The Trifecta of Change
The beauty of technology is a single invention can completely change everything, often in ways we can't imagine. Sometimes it takes a small change to make a big impact, but cars are undergoing the trifecta of change: autonomous, mobility on demand (Uber/Lyft) and electric. All three of these changes will have profound effects on society, like the potential to significantly reduce auto accidents, lower greenhouse gas emissions and end the concept of parking spots.
But as marketers, have we begun to think about the profound consequences of this shift? How will we advertise cars, if they drive themselves? What will people do in the car, if they have nothing to do? If autonomous cars deliver on their promise, these cars could be the most important advertising medium of the next decade.
But First, Introducing Artificial Intelligence
The idea of the autonomous car has been made possible by significant advances in image recognition technology, often referred to as "artificial intelligence", or commonly known as AI. The progress in autonomous cars has been nothing short of amazing. In March 2004, DARPA challenged many academic institutions to build an unmanned vehicle to navigate a 142 mile course. The top scoring vehicle only travelled 7.5 miles and the contest was considered a complete flop. But, with significant advances in artificial intelligence hardware and software, 12 years later, Google started testing their autonomous cars on the roads.