The volume of global information is now doubling every two years

Home > Archives

Auto & Transportation

<

There can’t be a more exciting industry in the world today than what is happening with the marriage of automotive/transport technology to Silicon Valley -- Jim Carroll

Arrow
Arrow
ArrowArrow
Slider


While leaving Heathrow airport yesterday after a keynote, I was contacted by The Street for my thoughts on an initiative by Uber to build a flying car.

Crazy science fiction? Maybe not. After all, simply scale up today’s drones, add a human to them, and you’ve got a flying car!

You’ll find my comments below. A key point – tech companies in every industry innovate faster than legacy companies. That’s a big challenge, and the biggest issue for every industry as disruption continues.

Uber Fighting to Stay Ahead in Flying Car Initiative
Uber shows how tech companies are continuing to innovate sectors at a faster rate than traditional industries, futurist Jim Carroll told TheStreet.

Uber has hired 30-year NASA veteran engineer Mark Moore to help its Elevate division design flying cars that will take off and land vertically so it can easily transport commuters in crowded urban areas, Bloomberg reported on Monday. His official title will be director of engineering for aviation.

The company first outlined its vision for the futuristic service in a 97-page white paper in October and claimed it could launch as early as 2026. In its vision of the future, air taxis will transport commuters between aircraft hubs known as “vertiports,” which would be located between 50 miles and 100 miles of each other.

“Just as skyscrapers allowed cities to use limited land more efficiently, urban air transportation will use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate transportation congestion on the ground,” the company wrote.

Moore makes sense for the project, considering he wrote a white paper in 2010 on VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) cars to be used for daily commuting. His paper impressed Alphabet co-founder Larry Page so much that he helped launch flying car startups Zee.Aero and Kitty Hawk to bring Moore’s vision to life, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

When most people hear about flying vehicles, they think of the futuristic show “The Jetsons” that ran from 1962 to 1963 as a picture of what the world would look like in 2062. Of course, it included flying cars.

Noted futurist Jim Carroll told TheStreet that a lot of the inventions featured in that show are “becoming real sooner.” Both the Apple smartwatch and video and picture sharing app Snapchat could be compared to similar items featured in the TV program. “Trends are accelerating and the future is coming at us faster,” Carroll explained.

This acceleration is partly due to the rise of tech companies in traditional sectors, he said. Electric car company Tesla is innovating cars at a faster rate than a traditional car company like Mercedes-Benz. Apple Pay and PayPal are innovating the payment space at a quicker pace than Visa (V) . “The tech companies are now the ones dictating,” Carroll explained.

Another example of how quickly new technology is being developed are drones, or unmanned flying aircrafts, which have already gone mainstream, he pointed out. “Scale up and stick a human in there,” he said jokingly.

 

Here’s my favourite quote from 2016.

It comes from Tesla Motors, and hence, Elon Musk, in a SEC filing on August 5th, having to do with the Tesla Model 3.

A car that does not yet exist, but which 400, 000 people bought into the idea of (I was one of them!)

We have no experience to date in manufacturing vehicles at the high volumes that we anticipate for Model 3, and to be successful, we will need to develop efficient, automated, low-cost manufacturing capabilities, processes, and supply chains necessary to support such volumes.”

An absolutely fascinating statement if you think about it.

Essentially, we’ve never done this before, but we are going to certainly try!

2017 will be about seeing if Tesla can pull off this bold move. Whatever the case may be, that type of thinking should be oxygen to the ears of anyone focused on disruption and innovation!

I spoke about this on stage for a manufacturing conference in front of a few thousand people in May of this year. Disruption was, perhaps, THE word of 2016. I still find a lot of people don’t really understand what it means, but this video clip puts it into perspective.

While I find myself doing keynotes in Las Vegas, Orlando and Phoenix for audiences of up to 7,000, I also regularly do a whole series of small, CEO or Board meetings that are focused on future trends, strategies and opportunities.

I’m thouroughly enjoying myself while preparing for an upcoming 2017 event in this space; I’ve been retained by an organization that is having an offsite with its leadership team and Board that will be impacted by trends in the automative industry. I’ve had several preparatory calls with the Chairman — he obviously gets the opportunities and challenges of disruption. These include what I call introductory ‘should-we-dance’ calls (‘should we book this guy?’), as well as planing calls now that the event is confirmed.

