On Episode 101 of The Edge of Innovation, Paul Parisi & Dan Buckley are talking about the latest tech trends in the news today! They’re discussing vehicle technology & augmented reality!

Sections

Apps & Augmented Reality To Complement Our Driving Experience
Reward-Based Driving & Alexa Car
The Freedom of Having a Car
What Technology Should Car Manufacturers Invest In?
The Hybrid Era: Electric Cars
Companies Sharing Technology
Tesla and Secret Technology
More Episodes
Show Notes

Tech Trends in the News: Vehicle Technology & Augmented Reality

Apps & Augmented Reality To Complement Our Driving Experience

Dan: Hello! Welcome to the Edge of Innovation. My name is Dan Buckley and I’m here with Paul Parisi, and we’re going to discuss some tech trends in the news together today.
So welcome, Paul.

Paul: Thanks, Dan

Dan: Great to have you, as always.

I was looking at a curve or a graph of deaths per – I think it was a hundred million miles driving – and it seems to have gone down, which actually, to have steadily gone down over the past few decades, in some ways surprises me, with phones and people texting on roads and so forth.

Paul: That’s true. Good point.

Dan: And that’s interesting. The interaction of phones also, other sorts of apps, even augmented reality in the way in which that’s going to interact with driving. I think people think of it now they tend to think negatively that you’re distracted, you’re texting. However, you could also be using Waze. You could be finding smarter ways of beating traffic or to help you with your commute. So, I wonder what that might look like in the future as we go forward, what o sorts of apps or what sorts of even augmented reality we’re going to see kind of, complemented our driving experience.

Paul: Well, about fifteen years ago Cadillac introduced heads-up displays – might be twenty years now – but basically, they had a display mounted on your dashboard that reflected onto the window in front of you. I think they even had rare in it so that they could tell that there was something beyond your visual, so at night you’d be able to see beyond and it would alert you. I think it was well ahead of its time but I think those kinds of things are going to be really really cool and really beneficial.

The question is, does that heads-up display also give you, “Hey, you just got a text from your brother and do you want to read it now or it to be read to you?” And that’s going to be an interesting question. Do we allow that? Do the laws allow that? That’s going to be an interesting question. So, you know, there’s an accident coming up ahead, remain to the mission that you’re on of driving, but is the fact that you’ve just passed a McDonalds and it’s dinner time and you can stop there and get something. Or Dunkin Donuts is nearby.

Now, if you watch Waze, they do that when you’re stopped. Once you stop at a light they can say, “Hey, there’s a Dunkin Donuts down the street.” And so, they’re dealing through those issues. But I do think the integration of these things into heads-up displays would be a lot better than putting it to the right or to the left of the driver and then they have to look at it. And that’s why these voices in our face, you don’t need to look at a voice talking to you.

Reward-Based Driving & Alexa Car

Dan: That’s true. Yeah. I wonder about advertisers. They are already using Waze. I wonder if, when we have heads-up displays, sort of augmented reality, or augmented windshields, if you will. If advertisers would leverage that? Or to what extent they’ll be allowed to do that? Advertisers, as well as perhaps, services like Uber to be able to gamify driving or to be able to let people know to go in a certain direction.

Paul: Sure.

Dan: Or things that might be out there.

Paul: Yeah, rerouting and things like that. That’ll be interesting. I think one of the things that is fascinating that I’ve noticed is the –

Dan: The rewards-based systems?

Paul: Well, we need to be really careful with that. So, you know, Amazon has just come out with Alexa Car.

Dan: Oh, wow!

Paul: And so, now you can converse with your car. I was on the invite list and I forgot to do it so I lost it, so I’m waiting for the invite to see but that’s an interesting idea to be able to interface with a voice to do something. I don’t know what it’s going to do for me. I would hope it would be able to say, you know, play the radio show I want to play or play the music I want to play. That’s sort of a limited, minimum thing. I think you’re going to see as you see with Android Auto.

Dan: Watch a movie.

Paul: Yeah, watch a movie, exactly. Fast forward, rewind, or watch two movies. One for each eye.

Dan: Multitasking.

