Will the burgeoning Internet of things eventually make the car obsolete?
Increased connectivity and the rise of ride-sharing won't end the auto industry, but they will revolutionize the landscape, an analyst has said.
"What we are seeing right now is a redefinition of the automobile," Thilo Koslowski, lead automotive analyst with technology consultants Gartner, told the Detroit News.
Cars are becoming ever closer to computers as automakers roll out new connected technology such as navigation systems, touch screens and increasingly autonomous features. Google has also branched out from its famous search engine to develop a self-driving car that could eventually threaten established automakers.
Koslowski offered a positive take, saying that a newly connected standard will revamp the auto industry rather than destroy it.
"The automobile will not just be differentiated by engineering excellence. We are entering the era of smart mobility," he told the Detroit News. The car will have more capabilities, and will harness communication to bring a future life style into the vehicle."
As car services such as Uber and Lyft become more popular, the industry may transition from traditional car ownership to a ride-sharing model.
"Leasing, not owning, might become a threat to the industry, but for the most part I see it as an opportunity to redefine the automobile as it becomes part of the connected universe," Koslowski said.
"This connected universe will re-emphasize the importance of automobiles; I don't think cars will go away any time soon, on the contrary, they will become more important because of these technologies. Manufacturers have to change the way they think about the automobile; it's not just about selling, but understanding and embracing what mobility is."
Smartphone-based apps could become more prevalent to allow consumers to transition easily from cars to public transportation to autonomous vehicles, said automotive analyst Anil Valsan of consultants Ernst & Young.
This kind of flexible transportation landscape will need real-time information, a wireless payment platform and connection to public transportation and cars, Valsan said.