How's that working out?

The more software that is centrally controlled and built into cars, the less control that owners have over them. Cars used to mean “freedom”. When you got your license, it was one small step to independence.

How's that working out?
Capital Thinking | How's that working out?

Capital Thinking  •  Issue #1125  •  View online

I have always loved cars.

My high school, Willowbrook in Villa Park, Illinois, had one of the best high school auto mechanic programs in the US. They used to win contests all over the country on troubleshooting.

-Jeff Carter

Cars, Powered By Software

Virtue, or Not?

Jeffrey Carter:

My first job out of college was with the 3M Auto Trades division selling adhesives, coatings, sealers, and sandpaper! It was fun to go into all kinds of shops. I had some custom shops on my route and it was cool to see what they were doing.

But, the car business is fundamentally changing.

The other day BMW said it would start charging monthly for features like heated seats in your car. They can use software to turn on or turn off the feature depending on whether you pay.

I recall a lot of advocates for fully electric cars talking about how they loved driving around a “piece of software”. Engineers could work on the code of the vehicle and simply upload it via satellite to everyone’s car. That seems really cool.

But, in an era where privacy is becoming more and more important, having a centralized system to know exactly where your car is on the grid might not be a benefit. If the federal government instituted social credit scores, they might even be able to disable your car.

If you look at things from BMWs perspective though, your opinion might not change but you might not be as outraged.

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Cars, Powered By Software
Virtue, or Not?