For a recent conference call, I’ve prepared an outline of my approach. You might find it a good overview if you are looking for a session that would involve similar insight for your senior leadership/Board team!

You can access the Pdf 

This January, I’ll keynote the American Financial Services Association 21st annual Vehicle Finance Conference & Expo in New Orleans.

afsa

The event draws some heavy hitters who will share their insight into what comes next, including the CIO for Toyota Financial Services, the President & CEO of TD Auto Finance U.S., the Executive Vice President for Ford Motor Credit Company, among others.

I’ll take a deep look at what is happening with the automotive world in the future — the reality and evolution of self-driving, autonomous vehicle technology, intelligent and smart highway infrastructure, the evolution to prognostic, self-diagnosing vehicles, the sharing economy and new business models, the acceleration of connectivity and innovation in the automotive sector, and the implications of all this on the future of automotive lending!

It should be fun!

This is one of many keynotes I’ve done in and around this sector. It involves a lot of deep research on the latest trends and initiatives, as well as comprehensive discussions with the client and industry insiders.

So … I regularly get approached to speak at a lot of corporate leadership meetings …. and have done so for organizations like Johnson & Johnson, The GAP, Dupont, BASF, Siemens, Lockheed Martin. I frame for them the issue that the future is arriving faster than they think, and offer concise guidance on key trends that they need to align themselves to…..

To help emphasize the issue of the era of acceleration I’ve been using the story of the Jetson’s over the last 5 years while on stage. Remember it? It’s that cartoon show from 1962, purporting to show what the world will look like in 2062. Remember George Jetson? Remember the fact that there were autonomous vehicles, robot assistants, drones, and Skype and FaceTime seemed to be everywhere?

Now consider this! About a month ago, I was approached by Arconic to headline a leadership meeting for them in Phoenix; this is a newly spun-off entity from Alcoa that is focused on advanced technologies. I’ll be the opening kickoff – outlining and reaffirming the trends that will provide massive opportunity in the future.

Great minds think alike! They think the world of the Jetson’s is going to arrive here soon too — and are planning to play a major role in helping to make it happen. So much so, that they engaged Hollywood filmmaker Justin Lin of Star Trek Beyond fame, to do  a live-action re-imagination of the world of “The Jetsons!

 

Give it a watch!

Check their tagline: “Arconic: A Company Where the Future Takes Shape.” And my talk for them? I’m thinking this: “A keynote with the motivation that can help to make it happen!”

Do you need to accelerate your team into the future? Do it now, and read my keynote topic, The Jetson’s Have Arrived Fifty Years Early: What Are You Going to Do About It?

This is all just too much fun — just yesterday, while in Washington, I had some time to kill before a meeting, so I visited the Smithsonian Institution. What did I find, but a Jetsons lunchbox!

jetsonslunchbox

I so want this item….

Learn more about the making of the video

Here I am on stage in front of 2,000 in Chicago on the Jetsons!

Is your community positioned for success in the era of autonomous vehicle technology? Are you thinking about this from an economic development perspective?

intelligenthighway

“Towns withered and died on whether they were on the mainline of a railroad – Do you want to be a community that wants to be on the forefront of this shared technology…or are you going to sit back and wait? It’s going to be a big economic driver.” – Futurist Jim Carroll

It’s a valid question, and one that I’ve been addressing for a number of years. I covered this issue in a keynote for 2,000 mayors and elected officials when I was the opening keynote the Texas Municipal League, as well as the Colorado Department of Transportation Summit. There have been many other similar situations. But I think that perhaps now, the opportunities that come from community that supports advanced, intelligent and hyperconnected transportation infrastructure is only just beginning to hit the radar of those responsible for economic development.

At least, because I’m finding an increasing number of people reaching out to me to talk about the issue. For example, BisNow recently ran an article, The Future Intersection of Driverless Cars and CRE (Commercial Real Estate); read it here.

Jim Carroll, a noted futurist who has spoken to a number of automotive companies as well as such organizations as NASA and the PGA, says autonomous vehicles will have the same economic impact railways did in the 19th century and highways did in the 20th century. And those cities that quickly adopt and build “intelligent infrastructure” to accommodate driverless technology will be the ones to thrive in this new world. “Towns withered and died on whether they were on the mainline of a railroad,” Jim says. “The same went for highways: Cities that were connected directly by major interstates thrived. And now cities are facing a similar paradigm shift, “and really that becomes an economic decision,” Jim continues. “Do we want to be a community that wants to be on the forefront of this shared technology…or are we going to sit back and wait? It’s going to be a big economic driver.”

