One of the most intriguing tidbits from the future I’ve seen recently was this story from The Verge Apple virtual augmented reality patent self driving cars outlining Apple’s thinking about what the transportation experience of the future will be like in a world of autonomous cars.
In short, think a La-Z-Boy resting on Bridgestone tires wrapped in an Oculus Rift ... but without the clunky, and far from chic, nerd alert googles.
In the Apple car (in time presumably simply known as a Tesla) the windows of the car, made of further toughened Gorilla Glass, act as either regular windows or screens on which images can be rendered. Perhaps you want to watch the glory of the countryside flash by, or enjoy the sights of the city. Chose Regular setting. Perhaps you want to watch last night’s game. Chose Screen setting. Or, maybe you want to make like you’re on the deck of the Millennium Falcon. Chose Virtual setting. Augmenting the reality of everything
This notion of windows becoming windows to new possibilities is one I’ve noodled on before; here in the driving experience When noah turns 51 and here as the walls of our homes become giant screens Casa apple.
Now these fever dreams look like they’re moving past the point of visions and are on a trajectory to become real.
When our eyes and our attention are no longer needed to drive a car the physical space in which we sit and the physical material that creates that space can be entirely re-imagined. Window screens, which represent over 50% of the interior of a typical car currently, are a blank canvas on which imaginations will run riot in a world of hands-free-transportation.
Cars of the future will most likely become entertainment venues. Of course the driven (of the ambitious variety) will use the time and space to work. Others will regard the morning commute as the “third sleep” magazine. But most people will go full Wall-E Plot summary and binge away ‘til the office is in view.
Already the big car companies are releasing images of prototypes of these interior spaces Here’s the first exclusive image Of GM’s driverless car and it is not too far-fetched to imagine that in the future the technical specifications of a car will entirely be centered on the comfort/entertainment characteristics of the car rather than the speed/mileage/safety characteristics, as is the case now. [In fact, as an aside, few people have yet registered that autonomous cars are going to go slower than human-driven cars, because they will be programmed to obey speed limits. When this fact becomes more generally appreciated this may act as an inhibitor of autonomous car adoption. As a further aside, this situation will prevail until all cars are autonomous at which point they will travel at much faster speeds – 300, 400, 500 MPH? – due to the fact that cars are simply “nodes” on a network and network package switching rules can be applied].
As well as the reinvention of huge existing industries such as automobiles and entertainment, “windows as screens” will be key to the emergence of important new industries – such as virtual reality itself. Regular readers will know that we here at the Center for the Future of Work are long on VR I have seen the future of work and its name is virtual reality and every day more folks share that enthusiasm Morgan stanley reveals tech stock picks for next big growth wave but VR hasn’t yet “crossed the chasm” and it’s still easy to raise a skeptical eye – Steven Spielberg hasn’t helped … https://www.ft.com/content/4442b394-3d69-11e8-b9f9-de94fa33a81e. [I was reminded of a recent statement by Bill Gates that (and I paraphrase) “people over 60 shouldn’t run software companies”].
The car as a VR venue may unlock the potential of this new dimension, becoming a perfect nexus point for currently unconnected tectonic shifts; the release of time (given one no longer needs to concentrate on driving), the creation of a visual vacuum the budding economy, and the intrinsic human desire for novelty – watching Keeping up with the Kardashians in your luxury-self-driving-immersive-experience-machine would be just too much of a comedown surely ...
Marc Zuckerberg has speculated that VR headsets will outsell TVs in the foreseeable future. A lot of people have scoffed at that. Perhaps we’ve all missed the point. Maybe cars will be those VR headsets?
Microsoft saved Apple a long, long time ago. Day in Tech. Now it looks like the Cupertino folks will have a big say in return in the future of windows. Plenty of them in their fancy new digs ... Complete guide to Apple Park