Very interesting commentary from former head of R&D at GM on the future of vehicles and innovation

Very interesting article from the GM’s former head of R&D. The second point is especially relevant to the opportunity to harness the different geographies in a globalizing world. Further, he emphasises the need to have sponsorship to drive innovation from idea to execution.

Points of interest are:

  • Two really transformational points: that vehicles in the future will be electrically driven, and that they will be that vehicles in the future will be electrically driven, and that they will be connected via what we call the Mobility Internet. In fact, I believe connected vehicles, vehicles that talk with one another and communicate with everything along the roadway, will prove to be more transformational for the auto industry than different types of propulsion systems.
  • It’s largely a matter of one place giving it a try, so that we can prove the concept. There could be opportunities to test it in restricted geographies, such as a college campus, a gated community, or an island. Another way it could come about would be in a nation like Singapore or China, where policymakers and private-sector leaders think differently about the relationship between public and private entities. One of the reasons the Prius became a success was in part how Toyota worked with the Japanese government to build the mechanisms and the supply base necessary to enable a technology to get out in front. Some people refer to that as industrial policy—and I know that can be an inflammatory phrase for some people in nations like the United States — but a nation that thinks differently may see the promise of systems like this and put together the implementation road maps to do something about it
  • You need to drive the innovation time line from invention, to laboratory proof of concept, to demonstration, and to first-, second-, and third-generation commercialization, so that you can get some experience and some data, and show people that this utopian vision is actually achievable.

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