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Computers On Wheels [Future
Posted on December 14, 2015 @ 10:37:00 AM by Paul Meagher

Tony Seba is a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Disruption and Clean Energy at Stanford University. He has written a recent book called Clean Disruption (2014) that advances some of his claims about where the energy and transport industries are headed in the near future.

Tony sees a near term disruption happening in the car industry in the form of electric vehicles with Tesla being the most notable player but with smart phone companies like Samsung, Apple, and Xiaomi making bold moves to enter the market. It might be surprising that smart phone companies are poised to become major players in the electric vehicle market until you realize that electric vehicles have an order of magnitude less parts than internal combustion engine cars (making it more feasible for smart phone companies to get involved) and that many of the near term trends in the automotive industry involve vehicles essentially becoming "computers on wheels". Vehicles are becoming loaded with sensors, software, and are becoming more connected to the internet. They are also expected to take on other roles besides just passenger transport such as storing energy from the grid or renewables and distributing energy back to the grid or to wherever it is needed. If we reach the point where we are just riding around in vehicles that drive themselves the functionality the car delivers to the occupants will be quite different than what a vehicle is expected to deliver today. We will want our vehicles to provide more entertainment options, productivity tools, mobile social networking, etc.

Disruption is a bad thing for those whose jobs depend upon the industry remaining the same, such as manufacturers, sellers, and distributors of internal combustion engine parts. Disruption, however, is also an opportunity for those who get ahead of the curve and find their niche in the disrupted landscape. If the electronic vehicle disruption comes to pass we will, for example, need some visionaries to figure out how to make it into a sustainable industry as well by figuring out what to do with all the spent lithium batteries. My own prediction, based on circular economics ideas, is that these cars will increasingly be purchased as leased vehicles that the car brands will want to take back so they can remanufacture these batteries, upgrade some sensors and software, and put it back into the market again like we do with refurbished computers.

To learn more about Tony's predictions regarding disruptions we might see in the transport industry you can watch a recent talk he gave on clean disruption in the public and private transport industry. He is also in demand as a speaker and you can find lots of YouTube videos of his talks.

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