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Of Spimes and Cars

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Recently, I had the privilege to visit major Japanese car manufacturers, including many of their primary part suppliers. Their factories, processes and R&D units, along with seamless cooperation, were truly impressive.

From lifecycle perspective, a car is a monumentally complex product. Over the course of 80 years, the vendor ecosystem has evolved into a tightly interconnected web of part makers, lubricant dealers, service workshops and technology providers, plus countless other players.

This evolution is now accelerating rapidly due to digital twins and then spimes, of practically every part of the car – be that Alpine media console (yes, the dream vendor when I had my first car when I was 18), Denso ABS system or Panasonic driving assistance platform. Often, the automobile business case is only 15% when a new car is sold, and 75% of additional services the owner will obtain.

The electric car is an earthquake to this traditional ecosystem, as the car no longer requires major wearing components such as gearboxes, engine oil, coolers, starters, water/oil pumps and many other things. In a perverse way, the hybrid car is the last gasp of the old industry, almost doubling the complexity and making the aftersale profits even higher.

However, I see that the biggest disruption will happen upon a ‘full spime car’ in which each and every component, be that the wheel ball bearing or parking assistance radar, is digitally managed in the manufacturer’s spime realm. This not only changes the R&D to be near real-time (instead of 4-6 year cycles of today) but also fosters totally new innovation among the whole car ecosystem.

I was very delighted to see digital twin or integrated cloud service plans with virtually all manufacturers I met. Sufficient connectivity, processing power and data storage facilities are already available – what is needed is a crisp plan and our BaseN Platform. 

Although I still like my 2003 Saab, I might be lured to get a fully spimed one – let’s see how long that takes.

//Pasi

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