Tony Scott, CTO of General Motors, says the auto industry may be what drives wireless:
- The automobile may just be the vehicle (pun intended) to bring on the next generation of wireless technology. One current example — the mass adoption of RFID (radio frequency identification) tags (such as E-ZPass on tollways, turnpikes, and toll bridges) is driving up usage of this wireless technology and driving costs dramatically down. The adoption rate of digital satellite radio is being accelerated by the major automobile manufacturers, although the experience is just as compelling at home. And soon an increasing number of cars will come with a digital wireless key — it will just stay in your pocket or purse. If you own more than one vehicle, you may eventually only have to carry one wireless digital key for all your automotive needs. And it could obviously go further than that. Just as the automobile helped make portable radios a viable mass market consumer concept, I think that ubiquitous broadband wireless connectivity could ultimately be driven by the adoption of this technology in the automobile. Finally, the same basic fuel cell technology that will power future automobiles will also be used to power wireless devices such as cell phones, laptops, and PDAs, but instead of battery life measured in hours, the new fuel cell technology will enable “untethered time” to be measured in days.
My argument for the auto industry as an enabler for some of these emerging technologies is based on the premise that the auto industry has two unique advantages. First is scale. The U.S. auto industry delivers 15-17 million new cars to market each year. This volume can help drive the unit cost of any new technology to the lowest possible level. Second, the industry has enough clout to drive standards in almost any area that it engages in. [InfoWorld]