Sunday, 24 May 2015

Cars in crisis? Do we embrace new smart car technology, or just accept that car thefts, car crashes, pollution and congestion is fine

The automotive world is buzzing at the moment. And its buzzing on many fronts. Some good, some not so good.  Last week we reported about the rise in car break-ins in USA and Australia from thieves using Radio Frequency (RF) "amplifiers" to hack through car key fob locks. 

But most of the buzz in the car industry at the moment is around the world's biggest car recall -the Takata airbag recall. Some media outlets are reporting up to 53 million cars to be recalled around the world. 

In the midst of the biggest car recall of all time, and a break down in car locking systems likely to eventually effect every car built after around 1995, we're seeing a rise in press covering the benefits of driverless cars. The angle being pushed out through the media for driverless cars is that it is a 'solution to congestion'.  Of course the congestion problem in big cities has been growing out of control for quite some time now. If you've ever driven in peak hour traffic in any city anywhere around the world, then I'm sure that you would agree that congestion is a big problem.

Driverless cars will need digital keys for specific users for a set date and time.
So we've got two pieces of car technology breaking down - car locks, and airbags. We've got new technology emerging with smart/connected driverless cars. We've got congestion (and pollution) growing at phenomenal rates. The final thing to throw in the mix is that Governments all around the world, who have been tightening their budgets since the Global recession, have been reducing infrastructure spending. That is less is being spent on our roads and bridges and tunnels. See this article here for example about a $60 billion reduction in infrastructure spending by the Obama administration.

So where does that leave us? Are we in the middle of a massive global change for transport and how we get around? Is a perfect storm for change brewing? Is all this just a bunch of random unconnected happenings which is part of modern city living and the cyclical times? 

Finally we have to ask the question; do we embrace and invest in the new technologies, or just keep trying to solve the problems of the old technologies? Do we need to invest in new technologies like smart connected cars, and smart cities, and smart locks or just accept that car theft, car congestion, car crashes, and car pollution is all fine and dandy? 

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