Meet The Jetsons

We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters

– Peter Theil

That quote dates back to 2013. Reid Hoffman reacted to our progress since then in a recent Tweet.

Much progress has indeed been made as demonstrated by the video below. However, this article provides a word of caution:

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Are Electric Vehicles Taking Over Faster Than We Think?

We are in the middle of the biggest revolution in motoring since Henry Ford’s first production line started turning back in 1913.

Justin Rowlatt – Why electric cars will take over sooner than you think

That quote from a recent article brings to mind a fundamental truth: there are divergent opinions on just about any emerging future scenario. Author Justin Rowlatt states that we have past the tipping point; that milestone where electric vehicle sales begin to overwhelm traditional car sales. As the big car makers position themselves to sell only electric vehicles at some point this decade, one must wonder what factors led to those decisions. One of those factors comes from government, as they ban the sales of traditional vehicles on some predetermined timeline. The author however points to the speed of the technological revolution the world is experiencing. I liken this period to the early days of the second industrial revolution. A period of great invention which is likely surpassed by the period we have entered – with the big difference being the speed of realization.

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Flying Cars

We’ve been focused on flying cars since the Jetsons showed us the possibilities. With all the distractions of the last several months, it is easy to lose sight of the progress made on several innovation fronts. The flying car is no exception, as describes in this recent Article by Charlie Osborne. The vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) industry is plowing ahead. A vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft is one that can hover, take off, and land vertically. Japan plans on sending these flying cars into the skies in three years. Per the article, Japan-based SkyDrive has developed a two-seater eVTOL vehicle currently at the testing stage. In addition to Japan, Uber, Boeing, Airbus, AeroMobil, and others are exploring the VTOL space. Flying taxis is one area of focus. A quote from SkyDrive captures it well:

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Nine Future Innovations That Will Change Urban Travel

Futuristic technologies and a new understanding of how our output impacts the world around us will change the face of transportation as we know it. New innovations hope to solve some of the biggest issues impacting transportation today by curbing pollution, reducing fatalities, and cutting down travel time.

Visionaries like Elon Musk are betting billions on big ideas that seem far fetched, but could become mainstream in the next few years. Hyperloop transportation tubes could be operating passenger services as early as 2021. These tubes would run at speeds of 600 mph or more and transport groups of passengers through pressurized tracks. Eventually, hyperloop hopes to tackle freight shipping too.

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The Future of Cars

Recently, someone shared a very interesting inforgraphic on the future of cars. I get these requests to share content on a regular basis, and I assess them based on their insight and potential value to my readers. This is an example of a very well done Infographic with a great deal of insight. Below is an introduction and the infographic. Enjoy!

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Electric Batteries and the Grid

This Article provides a very good example of domains that are converging in ways that shape our future. In this example, innovations in science and technology converge with future scenarios involving the emerging Mobility Ecosystem and one that is often described as the emerging Energy Internet. Author Jeff McMahon indicates that there will be more than enough batteries in electric vehicles by 2050 to support a grid that runs on solar and wind—if the two are connected by smart chargers, according to experts at the International Renewable Energy Agency.

As described in an earlier post, these Intersections across multiple domains introduce new scenarios that amplify impact. In this example, the boundaries between mobility and energy blur, creating a synergistic linkage between the two ecosystems. This complex and unpredictable dynamic complicates our Future Thinking exercise – but it may be the most critical focus of any forward-looking effort. The above referenced article provides a good example of how the Convergence of science and technology leads to a convergence with multiple future scenarios. Visualization helps to understand the various dots that are connecting.

Meet the Jetsons in the 2020s

Uber and Hyundai have teamed up to deliver on the Jetsons flying car future. One of several flying car initiatives likely to be realized by the end of the decade. Air taxis represent a further evolution of the Mobility Ecosystem. People point to the flying car as an example of future predictions that did not pan out. Well, much like everything else in this era of exponential progression – get ready. Uber Air is one example of services emerging in this space.

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The Future of Cars: An Infographic

I recently came across a very good Infographic that describes the future of cars. Here is the abstract from the Carsurance website:


The future of cars undoubtedly seems exciting. Up to this point, cars were viewed primarily as a convenient method of transportation. The main advancements were made in reliability, safety, performance, and overall comfort. Carsurance InfographicHowever, the advent of the internet and artificial intelligence unlocked a whole new field of progress in the auto industry.

An automobile of the future is not just a machine for driving to your desired destination. It’s a fully automated system that makes all the decisions for you while you enjoy the latest content on its premium audio-visual system.

