Everybody Gets a Chauffeur

(Image courtesy Hanna-Barbera)

(Image courtesy Hanna-Barbera)

Still no flying cars, but our earthbound cars are about to get a whole lot smarter:

Cars in the next few years will be able to find the fastest route for the morning commute as well as order coffee, pay for it and guide the driver to pick it up.

This transformation of the auto into a full-service mobile device adds up to a potential goldmine. Revenue from the data streams and connectivity components could become a 180 billion-euro ($200 billion) market by 2020, McKinsey & Co. estimates. That’s a rich target for Apple Inc. and Google Inc., and automakers are fighting for a claim as well.

Instead of just producing transport hardware, “we have to get into the service industry in a larger way,” Tony Douglas, BMW AG’s mobility services unit, said to a roomful of executives at a recent conference in Munich.

In a few years I’ll be telling my car to have my sons back by 11, instead of the other way around.