Posts Tagged ‘Model T’
In 1917, the Model T was doing so well that Ford decided to stop all advertising. For the next 6 years, they didn’t do a dime of marketing and didn’t need to: over half of all cars in the world were Fords.
100 years later, the next major automotive technology seems ready for prime time: the driverless car. As do some others innovations, like new housing models. Those, and more predictions, below:
- The driverless car product of Tesla, Uber, Apple, and traditional car manufacturers will hit the roads, and not just in a test capacity. They will start to get licensed by state and federal governments, and countries around the world will jockey to make their roads more welcoming so they can get the technology sooner. New business models will come up around car ownership, such as time-share like models for driverless cars. Insurance companies will fight to claim ownership of this market, as well as figure out exactly who is liable in the result of an accident (the car owner, the software, the hardware, the licensing authority, or someone else). Even property prices will start increasing in suburbs again, as people envision a more productive commute thanks to the driverless car.
- As uncertainty in the stability of the west grows, Africa’s rise will accelerate. More companies will get funded in Nigeria, Kenya, and other markets like Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and South Africa will see more startup activity and funding than ever before. Asia will continue to be hot, as China & India continue to see tremendous funding. The exceptions will be Indonesia (where the Christian governor of Jakarta was recently charged with blasphemy) and the Philippines (where the new President has encouraged vigilante justice), where government turmoil will take time to resolve and slow investment.
- The notion of housing-as-a-service will become real, thanks to companies like StayAwhile, Common, Roam, and WeWork. As millennials strive for mobility and flexibility, having a monthly subscription with the ability to live anywhere, instead of locking into 12 month leases, will start becoming a trend. The ultimate question will be, “where do I keep my stuff?”
A hundred years ago, New York City had a manure problem. The average horse produced between fifteen and thirty-five pounds of manure and it piled the streets. It was a huge health hazard due to the disease, it was a large nuisance, and it was growing. People began thinking of better manure removal and cleanup solutions, even trying to burn it.
Meanwhile, Henry Ford, in southeastern Michigan, produced the Model T. He revolutionized transportation and eliminated the manure problem.
I see the the future of transportation as similar. Part of the current hype is around cleaner, more efficient transportation systems: perhaps we need cleaner vehicles, electric vehicles, and hybrid vehicles. Perhaps the right fuel isn’t our current natural gas, but some sort of cellulosic based ethanol. Perhaps we need narrower cars to fit more on the road, similar to Commuter Cars.
Or, perhaps, our transportation system, once again, has become outdated. As our populations continue to increase, we will continue to see more traffic jams and gridlocks, perhaps even more to the extent of last summer’s 60 mile long gridlock in China.
Dirt roads became paved roads after the Model T. In 50 years, perhaps the paved roads could be upgraded once again: to include powerful magnets. Perhaps the future of transportation is not in cars, but in some sort of magnetic levitation system that can cleanly, safely, and quickly transport a large number of people.
It’s something to think about, especially as large cities known for their traffic problems—Mumbai, Jakarta, Beijing, and Sao Paulo—continue to experience population growth with limited infrastructure change.