I’ve been fascinated with autonomous vehicles and their coming and their impact on everything. I wrote a post last May about aspects of this and linked to a number of articles that I had read and found interesting at that time.
My daughter and son-in-law recently purchased a Tesla and I’ve had the chance to ride in and drive their vehicle. Of course the main point for the vehicle is that is is electric and does not have a gasoline engine at all. I think most people think of the electric vs gasoline difference as the main point with the Tesla.
However, the most interesting point to me is the aggressive and smart progress towards autonomy. The car has sensors around it to detect obstacles, the road, people, other cars, etc. Tesla has posted a video of what the car is ‘seeing’ as it moves down the road and it is fascinating and worth taking a look if you’ve not seen it.
The Verge wrote about this video with comments here.
The question I have is why is Tesla (and Google and maybe Apple) leading out on these capabilities and not Ford, Toyota or BMW? These later companies have had these platform (vehicles) for years and Tesla is relatively new.
This doesn’t seem like an innovator’s dilemma case. Electric vs. gasoline might be an innovator’s dilemma case where the incumbents are clinging to their success with gasoline powered engines. Autonomous driving is independent of electric or gasoline. Gasoline powered cars could have the same capabilities or variations of it.
A gasoline powered traditional vehicle could have all these sensors onboard and could be making aggressive steps to autonomy. We could have already had these sensors on board warning us of obstacles and helping the driver be safer. What we have are some vehicles with automatic emergency braking and in some cases, heads up displays if a deer is on the road ahead. Not much else.
It seems more to me like Tesla can just see a different future and is aggressively heading in that direction. It is leadership and vision.
This is going to be an amazing ride.