke with him in February, Buczkowski explained the challenge that Ford and others face: car manufacturers’ longer development cycles (compared to Silicon Valley) are driven by the need to sufficiently harden the technology to cope with the demands expected of vehicles. “A phone is typically in your pocket, so there’s less concern about extremes of temperature,” Buczkowski said. “Sitting in Detroit, the temperature hasn’t been above freezing for almost two months, and there have been many nights where it’s subzero for many nights in a row, and cars have to sit out there with the snow and salt. Likewise, in the summer, the cars will sit out there and reach very high temperatures even when static and not running, and whether you turn the key in the middle of summer or winter, the vehicle has to run, has to deliver what it’s supposed to deliver, which is very different to consumer electronics.”
Coupled with those issues are different expectations from the consumer. Cars are the most expensive purchase most of us will make, aside from buying a house. If someone is replacing a phone every couple of years, a cracked screen may just mean replacing it a little sooner. But we’re keeping our cars for longer than ever (now roughly ten years), so the design and validation requirements have to take that into account.