Bob Lutz has long been outspoken on what’s to come in the future of the automotive industry. However, Lutz was outspoken as of recent at the annual awards dinner of the Michigan Venture Capital Association.
The Detroit Free Press reports Lutz believes modular transportation and a driverless future will arrive in just 15 to 25 years. Here’s what Lutz had to say:
Stage 4 modules will be standardized. They’ll look like telephone booths laid down. They won’t be streamlined because they’ll be electronically linked in a seamless train on the freeway moving at say 200 m.p.h., 250 m.p.h., pick your speed. And they’ll be powered by inductive electrical rails in the freeway.
Your module will be called to your house and you can order a long or a short one, basic equipment or luxuriously equipped with all kinds of interconnected activity, the nicest furniture and bars, but there will be no controls in this thing. It will probably all be voice-controlled.
This module will then take you to the freeway and your credit card or whatever we have at that time will be scanned as you enter the freeway and then your module will then go through progressive acceleration lanes until it hits the freeways speed. And the train will temporarily open and it will accept your module and you can just relax.
And as you get close to your freeway exit, your module will separate from the flow and it’ll go through a series of a huge asphalt or concrete deceleration areas, from 200 m.p.h. down to normal speed. Then the module will take you to your ultimate destination. And the module then goes away to a central point and it’ll be recharged waiting for the next customer.
He went on to spell the doom of brand differentiation, as pods offer standardization in functionality, features and even design.
“Right now, the profitability is driven by brand differentiation. And there is no earthly reason in the world for anyone to spend $10,000 or $15,000 more for a BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz than you spend on a Chevrolet or a Buick or Dodge or Ford because they all do exactly the same thing with the same technology, the same suppliers, the same ride and handling, the same steering, the same fuel economy, but the differentiator is the brand.”
Do you think Lutz is on the right track? We think this is probably inevitable, but 15 years seems mighty close.