Information technology (IT) could drive advances in the vehicle industry far beyond simply helping to develop a better car, according to Jonas Kuschel, a researcher at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg.
To make the most of such technology will require both the auto sector and the public to change the way they view IT services for vehicles, Kuschel argues. Vehicles, he says, are more than simply physical objects: they’re workplaces, cogs in a complex system of transport flow and financial assets … as well as the cause of accidents and environmental impacts.
In a new thesis, Kuschel makes the case for a future branch of IT called “vehicle services.” Research in that branch could, for example, make it possible for cars to automatically book times for service and repair via wireless connections. Applying IT to vehicles could also help town planners better understand local traffic patterns or emissions levels.
Without a broader focus on how IT can affect all aspects of vehicle design and operations, Kuschel believes, the auto industry could miss out on a lot of new innovations. The capacity to develop new inventions and applications will require the industry to open up its innovation work and allow other actors to enter into the field of developing services.
Rather than focusing on product development, he says, it’s more important to focus on how a vehicle is used and which role it plays in society and people’s lives than on product development.