If there are things that car brands do relatively poorly, it’s fronts. There are a number of new heroes in the world of cars. A clear example of this is that Elon Musk, like it or not, decided to build an electric car and join a club he didn’t want, the Auto Builders Club. Not only did the club have to accept him, the club changed, he was a stone in the swamp, and not the only factor, far from it, he has great responsibilities in what is today the car market. One of the most common criticisms of their Tesla models is that they are computers with cars around.
The problem now for most manufacturers is that they are trying to put more and more computers inside their cars after the reverse process for Tesla. And they do it very poorly, and truth be told, between the buttons, touch screens, voice commands, and a massive amount of sensors, traditional car manufacturers make a pretty mess. There were times when, with minor changes in the details, it was possible to sit in any car and immediately understand all its functions, from the steering wheel to the air conditioning controls.
Tesla is a perfect example of the confusion created, although it perfectly represents the new generation of vehicles, changing the cabin temperature without stopping the car is risky, this is the confusion of the menus on the big screen that manages all the functions of the device are customizable.
Worse, because the learning curve for each car takes longer with each new model. Each creator has their own menus or a set of menus and buttons, it’s confusing.
Recently, and especially after the last event for Apple programmers, it is clear which path it will be. Apple and Google are in an open war for control of our cars. With their experience with computers, cell phones, and many dedicated labs, they are in a better position to take care of our car screens than the manufacturers themselves. Rather than being an addition to the capabilities of the car, with the cell phone, they would control everything from the speedometer to seat adjustment, and everything we see on the screens would come from one of these companies.
Most assuredly, each brand, or group of brands, chooses to form partnerships and choose who will handle the user’s listings, or eventually the user will be able to choose the same vehicle with different versions of the listings. Want your car with Apple or Android? But it seems less likely. Perhaps this is the real deal Google and Apple are aiming for while we are distracted by prototypes (forgotten in the case of Google) or rumors of an Apple car that really looks like a legend as a rhinoceros.
In the midst of this war, the Chinese are proving once again that they are no longer just making copies and anticipating the future either. DJI, the world’s leading brand of drones, is leveraging its expertise to launch into the auto market as well. Again, not with a car of its own brand but with a suite of sensors and software geared towards autonomous cars of the future and mid-generations. They are parking systems and vehicle and road sensors capable of allowing complex maneuvers, they are the eyes, ears, radars and minds of the cars of the future.
Another area where many builders are relatively lost and someone with the knowledge is needed to take advantage of the confusion. DJI’s voice is raised to control this very important market. But the origins of Apple and Google are American, DJI is Chinese, and I’m not surprised that the US administration, as with Huawei, will want to decide that it’s hardware dangerous, the machines that will be the brain of self-driving cars are made in China.
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