Cars of the future will need to be 'sexy' to survive

Mercedes-Benz F 015 conceptMercedes-BenzThe Mercedes-Benz F 015 concept asks, why face the road?

Competition in the auto industry is getting fierce.

As companies like Google, Tesla, and possibly Apple enter the market, traditional automakers are being forced to up their game and innovate faster than they have ever had to before.

But they still have some work to do.

As we move into the driverless age of cars, it’s more important than ever that car companies focus on developing driving experiences that are “repeatedly new, exciting, and sexy,” according to a report by accounting and consulting firm KPMG.

Automakers that want to survive, must find new ways to deliver what KPMG describes as a “sexy dynamic experience.” Essentially, KPMG states that cars will become more like smartphones and will need to offer more features, more often.

But there are really three things that are absolutely necessary for the car to be considered sexy. And automakers are already moving quickly to adopt these principles.

First, the car must evolve and improve after purchase.

Like with their smartphones, people will want cars that get better with each software update.

For example, Google’s cars collect data whenever they go for a spin that is then shared with other cars in the Google fleet. That way, when one car learns how to react in a particular situation, all the other cars are brought up to speed too.

As a result, Google’s self-driving car software has gained 90 years worth of collective driving experience.

It’s unclear whether that’s a model that will exist when Google’s technology is commercialized in cars. But the idea that any kind of software update should automatically be pushed through is something Google is currently enacting.

It must also be able to transform into new settings.

VolvoVolvoVolvo’s concept car provides a relaxing experience while in autopilot.

Once driverless cars take over, people are going to have a lot more free time while travelling. This means they are going to want a new kind of experience than just sitting behind the wheel watching the road.

Carmakers know this and have already begun showing their vision of what travelling in a self-driving car will be like.

Volvo debuted a driverless concept car this week that has three modes: drive, create, and relax. The car purposely minimizes distractions while in drive mode and offers a reclining seat and screen for watching shows while in relax mode. This follows KPMG’s recommendation of offering products that change whether the car is in autonomous mode or not.

Other “sexy” innovations we are seeing in the automotive industry include a car seat that will offer a massage when it detects your stressed and a Mercedes with seats that will swivel in autopilot mode to allow for face-to-face conversations.

New enhancements that work with earlier platforms.

You wouldn’t want to buy a car and hear that to update its software you must purchase an entirely new model, which is why KPMG emphasises that new enhancements must work with earlier platforms.

Tesla already accomplished this when it released its new autopilot system at the end of October.

Tesla owners simply needed to accept the upgrade when it rolled around and were delivered functions for automatic steering, automatic lange changing, side collision warning, and automatic parallel parking.

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