Creating The 21st Century Automobile

Introducing the mobility internet

Introducing the mobility internetAuthors William Mitchell, Christopher Borroni-Bird, and Lawrence Burns want to take the automobile to the next level in its evolutionary biology. In their minds that means creating a “mobility Internet” that operates much the same way the mobile Internet works, except for cars.

So what would that look like exactly?

To this author trio, a mobility Internet for vehicles would include several of the following types of connected technology:

  • Vehicles will be electrically driven, but electronically controlled
  • Traffic management through real-time location-specific vehicle-to-vehicle sharing of information
  • A clean energy grid that connects vehicles, transportation routes, and buildings
  • Dynamically-priced markets for electricity, parking, roads, vehicles, etc.

This 21st century vision for re-inventing the automobile, presented in a book on the topic, includes detailed plans for carbon emissions, city planning, traffic management, parking, and sustainability.

The ideas are a little pie-in-the-sky, but that hasn’t stopped other visionaries from pursuing their innovations. The Wright Brothers, for instance, gave us wings. Early automobile visionaries like Karl Benz and Henry Ford gave us fast wheels.

The question is: Are drivers ready for a connected automobile grid? Digital technology has arrived in full force, but are auto drivers ready to turn their vehicles over to the Internet? Would such a holistic digital system focused on turning every car on the road into a part of the Internet solve our transportation issues, or would it simply create more?