Asymcar 26: The iPod

We begin a speculative show in Berlin, where a cab driver laments “young people arriving in the city to party and sleep on couches”. Might Berlin’s youthful visitors in 2050 simply crash in their autonomous pods?

Horace races forward and muses on a future filled with roving, autonomous Winnebagos. Jim notes that there have been previous attempts at such vehicles, particularly with 1960’s and 1970’s era vans.

Big data and algorithms run interference.

Will autonomous pod players be naturally limited to those who can create and maintain a global mapping system? Today, those organizations include Google, Apple and a consortium owned by Audi, BMW and Mercedes. TomTom supplies GIS data to many organizations and Uber has begun to collect mapping data as well.

We close with a bit of Apple gazing. What might Apple’s first car look like? What is its job to be done? Will it be influenced by the VW Beetle?

26mb mp3, about 54 minutes.

Subscribe to Asymcar podcasts via iTunes or RSS.

Show Notes:

Ostalgie: wikipedia.



The People’s Car.

Fiat 500.

Smart Car.

Toyota Corolla.

Faraday wants you to believe it’s not a front for the Apple Car, but probably is.

  • katherine anderson

    You satirize (unfairly) the idea that the prospective AppleCar might offer an adaptable room-like space, autonomous or not.

    Even if Apple doesn’t make such a vehicle, some other manufacturer will, and if it’s going to be a vehicle designed to enhance the pleasure and delight of road travel (and I think it will), then I can’t see it as anything but a larger, standing room-like space.

    Rather than acknowledging the classic Volkswagen van of the 1960’s and 70’s (and which I suggested in my comments going back to 2014 [Asymcar 17] as an inspiration for an AppleCar, re-imagined), you chose to invoke the more exaggerated and stereotypical image of American excess with the crude and oversized “Winnebago” … conjuring up tasteless middle-class vacationers, whose idea of a road trip doesn’t extend far beyond a Walmart parking lot.

    You go on to remind your listeners of the gluttony of future autonomous “Winnebago” owners by saying they will be occupying the “roads for free”, the vehicle will be a “perpetual motion machine “… feeding off the grid … “driving randomly, even when you’re not in it.”

    All in all, you say, “Give a designer a design brief, and they’ll all come up with a living room.” Didn’t you really mean to say … “Give a woman a car design brief and she’ll come up with a living room”?

    Yet even in the case of the male-designed Tesla Model S, where there’s an absence of an engine in the front, and where there could have been more room to create a better interior space, the designers still chose to design a vehicle with a front to look as if an engine was there. They named this redundancy, the “Frunk.”

  • katherine anderson

    Do you really think Apple will build a “tiny car”? (at 50 min.) … I wonder, what is the point of a tiny car for city driving (an Apple pod as you refer to it), when we have Uber? And how is a tiny car useful as a tool for multiple uses? … which is what Apple as a tool builder is celebrated for giving us.

    And if a tiny car is not used for city driving alone, do you want to be in a tiny car with your family sharing the highway with the transport trucks?

  • Yen Yang

    @disqus_E9B97n7aJA:disqus, I have made an attempt at assembling Horace’s thinking on the issue of the Apple Car and tried to give them a more tangible form. In it I think I answer some of the questions you have posed here such as ‘How is a tiny car useful as a tool for multiple uses?’, ‘What point is a tiny car when we have Uber?’ et al. I welcome thoughts from others interested in this topic. The short version is at:
    The more detailed discussion can be found at: