A new perception of the user in Detroit?
We have spent a large amount of our time consulting and designing for the auto industry. When we are not thinking deeply, we converse about the arrogance of the industry and its inflexibility. In the background, however, we are aware that much is being done to exploit this most exciting of times for the industry to reshape the auto company business model for a very different future. We are impressed with the guiding voices of leaders like Bill Ford who places the industry in a context of global resource competition and the momentum of essential social change.
In the meantime, a platform that is all about iron and steel has an infrastructure of investment and a culture of objects that appears to need rapid [r]evolution to stay relevant. John Rousseau of Artefact, writing in Co.Design, makes this observation –
As vehicles gain connectivity, the value proposition will gradually shift from hardware to software, and from object to experience. As vehicles become autonomous and rely on new technologies like machine learning and AI, the software and service layer will become even more valuable—ultimately rendering the car a passive device through which a largely digital experience is delivered. It also means that software and services will be the most critical paths for future innovation. For Detroit, that’s not a bright future.
It appears that some of the fastest hiring in the industry is now taking place and most of those recruited are engineers of a different type, software rather than hardware. Perhaps there's a brighter future for both the interface and Detroit.