MWC 2018: BMW Autonomous Car and Customer Experience

BMW Personal CoPilot

[This post is a bit off topic, but as cars are already an everyday object we talk to, I thought it would be of interest.]

I had read somewhere about Elon Musk’s digital transformation ideas around passenger transport and the Tesla car. I recall that he said that once the electric car and autonomous driving (level 5) is achieved, the concept of owning a car, what you do with the car, the use of that resource called your car, totally changes. And BMW are helping me understand that. This week, during the Mobile World Congress 2018, BMW have showcased the Customer Journey for their brave new autonomous vehicle. Video in: (short intro in Spanish, English from then on.)

Main takeaways (apart from seeing the steering wheel eerily turning itself):

  • There is a companion app.
  • Through the app you rendez-vous with the car, including instructions for you how to walk there.
  • You set the route and get in the car (in no particular order).
  • Sit back and relax!
  • There is an infotaiment system, you can use that, or the app, during your trip.
  • You can change your destination half way there. Obviously, the car won’t stop in its tracks as seen in the video, it will just smoothly re-calculate the route.
  • The car will drop you off at your destination, and it will go park itself.
  • You can lend your car to friends. They’ll need the app, and you as the owner will manage what you lend them the car foor from your app.

I feel so lucky to live in these times – I now know that when I become too old to drive (not that I drive much these days anyway!), that won’t hinder my mobility a iota.

It’s also easy to imagine a mashup of what I have just explained and what Uber / Lyft currently do. You can think of your car as what you use for your own transportation when you are using it, and the rest of the time, instead of sitting iddle inside a garage, the car can be out and about earning you some bucks.

That’s what Musk was talking about in that interview that stuck in my mind. And it’s great to know that there’ll be plenty of makes and models to choose from. Kudos to BMW for this!

MWC 2018: Google Assistant Demo

Google Assistant Pod

Alexa has a competitor: Google Assistant and the plethora of home pods that make it leave the boundaries of the phone’s not-so-good ambient mikes.

I was fortunate to attend a demo this morning at the Mobile World Congress 2018. You can watch the videos below.

My takeaways:

  • Amazon has one year time advantage over its competitors, but not more.
  • They offer practically the same functionality, but Alexa has been around for longer and has more skills (apps).
  • The only thing where Google Assistant has an advantage over the Amazon Echo family and Alexa is the fact that it can switch language on the fly, and French is already implemented.

It’s time to develop skills in a way that they are easily portable to other platforms.

Enjoy the videos!