And Ian Frisch (who sometimes writes for : The New Yorker, WIRED, Bloomberg and Playboy), notes in his article, So, Do Self-Driving Cars Mean We’ll Work During Our Commutes? – read it here.

We will see situations where some cities will want to be at the forefront of this trend and encourage the infrastructure needed to support self-driving cars,” says Jim Carroll, a futurist, trends, and innovation expert. “That will have bigger implications because companies will want to relocate to where this technology is emerging first.”

If your company does relocate, and your commute gets bumped up a few hours, being able to work while your car drives you to the office would dramatically increase efficiency.

Right now, there are buses in the Bay Area with wi-fi,” Carroll says. “If you have a three-hour commute to San Jose, you’re fully equipped to jump in on a meeting on that bus. This will be a more personalized extension of that trend. People are already shifting how they work, but autonomous vehicles will push them to shift work in new and different ways. But, before that’s a reality, we will see organizations investing in communities that are open to the intelligent infrastructure that encourages things like auto vehicles. That’s the key to all of this.

I’ve covered this issue in numerous keynotes: here’s a clip from my Texas Municipal League keynote:

The key issues are this:

  • self driving cars, tractors and trucks – there’s a lot going on, but it’s not going to happen all at once
  • this new era isn’t just about the vehicle — it’s about the infrastructure that surrounds and supports them
  • in other words, there is a lot going on with intelligent highway infrastructure ….
  • there are going to be different levels of intelligence when it comes to the roads and highways that support such vehicles
  • communities will discover that they have an opportunity to get in front of others if they support advanced intelligent highway and road infrastructure
  • some will upgrade existing transportation corridors that accelerate the adoption and use of intelligent autonomous vehicles
  • others will put in place entirely new transportation corridors – self-driving dedicated roads
  • an increasing number of companies will begin to make relocation decisions to those communities who have advanced intelligent transportation plans in place

If you are involved at a political or economic delveopment level, the big issue for you is : where do you want to position your community?

Or will you go the way of communities that died when railroads and the interstate highway system came along?

Volvo / Mac Trucks has now had me in twice to keynote major leadership meetings. These talks have focused on the future of transportation/trucking/automotive sector.

My message is resonating — I was just booked by Honda USA….!

Here’s a clip from one of the sessions: I’m speaking about accelerating change in the industry, and getting the audience to think about how quickly today’s in vehicle dashboard experience might quickly become something from the ‘olden days.’ This was a dinner talk, so there was a lot of humor that had to be thrown out there.

You can hear the crowd react.

 

Back in 2003, or maybe it was 2005 …. I was invited by DaimlerChrysler — then the merged entity of Chrysler and Mercedes Benz, a merger which would eventually fail — to participate in a strategic planning session that would look at the future of the auto industry.

And so I travelled to Mercedes HQ in Stuttgart, Germany for a two day session. I came away with the feeling that this was an industry that just didn’t “get it.” I still don’t think they do.

The goal of the meeting was to define what the industry would look like in 2013 … 10 years on. I was the outsider, the futurist, with the job of challenging their notions as to how the future might unfold. It was a small, intimate meeting — 20 very serious auto engineers and marketing types, and me.

At that meeting, I predicted, with some uncanny accuracy, today’s Tesla Model 3 announcement.

At that meeting, I suggested that Google might become a car company. Of course, at the time, these auto engineers laughed at me. What a foolish futurist! The thing is — I had my story right in 2003. I just thought it would be Google, and never thought it would be a new company like Tesla.

Think about what is unfolding today: Google, Tesla, Apple — what’s the difference? — my point back in 2003 was that in the future, Silicon Valley would come to define the pace of innovation, structure, manufacturing, and indeed, the concept of how to bring a car to market.

If you watch a few videos — here’s an event in 2006 for an audience of 3,000 engineers in Florida, in which I spoke about my 2003 experience:

Here is a longer clip, in which I predict the structure of the auto industry that is unfolding before us today:

What is today all about? It’s another sign that the auto industry as we know it is dead. Gone. In the dustbin of history. Everything is changing at a furious pace.

In 2003, I nailed the idea that people would buy a car a year in advance as a beta! So far today, it looks like we have 150,000 orders worldwide as an estimate. People lined up for a car that they are willing to buy only based on a promise of being at the leading edge. A company that has a business model that involves “building to customer demand” as opposed to “building to inventory.” Massive transformation of an industry bound up in 120 years of tradition (give or take a few years…..). And a tweet from @elonmusk that suggests they haven’t nailed the design of the car yet, but will make it up as they go. In other words — it’s a beta!

Every industry is faced with similar transformation and challenge. The future belongs to those who are fast, who are prepared to think big and bold, and are ready to challenge existing norms.

Insurance, banking, finance, travel, healthcare. Folks, what’s your GoogleCar? Do you not get that we live in transformative times, in which the foundation of every industry is being subjected to massive change? Who is redefining your industry? Are you prepared to get aggressively involved, or will you just watch it happen? Are you going to be Tesla’d by someone who is redefining your industry today, yet you laugh at the concept?

I welcome today’s announcement! It’s about time that #tesla and #model3 catch up with what I predicated some 13 years ago.

But if you watch the second video — I only have one question: @elonmusk, will it ship with the “Tesla Car Party in a Box?”

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by  The Big Issue, a UK publication that is mostly sold by the homeless and long-term unemployed.

As noted on their Web site, “Since The Big Issue was launched in 1991 we have helped thousands of vulnerable people take control of their lives. We currently work with around 2000 individuals across the UK offering them the opportunity to earn a legitimate income; to ‘help them to help themselves’. We currently circulates around 100,000 copies every week.”

There’s a really good audio program — “The Energy Transition Show” — which will help you explore the ideas below in greater depth!

solar-1


Futurist Jim Carroll says renewable energy will soon allow people to beat the Big Six by creating microgrids with their neighbours.

Renewable energy projects have taken a beating in recent years – there was a lot of misspending in the early days, and production costs were too high. But we are getting much more intelligent about renewable energy and making it really efficient. I think we’re approaching a time that the cost of developing new, exciting alternative energy sources is going to rapidly decrease.

The individual is capable of playing a much bigger role here. Whether it’s wind generation, solar cells or bio-composting, the internet is allowing people to raise funds, share ideas and invent new energy technologies faster than ever before.

Traditional energy is all one-way: a big power plant that sends out energy to everyone on the grid. But the possibilities of creating a two-way system, where we can accept inputs from a large number of small-scale energy generators, is an incredibly exciting prospect.

The time is coming when more and more people will find they are capable of getting off the traditional grid. Or maybe connecting to the grid on only a part-time basis.

If you can connect a smart home energy thermostat with some solar, wind or biomass energy in your garden, you’re really not far off generating your own power. Soon people will be able to create local microgrids with their neighbours.

The big companies will have to become more flexible to adjust. Big data will enable the power sector to add far more intelligence to the grid, and make it a truly two-way, interactive system.

We’ve shared music – why can’t we share energy? The music industry thought it would be selling CDs forever but the model changed when people started sharing.

Long term, I’m optimistic we’ll be able to move away from carbon. We’re at a key inflection point. Right now, we’re roughly 90 per cent carbon, 10 per cent renewables. But I can imagine being at 50-50 in my lifetime. The next generation will look at renewables and say: “Wow – this just makes sense.”

Jim Carroll was talking to Adam Forrest

(Yes, it’s safe for work!”)

From a recent keynote for Volvo / Mack Trucks North America leadership meeting.

A dinner talk, so you have to build some tremendous fun into it. I had the crowd in stitches! But the clip makes a point — autonomous technology is coming quickly, but we’ll go through the Gartner Hypecycle before we get there….

So here we go: why is autonomous vehicle technology a lot like teenage sex?

  • no one is sure what it is, but they hear that its great
  • everyone thinks that everyone else is doing it
  • those who say they are doing it are probably lying
  • the few who are doing it aren’t doing it very well
  • everyone hopes it will be great when they finally do it
  • once they start doing it, they’ll discover that it is going to take a
  • while to figure out how to get really good at it
  • and they’ll realize that they’ll have to try to discover a whole bunch of new methods of doing it to really figure it all out