January 9, 2022 - What if the auto industry’s best solution to the chip shortage was not simply making more chips? Suppose we instead got a handle on what might be called “feature bloat” - the tendency, fueled by sales competition, to slather new cars with as much technology as possible?
The bad news for consumers: the feature bloat is unavoidable and getting worse. Given the chip shortage, tech expectations are not likely to be met.
“It’s more feature bloat than software bloat,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal research analyst for e-mobility at Guidehouse Insights. “The software is only there to make all the features work, and do we really need 30-way power adjustable seats with five massage-pattern options? Or sequential taillights, multi-zone automatic climate control and audio systems with concert hall and studio settings? The insatiable desire to one-up the competition is what’s driving this.”
January 8, 2022 - For years, automakers have told a specific story about how self-driving cars would arrive in the world. They would be shared and electric, fleets of ride-hail vehicles shuttling passengers like fancy taxis.
Now, almost a decade into the self-driving experiment, the future looks more complicated. Progress on AVs has slowed and that has the companies looking for other ways to make money off self-driving tech.
“The easiest way to actually make money from autonomy is to offer it as a feature for the consumer market,” says Mike Ramsey, an automotive analyst with Gartner.
Meanwhile, cameras and sensors like lidar have gotten cheaper. The result: Some players are shifting, subtly, to a new business strategy—selling automated features directly to consumers.
By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor
Fleet Management Weekly had the opportunity to conduct interviews with Avninder Buttar, Vice President, Strategy at Element Fleet Management; Hannah Young, Director, Global Fleet Strategy at WEX; and Rich Mohr, Vice President, Fleet Solutions at ChargePoint - to hear their thoughts on the companies’ recently announced collaboration intended to enhance the transition to electric vehicles for fleets.
Buttar estimates that while EVs are only 1% of the total number of commercial fleet vehicles in operation today, by 2026, EVs might account for as much as 50% of light vehicle sales. This dramatic change will, in turn, create a range of issues for fleet managers.
These include access to public charging stations, as well as liquid stations for mixed fleets; evaluating plans for charging at customers locations, and creating analytics to measure performance, cost, and other metrics.
By Paul Atchley, PhD, eDriving’s Brain Science Advisor
Firstly, in a bit of good news for the coming year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has indicated that it will examine why Tesla drivers can play video games on their cars’ center consoles while driving!!
As drivers (and the public) discovered after a recent car software update, they can now initiate playing an arcade-style shooter, solitaire or a strategy game on their car’s center display while driving their Tesla, provided they indicate they are the passenger. If that sounds distracting, it’s because IT IS – even if it is truly the passenger tap-tapping on a display that is intended to help the driver drive safely. I’m pleased that the federal safety folks are looking into it!!
From research conducted in my lab at the University of Florida we know that drivers are more willing to rate a technology as “safe”, and to use it while driving, if it is built into the car. Drivers appear to assume that car design is highly regulated and tested for safety.
NewALD will be led by ALD’s Tim Albertsen as CEO
The transaction is expected to close at the end of 2022 and will create a combined firm, dubbed ‘NewALD’, that will be a leading global player in mobility worldwide and will “embrace the mobility sector’s global growth megatrends”.
The combined business will be led by ALD CEO Tim Albertsen and will be key in moving the auto sector from ownership to usership models and zero-emission vehicles, according to the firms. It will also continue to accelerate towards data-driven digital transformation of the mobility industry.