Car of the future will be a "big moving mobile device"

As smart cars enter the mainstream, carmakers will have to work out a way to properly collaborate with start-ups, which means they have to start thinking like one.

That was the general conclusion of a TechCrunch/TechNode Shanghai panel when Juergen Bauer, who manages the Audi-Tongji Joint Lab in Shanghai asked a panel of representatives from car companies about how the auto industry can handle the transition.

This could trigger a “fight of the titans”, Tech Crunch writes in a report, as automakers and tech giants like Apple, Google, and Samsung negotiate for control over what goes into vehicles.

First step would be to find a way to integrate autonomous features into cars that won’t confuse drivers.

Of course in the car, we have lots of opportunities to build things which you can integrate into the whole design and interior of cars. One thing is a very nice heads up display, which you can’t really reproduce in other ways now,” said Carsten Isert, the head of BMW Technology Office China.

“On the other hand, we want customers to have the latest software and functionality, which you get from the big IT companies and start-ups, so again, we have to think about safety, which is a critical issue especially since many severe accidents are caused by using phones or texting while driving.”

Drivers that spend a lot of time behind the wheel are perfect users for tech companies, but they must tread carefully when choosing what to put in a smart car.

This means that automakers “can’t see the car as a vehicle anymore, but as a big moving mobile device,” said Francis Man, the head of Interior Electronics Solutions in China for Continental Automotive.

The full report from panel, with quotes from PSA Peugeot Citroen’s David Allard and Carsten Isert, the head of BMW Technology Office China can be found on this link.