Who here hasn’t at least once dreamt while speeding down an interstate in whatever jalopy the fates put in your hands that you were, just for a moment, flying? Ok, maybe it’s just us guys. Or am I the only one who kept track of exactly where that special bump in the country road would provide a moment of lift?
A key component of creativity is recognizing when an idea that is working in one place might have application in another. (Like when Wilber twisted the tube box)
This came to mind while watching Leo Laporte interview Ford CEO Alan Mulally at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Mulally came to Ford from Boeing where he helped design the first digital cockpit on the 767 and a number of aircraft after that. At the time some wondered what an ‘avionics guy’ would be able to do for the ‘car guys.’
Laporte: “So how much of your background at Boing informed this? Because you have a digital cockpit right here.”
Mulally: “…A very important thing is that the pilot has complete situational awareness. All the data has been simplified so they know exactly the most important things so they are not sorting through the data they are now managing the driving experience. Yet they have to have access to all the communications, the navigation, to guidance, the control, the entertainment…. This is exactly what we are now doing with Ford.”
At the CES Keynote he unveiled recent advances with My Ford Touch (Which includes Ford Sync) – Ford’s entertainment/information system which competes with GM’s ONSTAR. An interesting difference in focus is Mulally’s desire for My Ford Touch to be an interface that gives access to evolving technology while keeping driver focus on the road. A willingness to open up the platform as well as utilize the owners cell and entertainment devices seems like a broader more powerful vision than what ONSTAR now promises.
The differences add up when you look at published reports between this year’s Ford keynote and last years GM CEO Wagner keynote. This year Mulally spoke Ford products coming out this year while much of what Wagner spoke about appears to be years off. GM’s response to My Touch Ford is also interesting: GM’s product is considered better because you might loose your cell phone in an accident. GM appears to see ONStar as little more than a safety feature, while Ford sees their alternative as an overall cabin experience. I like the way Ford seems to be moving. (Disclosure: My mother-in-law spent many years working in a Ford plant. If she doesn’t hold that against them, neither will I.)
So the bike shop was instrumental in getting us off the ground in the first place and now the cockpit returns the favor by providing lessons that improve safety, focus and entertainment for the driver. Cool.