Want to change the route? Just give a verbal command and the cars of the future will know what to do. Worrying about crashing or getting a citation? The vehicles of tomorrow will carry self-driving software that is so reliable, humans do not even come close.

Reducing carbon emission is another crucial challenge for the car industry. Electric and hybrid cars, with their replicable batteries, seem like a convenient solution. However, future cars could rely on even more advanced fuels.

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The Emerging Mobility Ecosystem

In segment four of my interview with Chunka Mui, we discussed the ultimate demise of our industry construct and the emergence of horizontal ecosystems that remove friction from our life experiences – one experience at a time. This platform-enabled transition can be witnessed in action today, as we watch the Mobility ecosystem form one piece at a time. We can no longer think of industries in isolation, as we witness the collision of various industries and a reconfiguration of the money flow – over $2.5 Trillion in car-related economic value. Chunka uses the example of the collision between the automotive and technology ecosystems to describe  this phenomenon: the shift from cars with computers inside, to computers with wheels on them.

Chunka Mui is the managing director of the Devil’s Advocate Group, a consulting team that helps organizations design and stress test their innovation strategies. Mr. Mui published a popular book titled The New Killer Apps.

Segment four is a quick three minute video.

You can view segment one – Autonomous Vehicles: An Interview with Chunka Mui – here.

You can view segment two – Reimagining Our Driverless Future – here.

You can view segment three – The Ripple Effect – here.

Download A PDF Version of the transcript.

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Reimagining Our Driverless Future

In segment two of my interview with Chunka Mui, we picked up our conversation with the driverless car scenario. Chunka Mui is the managing director of the Devil’s Advocate Group, a consulting team that helps organizations design and stress test their innovation strategies. Mr. Mui published a popular book titled The New Killer Apps.

Key points of discussion were:

  • If we eliminate auto fatalities, what happens to the need for auto insurance?
  • How to think about the timing of the autonomous vehicle scenario
  • The arms race towards the automotive ecosystem
  • Eliminating 90% of human accidents is plausible
  • Critical mass not needed to feel the impact of this scenario
  • From predicting to rehearsing – a portfolio of options
  • Understanding milestones, markers, obstacles and accelerants
  • Understanding extreme scenarios
  • Understanding the path of science and technology

Here is a six minute animated version of our segment two discussion that picks up where segment one left off:

You can view segment one here.

Download A PDF Version of the Transcript

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Transforming the Automotive Industry

A new McKinsey report focuses on the Disruptive trends that will transform the auto industry. Their work suggests that the world economies are dramatically changing via developments in emerging markets, the exponential pace of technology, sustainability policies, and changing consumer preferences around ownership. They see the rise of four disruptive trends in the automotive sector: diverse mobility, autonomous driving, electrification, and connectivity. For me, these findings underscore the movement from our current automotive industry to the future Mobility Ecosystem. If we can make the mental model shift from our long standing view of Industry and competition, to this emerging view of ecosystem and shared value, we can begin to visualize the different ways value will be created and captured in the future.

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Autonomous Vehicles: The Automotive Ecosystem

This post continues the disruption scenario discussion initiated by my earlier Insurance Industry Case Study. I’ve been using the autonomous vehicle (AV) as an example of a disruptive scenario with potential societal, economical, and environmental impact. In this post, the focus shifts to the scenario’s possible effect on the automotive ecosystem.

Autonomous vehicle technology can be viewed using a five-part continuum suggested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), with different benefits realized at different levels of automation:

Driverless Car Continuum

Last month, an IHS Automotive study predicted the world will have nearly 54 million self-driving cars by 2035. The study also predicts that nearly all vehicles in use are likely to be self-driving cars or self-driving commercial vehicles sometime after 2050. Meanwhile, automakers and others are unveiling both their plans for – and introduction of – automated features: 

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Why Focus on Disruption?

My post on the disruptive implications of the Autonomous Vehicle generated dialog that has been very insightful and provocative. Before posting additional analysis of the societal, economical, and environmental impact of emerging disruptive scenarios, I wanted to restate my reason for doing so, and share some great perspective from leaders that engaged in this recent dialog. I launched this last series to support the growing belief that: 1) we are entering what is likely the most transformative period in history, and 2) this should drive a sense of urgency for leaders everywhere. This coming period brings with it many possible disruptive scenarios, each with its own set of consequences. In my experience, leaders view these scenarios as too far off into the future to warrant their time – we’ve been conditioned to think short term. In their new book The Second Machine Age, Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson provide their perspective on why the time to focus on the future is now. The three forces they describe (exponential, digital, and combinatorial) are perhaps the best description of the drivers behind the accelerating effect of disruption.

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