Paul: That’s right. But the thing is – we have Android Auto. We have, I don’t know what it’s called, iOS Auto, basically an iPhone for the car – Is they haven’t really integrated in, they have a touch panel, but they don’t have a heads-up display. So, I don’t know why that hasn’t happened yet.

Dan: Interesting. Yeah, the other idea I was thinking of is maybe – you have Uber already. Perhaps there could be other award-based or maybe something that that sensitizes you to move something from one place to another – or people – that says, “Oh, there are people over here. Or if you go that way you can give them a ride and maybe make some money. Yeah, I guess a rewards-based system. And in line with rewards, maybe also just rewards for good driving. I imagine, sometimes I see in Waze, it says, “Oh, there’s a policeman ahead.” I imagine that must not be popular among police forces necessarily, who are recording that.

Paul: It’s part of the game.

Dan: Yeah. It also lets you know, don’t use your phone while you’re driving and also, you’re going over the speed limit, excreta.

Paul: But it doesn’t tell you that. It just turns red to say that you’re going over the speed limit. It doesn’t say you should slow down, because I think people would say, “Who are you to tell me to slow down?”

Dan: To some people red, maybe that’s a positive combination.

Paul: There you go. Exactly.

Dan: They think they’re doing well.

Paul: They have a different and alternate view of reality.

The Freedom of Having a Car

Paul: One of the things I thought was interesting in Waze is that they have a carpool interface now where, basically, you can expose the fact that I’m a driver and I’m driving this way and then it can start to bring together the people that are traveling those similar routes because it knows all that stuff about you. So, that will be interesting to see what that works out to be.

Dan: It seems like there are more and more cars on the road, but there are also a lot of empty seats on the road with people that go the same ways. I tend to notice similar people on my commute and maybe they notice me. But yeah, it’s fascinating to think of that in terms of why does every individual person need his own giant chunk of metal with all these extra seats, all the time.

Paul: Well, that freedom seems to be germane to America. I mean, even before cars, you know, people had the freedom to take a horse and ride it out into the wilderness, out into the West, and homestead. That’s really hard to take out of the people. I think you almost need to break people to not want to do that. People enjoy their vehicles. They enjoy the freedom that comes with a vehicle. We have a big country and there’s lots of space between things and so a vehicle is very convenient for doing that.

Dan: Yeah.

What Technology Should Car Manufacturers Invest In?

Dan: So, in terms of other changes in transportation, if I’m a car company like Toyota or Suzuki or any other company, I’m thinking to myself, “What do I invest in?” Because there’s the autonomous stuff, there’s electrical, there’s a number of different options out there. I don’t know which direction to go in or which ones are actually happening, like there might be a lot of hearsay per say. And we see that happening to some extent, but what are the big players? What would you recommend the direction they could go in? Or how to tie these things together?

Paul: Well, I think that one of the things that was a bit of a surprise to me as I started to research this over the past couple of years, is that the efficiency of a gallon of gas is actually quite low. There’s a lot of power in a gallon of gasoline. But we don’t use it nearly as efficiently as we could. And so, the idea is that if we have electric vehicles, that we can produce electricity more efficiently that we can utilize the gasoline to produce horsepower. And there’s reasonable thought to say that, okay, we put together a generation system, an electrical generation system, whatever it might be, hydropower, whatever it might be. We’re going to be able to control that and generate electricity more efficiently than we can generate horsepower out of gasoline.

And also, all of the costs that go into gasoline and all the negative impacts of burning gasoline, and so those are generally real. I mean, I don’t like being an exhaust of anything. So, those aren’t the best things for us, but we’ve greatly improved it since the car was first invented. Most exhaust out of most cars is extremely clean so it’s not just that, but it’s the limited resources and how can we most efficiently generate that.

The Hybrid Era: Electric Cars

Paul: So, I think electric, you’ll see that more and more. We’re in a hybrid era right now. You have Tesla trying to be 100 percent electric and its very expensive so only early adopters can get it and it has that limit of limitation to your freedom. You can only drive four hundred miles or whatever the mileage is. So, those issues have to be dealt with and the efficiencies will be found and the ability to charge more quickly and things like that. But I think that, as we start to look at that, lighter materials means less power, all that kind of stuff, is going to add up, smaller vehicles.

