Image sourced from www.aboutmyarea.co.uk
Some companies break new ground by producing fantastic new vehicles, great electric sports cars like the Tesla, or the range extender electric family car from GM called the Volt. But now and again one or two companies don’t even touch the ground…they’re flying so high that the rest of the industry my not even see them before it’s too late.
The high flyers I’m talking about are Riversimple , a company who has built a hydrogen fuel cell powered network electric car, which was unveiled to the public for the first time on June 16, 2009, and a foundation called 40 Fires, which has created a forum to develop energy-efficient cars using an open source approach. It even got the Financial Times interested.
So what is so high flying? Well, it’s a running hydrogen fuel cell car for one, but, the hydrogen debate is still on-going and my thoughts have already been discussed on this blog. It’s a real product for “mobility as a service” or MaaS as I like to call (a.k.a. SaaS), has been talked about but no one has ever really produced a product for a MaaS application before Riversimple – so hat’s off to them for that.
But what is really so revolutionary is the potential differences that Riversimple and 40 Fires hope to make to business models and product/process engineering. In other words, when you no longer own a car you do not have the same requirements (i.e. the difference between a car and a train or plane) and as a manufacturer when you design and engineer your car via a platform/forum of engineers throughout the world all having input into the intellectual property of the vehicle then the vehicle itself will probably look very different – and may even be much much better!!
This is where I hope Dassault Systèmes can really help. Our strategy is all about helping our customers collaborate and federate their ideas and processes.
Let me explain: image a group of engineers who all have a passion for developing and producing a sustainable mobility solution, and just like Riversimple, this group is spread out across the world. How can they possibly share ideas efficiently? Phone, Fax, email?
What about an online platform where they can literarily co-design, instantly share, mark up each others work, package parts on the fly, … but the thing that’s critical in this sort of crowdsourcing environment, where ideas are abundant, is to know what to do with all these ideas, i.e. sort them out, accept them, refuse them, send them back for enhancements, and most importantly make sure that everybody is working on the same engineering requirements and has followed the same validation processes.
Riversimple is really bringing us hope for a new world of products and, more importantly, services for sustainable mobility.
Stay tuned for more…