Featured on CTV New + What Dentists Can Learn From Tesla Motors
I previously wrote this article about Tesla Motors and S.A.M. and what dentists can learn from this amazing company (introduced to me by Dr. Hans Viergever). Well, today, I was fortunate enough today to show off S.A.M. to Pat Foran of CTV News. Here’s the episode:
He’s did a show today about autonomous vehicles and wanted to see one in action. So CTV News dropped by the office and we went for a spin around the area. We talked about the basics (what kind of car is it, why did I get it, what can it do, etc.). I showcased autopilot on city streets and on highways and self-parking and then he took S.A.M. for a spin. The show aired tonight across Canada on CTV News.
Autonomous driving is a very popular topic right now. After having read a lot of articles and watched a lot of videos, here’s what I know:
- There are 5 Levels of autonomous driving, which were established by SAE International’s On Road Automated Vehicle Standards Committee. You can read more about it HERE. Bottom line: as of the time of writing this blog post, S.A.M. is at a Level 2 out of 5 with all of its auto-pilot features (e.g. traffic aware cruise control, lane keeping, self parking, summoning, etc.).
- Ontario just passed a new set of regulations (effective January 1, 2016) that governs a pilot project involving vehicles which achieve Levels 3, 4, or 5, their drivers, and the companies who make them. S.A.M. is regulated by the current laws / regulations that exist.
- Traditional car manufacturers (e.g. Mercedes, Volvo, Ford, etc.), new startups (e.g. Tesla, Faraday Future, etc.) and soon-to-be in the auto industry (e.g. Google and Apple) are ramping up their software and hardware technology to introduce fully autonomous vehicles on our roads within the next 2-5 years. The auto industry will change more in the next 5 years than it has in the last 50.
- Electric cars that are fully automated will help increase productivity, reduce crashes / fatalities, lower carbon emissions, and allow individuals to stay connected even while they are being driven to their next destination. The only negative: the gasoline industry and traditional car companies and their suppliers will suffer…
- Electric cars are way better than regular gas-guzzling cars. They receive over the air updates (e.g. to offer new convenience features, increase security, enhance performance, etc.). Yes, you read that last part correctly: software updates have made Tesla cars accelerate faster and there’s even a ‘launch’ mode for quickest acceleration. If you plug your car in overnight at your home, you will end up with a full tank every morning at a fraction of the cost you would have paid to fill it with gas. S.A.M. goes up to 450 km on a full charge. I can also stop off during a long-distance trip to a supercharger and charge for free in 30 minutes or less; just the right time to stretch and grab a coffee.
- Sales of electric cars represent a very tiny fraction of overall car sales (think way less than 1%). So the industry is perfect for disrupting.
- New business models will develop as a result of the right of electric and autonomous vehicles. The coolest idea came from Tesla and Faraday Future: what if you subscribed to a car-renting program? You may not even own the car. Just have it pick you up and drop you off where you need to go. Perhaps you pay a monthly fee for access or do it on a per trip basis (think: Uber). Why do we exactly need to OWN our car? Why can’t we just have one car (from an entire fleet of available cars) pick us up and drop us off when we need it? And we can then personalize the experience once we’re in the autonomous vehicle by connecting our phones, etc. and using the car’s apps to make calls, send emails, surf the web, etc.
- This is the evolution of the Internet of Things (or how we’re going to be more connected with our phones, computers, cars, tablets, watches, etc.). We used to pull out a map to see how to get where we wanted to go. Then we used Google Maps and we’d print out everything. Then we’d start using our phones. And then our cars offered onboard navigation systems. And now with S.A.M., there’s Google Maps combined with fleet learning. Since my iphone calendar syncs with S.A.M., she knows where I’m going when I first step inside. Then I’m presented with real time data concerning my route, whether there’s a better alternative elsewhere, what time I’ll arrive and how many km it will take me to get there. And it’s VERY accurate. So what’s next? How about this: your car will know your schedule, where you are geographically located at all times (based on your phone’s location) and be ready and fully charged to pick you up (it will even charge itself at a Tesla public charging station using a robotic charging arm!) just by you saying a specific command into your iphone watch. CRAZY! But it’s going to happen.
- We are at the early stages of all of this. It will take anywhere from 2-5 years before this is more mainstream. It’s best to lease a car with these new features because the hardware and software will only get better over time.
- Competition in this industry is good. Everyone’s racing to get our hard earned dollars by offering the fastest, coolest, most connected cars out there. We need all the major automobile manufacturers to compete in this field: fully electric and autonomous vehicles. This will bring about huge change in the industry. And we have 1 person to thank for that: Elon Musk of Tesla Motors. Thank you Elon!