Author Topic: Apple car?  (Read 4176 times)

Big Al

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Apple car?
« on: February 20, 2015, 12:05:58 PM »
This I lifted from Money Morning, a magazine concerned with investment and associated matters. However it is of general interest as a topic of debate. For it contains a truth. Things are not likely to remain the same. Are those Legiers we all failed to buy, a square shaped image of what urban motoring could become? Have we missed a bit of collectors motoring history, despite that it failed. Its very difficult to know what could happen.

Is Apple building the car of the future? Maybe not – but someone is

Apple is being sued by A123 – an electric car battery maker – for allegedly poaching some of its staff.

Just to be clear, the big story here is not that one tech company is suing another. This kind of stuff happens all the time.

The big story is that it all adds to the buzz going around that Apple is working on something really exciting to do with cars.

Theories are flying about all over the place. Apple has apparently been hiring lots of people from carmakers recently. “The creation of a top secret research lab,” led by the lead developer of the iPod and iPhone also “points to efforts that could lead to an Apple car,” says the FT.

But maybe it’s not a car. Maybe it’s just software for a car – given that cars are all going to be connected to the internet in the future, Apple would have a big interest in that. And maybe it’s not even that. Maybe it’s battery technology. After all, Apple has a big interest in solar.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. I like Apple products as much as the next person with a mild interest in useful and entertaining gadgets. (I defected to Android when I last switched phones but I’ll be changing back as soon as I can – I just don’t find it as intuitive – although please do argue the relative merits out among yourselves in the comments below.)

But the reason this should interest investors is because it shows just how much the car industry is being transformed by the tech industry right now. And this evolution is really only just beginning.

The dominant players in the car industry are going to change

I don’t know about you, but I still find it hard to get my head around the idea of our driving habits changing radically. But so much of the technology is already here.

Electric cars exist, obviously. They are niche and there remain big obstacles to wider adoption, but a Tesla is a status symbol. You’ve never been able to say that about an electric car before.

Self-driving cars exist. Again, there are big obstacles to their adoption. Driving around a sunny, barely-populated state in the US is a million miles away from slogging through London traffic, or navigating Glasgow in carwash-like levels of rain. But these things are real, and they work. 

On top of that, you’ve got the likes of Uber. Again, fraught with regulatory issues (and the ethics of some of the companies leave a lot to be desired too). But these are getting people used to the idea of using smartphones and networks to summon lifts to wherever they want to go.

This sort of thing is all going to change the way we get around very radically. In the very long run, car ownership patterns will change. I’m not sure most people (particularly outside of urban areas, where there’s a much higher premium on the convenience of owning a car) are yet ready for a world where they don’t have a car always sitting in the drive, ready to go at a moment’s notice.

But once cars are entirely self-driving, the convenience of simply hailing a car from your smartphone every time you need to use one becomes much more attractive. You pay monthly rent to a provider – maybe similar to a mobile phone contract – or maybe pay as you go, per mile.

As ownership declines, cars themselves would likely become a lot more uniform. Well-designed, but largely interchangeable. Recreational driving would become a hobby – probably an increasingly expensive one, carved up between diehard petrolheads and people with a love of status symbols.

Or this vision could be completely wrong, of course. Maybe we’ll be too wedded to our motors. Or maybe we’ll all be travelling by drone before any of this stuff happens. (Please do give us your far-flung theories on how the future of driving will look in the comments section below.)

So enough of the futurism – it’s fun to indulge in, but doesn’t help a lot with the investment angle. The point is, technology is changing cars dramatically, and this shift is going to change the nature of the dominant players in the industry. Whatever the future looks like, I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to see this as the sort of disruption we’ve seen in the music and publishing industries.

My colleague Matthew Partridge looks at the best ways to profit from this potential future of robotic, electrically-powered cars in the latest issue of MoneyWeek magazine. If you’ve not already subscribed, you can access the piece (and get your first four issues free) by signing up here.

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marcus

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Re: Apple car?
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2015, 12:45:00 PM »
Interesting.
The BBC News site has made various mentions of a forthcoming "Apple Car". So far every electric/hybrid/green car or project I have seen has been pretty much "niche market" but I am sure that it will change, and am generally optimistic.

However, I am still deeply sceptical that computerised self-driving cars are really ready for mass use, and I totally distrust the ability of computers and their designers to cover every eventuality.

The 3 part documentary "21st Century Jet" chronicled the development of the Boeing 777, which was computer designed and intended to be the first twin jet to get ETOPS rating "straight out of the box" (until relatively recently 3 or 4 engines were mandatory for extended routes over sea).

