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Connected and autonomous car tech at MWC

Sam Fenwick takes a look at the key talking points around connected and autonomous vehicles at this year’s Mobile World Congress

While the telecom industry could be described as more of an enabler of connected and autonomous vehicles than a developer of their core functions, there was plenty of informed discussion on both topics at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Wilko Andreas Stark, VP, strategy and Mercedes-Benz cars product strategy & planning at Daimler, says today’s cars are already “highly digital”. He points out that Mercedes-Benz’s new S class has more than 100 million lines of software code, while a Boeing 747 jet only has about 14 million.

“If you own a car [it] might earn money for you [by] transporting other people. This is coming and we strongly believe in it. The next big trend we see is about shared mobility, it’s about the sharing economy,” he says.

The potential consequences of this approach could be surprising. While replacing labour with capital has been going on since the first industrial revolution, the idea that you could buy an autonomous car and have it generate a revenue stream by acting as a taxi when you don’t need to use it might increase inequality across generations. It could further benefit those with capital at the expense of their poorer offspring (who would be their customers), perhaps in the same way that some fear the buy-to-let property market does.

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