Mobility and the Internet — very similar and a window into the future

The Internet is often seen as the gold standard when it comes to innovation and future thinking. In contrast, transportation or automotive are often seen as the perfect example for old school and traditional thinking. Now taking both together, one finds great similarities and the evolution of the Internet helps to understand what autonomous driving might bring to our daily lives.

Photo by Jake Blucker on Unsplash

I would like to put out what I have been thinking about and discussing with many of you over the past years: what will autonomous transportation be once we have “it”. My short answer these days is “I have no idea, and similar to that no one could have predicted what the Internet might become, we cannot say what a world of autonomous vehicles might look like.” This is your “indispensable cheat sheet” for your next future mobility discussion.

In the chart we see more of the underlying detail that leads me to think that there are very important similarities between the Internet and transportation, especially autonomous driving. The Internet goes back to a government program, that evolved into research, went commercial after almost 20 years, and today has become pervasive, be it for business, administrative, social, or almost any other purpose.

Transportation in its core definition (and that includes “personal mobility”) fulfills a very similar purpose as the internet, i.e. transportation moves physical objects (people and goods) around while the Internet moves virtual objects (data) around.

In that context it is surprising to see how the timeline of the early evolution in both cases, from “first steps” to “limited use”, seem to be following a pretty similar timeline, 12 years and then maybe another 5 years to public use and commercial applications.

This leads me to believe 2 things:

1. Given the similarities of “moving things around”, the impact of autonomous driving might be similar to the impact that the Internet has had on our daily lives

2. Given that both started in government, then research, and eventually moving to commercial and social, the timelines to full scale could be similar as well.

That would mean by 2050 we should have a better understanding of what autonomous driving can and cannot do, and what it might lead to that we can simply not conceive of today. But it might take that long…

Stay tuned for more insights from Silicon Valley Mobility. Next month we will take a closer look at how specific companies evolved through the Internet and what that might mean to specific companies in mobility…

© 2019 Silicon Valley Mobility, LLC

Caliber Data Labs

Creators of SceneBox: the intelligent data discovery platform for machine vision

Caliber Data Labs

SceneBox empowers perception teams to build intelligent autonomous systems by streamlining their data operations at scale.

Sven Beiker - Silicon Valley Mobility

Written by

Serving corporations, startups, investors, and more in future mobility and automotive topics related to autonomous, connected, electric, shared vehicles.

Caliber Data Labs

SceneBox empowers perception teams to build intelligent autonomous systems by streamlining their data operations at scale.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store