Maybe it’s not such a big surprise that manufacturers such as Dyson are joining the likes of Google and Apple in exploring plans to develop its own range of electric cars.
While Dyson might be more familiar as a manufacturer of vacuum cleaners, precedent shows that many of the car marques we are familiar with now started off with prosaic roots.
Peugeot, for instance, started life manufacturing coffee mills; Rover was initially a producer of bicycles; while Saab was an aircraft manufacturer. The fact that two of these marques are now defunct shows that the wheels of automotive history revolve quickly and that there is not much place for sentimentality or brand loyalty among car buyers – something the existing established manufacturers would do well to reflect upon.
The technological edge, whether than be in performance or build quality, has always been one of the most important factors in the success or otherwise of motor manufacturers. Companies such as Google, Apple and, yes, Dyson have all achieved success because of their ability to disrupt the market and provide an edge over their rivals.
And with cars becoming more dependent on technology than ever before – and particularly so with electric and self-driving models – you could argue that Google, Apple and Dyson are better placed to develop this than those legacy-model companies that are currently the dominant motor manufacturers.
However something that is likely to be experienced by both the technology companies and the existing motor manufacturers is the slow uptake in electric cars in general and the apparent lack of confidence in self-driving cars in particular.
While most people now acknowledge that it will be many years before driverless cars become commonplace – the chief executive of Nissan/Renault, Carlos Ghosn said earlier this year that true versions will not be with us for another decade as there is a significant job to be done in convincing the public of their safety.
This week’s news that it’s possible to manufacture a homemade low-cost laser device that disrupts the systems that allow self-driving cars to see where they are going will have done little to instil confidence among an already suspicious public.
Dyson, Google, Apple and Tesla along with all the other car marques – and any other company looking to exploit this nascent market – might need to exploit all the technology at their collective disposal to ensure that driverless cars become a reality.