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Asymcar 26: The iPod

On a future filled with autonomous Winnebagos.

Asymcar 26: The iPod

  • Bruce_Mc

    I think Apple making a small car is a good guess. However, there have been iconic big cars: ’57 Chevy, early ’60’s Cadillac, Some Rolls Royce models, even a big Benz or two.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      Iconic yes, popular no. If the target is 1 million units a year and only one body style then I’m afraid it better be something for everyone.

      • Bruce_Mc

        I definitely agree.

        Your comment about taking an Uber to get to your autonomous wandering ‘Bago made me laugh.

        … An Apple House, now that would not be a laughing matter. … “Making the whole widget” for the Internet of Things. Something new to do after they have triumphed in cars. There are substantial regulatory barriers in the way of a project like that though…

  • ipod home

    If you imagine an enormous parking lot for these autonomous pods to roam among themselves, the technology becomes simpler to build. Its essentially Kiva (bought by amazon) warehouse bots, with rooms on top of them. The algorithm coordinating movement is way simpler when the only objects around in all directions are other pods.

    Layer in docking of pods and shared spaces (for example 1 kitchen for 10 people), and you have a radically different structure of the metropolis. All infrastructure becomes self organizing.

    Of course the autonomous vehicle lot would have to have a border. Along the border you could have golf courses, pools, sports fields, parks. Things that wouldn’t fit in the mobile infrastructure.

  • davebarnes

    The sound of breaking glass BEFORE Horace throws the iPad is too funny.
    He needs to hire a better foley editor.

  • katherine anderson

    You satirize (unfairly) the idea that the prospective AppleCar might offer an adaptable room-like space, autonomous or not.

    Even if Apple doesn’t make such a vehicle, some other manufacturer will, and if it’s going to be a vehicle designed to enhance the pleasure and delight of road travel (and I think it will), then I can’t see it as anything but a larger, standing room-like space.

    Rather than acknowledging the classic Volkswagen van of the 1960’s and 70’s (and which I suggested in my comments going back to 2014 [Asymcar 17] as an inspiration for an AppleCar, re-imagined), you chose to invoke the more exaggerated and stereotypical image of American excess with the crude and oversized “Winnebago” … conjuring up tasteless middle-class vacationers, whose idea of a road trip doesn’t extend far beyond a Walmart parking lot.

    You go on to remind your listeners of the gluttony of future autonomous “Winnebago” owners by saying they will be occupying the “roads for free”, the vehicle will be a “perpetual motion machine “… feeding off the grid … “driving randomly, even when you’re not in it.”

    All in all, you say, “Give a designer a design brief, and they’ll all come up with a living room.” Didn’t you really mean to say … “Give a woman a car design brief and she’ll come up with a living room”?

    Yet even in the case of the male-designed Tesla Model S, where there’s an absence of an engine in the front, and where there could have been more room to create a better interior space, the designers still chose to design a vehicle with a front to look as if an engine was there. They named this redundancy, the “Frunk.”

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      My intention is to reduce some of the theories related to full autonomy to absurdities. I don’t know if this will happen but I think the idea of a living space makes more sense as a design than “the ultimate driving machine”. If we recognize this outcome as absurd then we might realize that we’ll veer far away from this scenario well before we get there. I am increasingly believing that an Apple Car will hark back to a time of automotive joy rather than to a robotic utopia. My belief is driven partly by this satire.

  • katherine anderson

    Do you really think Apple will build a “tiny car”? (at 50 min.) … I wonder, what is the point of a tiny car for city driving (an Apple pod as you refer to it), when we have Uber? And how is a tiny car useful as a tool for multiple uses? … which is what Apple as a tool builder is celebrated for giving us.

    And if a tiny car is not used for city driving alone, do you want to be in a tiny car with your family sharing the highway with the transport trucks?

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      Depends on the definition of tiny. I’ve been critical of the obese nature of newer cars and perhaps hoping in vain for a more in a new direction. Incidentally, the cars which have had the largest impact in the history of the industry (based on production figures and iconic status) were Ford Model T, VW Beetle, Fiat 124, Fiat 500, Renault 4, Rover Mini, Citroen 2CV, VW Golf and Toyota Corolla. They were all small.

  • Bryan Barringer

    Phablet is a PHone+tABLET hybrid. Not a “fat” tablet. Other than this small mis-note, your video is priceless, funny and informative. Thanks.