For almost a decade, cars have been the focus of a lot of attention and investment from the tech industry. And this attention has, in turn, triggered the car industry to transform itself at a rate that it was probably hoping it would not have to.
Huawei is the latest tech company to be jumping on board (allegedly) with partnerships in the pipeline with other Chinese backed firms. The reason for Huawei’s shift of focus is clearly partly due to the door slamming going on in the US, which shows no sign of being reversed, thus the search for other doors.
Cars are, of course, attractive to tech companies because they already have your attention at home and at work, which is increasingly the same, slightly blurred thing. Now, they want your attention during the piece in the middle, especially with the advent of autonomous cars.
Whenever that will be.
For some years now, we have either played up or played down the benefits of autonomous vehicles. And still, we wait for the miracle to be unveiled, the dream of hopping into your iPhone on wheels and browsing, playing or working on your way to the office, if you still have one then.
Electric cars are a huge focus at the moment, as we work out ways to be nicer to our planet, but autonomous vehicles still elude us, even as the investment continues to pour in.
The general direction of the industry provides a good example of an ecosystem evolving – or not.
Companies eyeing the opportunity quickly realised that a tech company does not know how to make a car, and a car company does not want to reinvent all the cool tech that will make their cars more attractive. And, of course, many, many people will not want to climb into an autonomous anything. When and if the autonomous market becomes a reality, there will be a huge market for cars that are, well, cars.
For the moment, cars and the direction of this now slightly wobbly ecosystem will be worth watching but we may have retired by the time the autonomous dream becomes a reality.