Have you ever stopped to consider as to where technology is taking us? Or is it not taking us anywhere, but is merely following global trends? Is public opinion the driver, and what exactly does the public expect? Or even more important, what does the public want?
The answer to these rhetorical questions might just be in a publication published by the KPMG International people, the Swiss national cooperative advisory service, with overviews in many areas.
As part of their survey, they asked automotive companies just how important they felt were the issues of fuel efficiency, environmental friendliness and safety innovation, and repeated these enquiries over three years.
The top three issues, as being rated as important, by the greatest percentage of auto companies, were then looked at. The results were very interesting. The main concern, shared by 96 percent of the companies in 2008 was fuel efficiency, but that fell slightly to 93.5 percent in 2009. Environmental friendliness, which was only at 50 percent in 2007, had steadily grown to 80.5 percent by 2009, but Safety innovation was fairly stagnant at around 71 percent for the three years.
The writing would seem to be on the wall for safety as the major indicator of technology direction, no matter how much of a good feeling this gives the manufacturer. “Safety” would appear to be at the same level of attraction as cold porridge sandwiches, for the general public.
Even the environment is not doing that well as a technology driver, despite all the doomsayers and governments pushing the ‘global warming’ wheelbarrow. Perhaps GM’s Bob Lutz, with his famous catch-cry, “Global warming is a crock of sh*t,” goes much deeper and more to the point than the industry would like to admit.
So the final, and most popular driver is fuel efficiency, well over 90 percent for the past two years. This should not be surprising, with the global financial meltdown, decreased earnings, increased unemployment, and all the factors that come into play when money is tight.
I have always said that fuel is the cheapest thing you put in a motor car, and fuel consumption does not really matter, but it would seem I am swimming against the tide here.
However, I do contend that if fuel consumption was a major factor, why do we not see more electric cars and hybrids on the roads?