Sunday, March 7, 2010

iPhone on wheels?

High tech community and silicon valley have often derided the car industry as archaic and slow in adopting technology. Remember the famous quote (perhaps incorrectly attributed to Bill Gates) that "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that get 1,000 to the gallon"?

Calling automotive manufatureres "conservative" when it comes to new technology is not totally without justification. However, recent events around the massive Toyota recalls may just remind us that there's more that rides on cars than just another electronic device. If my iPhone or netbook malfunctions, it surely is an inconvenience. But when the electronics in my car malfunctions, fatality may very well be part of the equation, as demonstarted by several cases of 'runaway' Toyotas. And several other car manufacturers have had their own share of hard consequences of breach of reliability. And so history has taught the industry to be more careful and conservative.

So when my high tech friends fret and wonder why the car can not just become an iPhone on wheels, we may just ask ourselves if the media will be as forgiving if the iPhone on wheels suddenly malfunctions.

Of course, that's not and should not be an excuse to decelerate the integration of our digital lives in to cars. But that just highlights the challenge faced by car industry.

No comments:

Post a Comment