One older engineer insisted that the new engine should be test flown on a REAL plane. As the Cameras were there, Boeing's boss and other engineers finally let the old fogey have his way, and test flew the engine on a 767...within seconds of take off it suffered a compressor stall as it banked slightly. The computerised design team had omitted GRAVITY from their parameters!

3 relatively recent plane crashes (Air France in the southern Atlantic, Asiana at San Francisco and Air Asia Indonesia all seem to indicate problems at the point where humans (flight crew) inter-act with computer systems. Clearly training (or insufficient training, to be precise) is a key ingredient in these tragedies, as is the inability of humans to programme in ALL possible situations; Gravity was a particularly stupid and dramatic omission, but what others remain in the machine?

Several of the world's most expensive and high tech airliners have now crashed despite being in perfect condition. Automation has allowed some airlines to reduce training significantly, but even the least trained airline pilots are VASTLY more intelligent, experienced and skilled than the vast majority of drivers.

This suggests that getting drivers OFF the car's controls should make it much safer in almost all circumstances. But what the hell happens when things go wrong? And things WILL go wrong!
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Chris Thomas

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Re: Apple car?
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2015, 01:09:30 PM »
Dear Al

Apple, Microsoft and  Google all copy what ever the others are doing as they do not want to be left behind.

With an electric car, computerisation is possible, with a two stroke engine the car would have been almost impossible to start, and control reliably using computers.

We shall see.

Chris Thomas 

marcus

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Re: Apple car?
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2015, 01:31:54 PM »
They were filming and testing a self-driving vehicle near the O2 a few days ago.

Another problem that bothers me about auto vehicles is the internet geography industry (Google, Sat Nav etc.)

I live and work in Bermondsey. It has been Bermondsey for a very long time, but now according to Google and some sat navs it is Camberwell. It's not next-door Walworth, but the even further away Camberwell.

Worse still, my property is now apparently half a mile away and on the other side of the road.

These same goons are the ones who are trying to persuade us that their vehicles always know exactly where they are!
Did they add Gravity into their programmes? Will their auto car try to drive across Deptford Creek it the bridge is swung open, or across the Thames at Tower Bridge even if its bascules are raised for shipping? Presumably it the car does not have to worry about gravity it will be able to fly straight across rivers when road bridges are opened for ships!

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richard

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Re: Apple car?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2015, 01:53:14 PM »
Calm down dear ! It's only a commercial  ;D
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marcus

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Re: Apple car?
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2015, 02:04:50 PM »
"Infomercial" probably!

Don't want to upset the Apple Car  t.  ;D
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Big Al

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Re: Apple car?
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2015, 02:50:59 PM »
Shared cars, not owned or restricted to one user. Great idea, save what happens when the previous occupants had flu and were on their way back from over indulging at a party? Yep, I will be happy to drive myself, thank you. I am happy to accept it might be a more expensive option, a privilege even. Sounds better than conforming to the lowest common denominator. Golden delicious to Apple, I say. The good old misshapen Blenheim Orange, in any size, suits so much better, more of the time, even if it might be slightly pecked or have a maggot in it. Its the quality of taste in cooking or standard form. No supermarket commonality here, but glorious individualism.
I think the idea is great for everyone else. Peasants! ;D
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marcus

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Re: Apple car?
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2015, 03:10:37 PM »
Good point about bugs and muck left by previous users of the new car! Add strong food and body smells to the list!
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Jim Janecek

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Re: Apple car?
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2015, 03:43:51 PM »
.

marcus

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Re: Apple car?
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2015, 03:56:59 PM »
^ Chortle!
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Big Al

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Re: Apple car?
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2015, 04:07:05 PM »
Good point about bugs and muck left by previous users of the new car! Add strong food and body smells to the list!

'Chewits. Even chewer than Barrow in Furness Bus depot' http://youtu.be/420UecB2YZQ. Now that is strong food.
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richard

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Re: Apple car?
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2015, 04:59:04 PM »
your link Al lead me to this page on youtube - and which ex Treinkel owner do we know that owns TWO surviving Smash Robots ( operated by Bowden cables and pedals ! ) they are almost certainly the only survivors from what is always rated as the best tv ad ever
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKt-KR1TsRg&index=1&list=PL56E33F6CA02CF980
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Big Al

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Re: Apple car?
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2015, 12:23:28 AM »
I had hoped you would see that. Its a classic along with 'Can you ride tandam?' PG Tips etc. But these great clips are to share, not hog. The tale is yours.

Andrew had never seen the Tango series. So we dipped and laughed. Brilliant. http://youtu.be/NhOeG-uTJxw
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marcus

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Re: Apple car?
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2015, 08:37:33 AM »
Good ads. The last PG Chimp died recently.
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Big Al

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Re: Apple car?
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2015, 09:08:47 AM »
Yes, Pity he had made it all the way to being an EEC Commissioner!
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
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