And then also, in the big vehicles, a lot of our fuel is used by truckers and trucks are integral to everything that we consume. In order to have those efficiently getting us from point A to point B is critical, so I think you’re going to start to see partnerships with all of these companies that will be partnerships of ten or fifteen years and then they will sort themselves out and they will go off and produce them in the long run. If you look at the way Japan has worked through the 70s, 80s, and 90s, is you would find different companies partnering together to develop calculators for example. Casio and Sharp collaborated a lot on that and they actually seeded different parts of the market to each other. Those aren’t necessarily American ways of doing things.

Dan: Yeah, how do we stand up to that!

Companies Sharing Technology

Paul: Yeah, but I think you’re going to see some of that. And it’ll be interesting because as Tesla invents a lot of the future, are they going to license some of this stuff and make money that way – nobody’s saying they can’t make money – or are they going to keep it themselves? Everything that Tesla does is secret. There are no manuals for it. You can’t repair it yourself. All this kind of stuff, so it’s a very interesting way of doing things.

And there are other companies – and Apple’s the same way – But there are other companies that say, “Hey, we just invented a better way of doing this, let’s sell it to everybody. We’ll sell it to Apple. We’ll sell it to IBM. We’ll sell it to Lenova.” Whoever it is that wants to, they can pay a license fee and that’s how we make our money. And that hasn’t been the case over the past ten years. There has been patent infringements that force settlements between companies but most patents should result in a licensing agreement, not a “you cant make what you’re making.”

Dan: Yeah, it seems to me with innovations like this, if we’re going in the direction where it’s electrical or non-gasoline vehicles, it is going to take more than one company. It’s an infrastructural change to some extent. Because if I use my gas-based vehicle, it’s kind of easy for me. I know those people who are trained to work on my Honda vehicle. They know the parts. I go to a gas station – gas stations are everywhere. There’s a whole market for that skill set and so I wonder how long might take for people to become Tesla mechanics, to have the Tesla parts readily available or even to have other companies besides Tesla that will be part of that market and compete with Tesla even, based on having the license and being able to do similar sorts of things.

Tesla and Secret Technology

Paul: Well, as you said that, it became clear to me. It’s like that’s really interesting that Tesla would choose the closed route, as opposed to saying to all the car maintenance people out there – all the mechanics – learn how to service Tesla. Now they might be saying, “That’s crazy! We’ll get electrocuted!” But still, you’ve got to get them to that point and if you need to get your Tesla fixed, it almost needs to go back to the factory.

So that’s an interesting thing. Now, Apple just recently announced their service provider program, an authorized repair center program. They’ve been at odds with this at making all sorts of extreme statements like, “Oh, we don’t want a bad repair to endanger someone’s life on an iPhone,” and all this different stuff. And what they did was they forced all of the independent repair people out there to find alternate sourced parts. So, they would be getting a battery for your iPhone that was from “Joe’s Batteries” as opposed to from an Apple certified battery and so they’d put it in there and that would swell and break your iPhone and so Apple was saying, “See!” and the repair guys were saying, “Wait a minute! If you just let us buy Apple parts we could do that!” And Apple said, “Well, you’re not – they didn’t say this but I think what they meant here was you’re not smart enough to do that.” And it’s just not true.

Just recently they announced a new program which is going to allow independent repair people to get real parts, real schematics and all these different things. It took Apple ten, eleven years to figure that out with the iPhone and even the Mac and all the different products. Why is Tesla making the same mistake? Why wouldn’t they say, “Here’s how you fix it.” I just don’t understand that. That’s an interesting problem to say, “Oh, not only can you buy it from us but you have to have us fix it.” That’s not the business model they should be in.

Dan: Yeah.

Paul: They should be in the business of inventing really good cars and selling them and helping anybody who has one, make it work.

Dan: Yeah. Wow.

Well, this has been a fascinating conversation, Paul, and I appreciate it. We’ll have more information in our shownotes as well, with links to the articles we discussed.

Thank you for joining us, Paul.

Paul: Alright, thank you!

More Episodes:

This is Part 2 of 2 our Tech Trends Talk about autonomous vehicles. If you missed Part 1, you can listen to it here!

Show Notes:

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