THE NEXT BILLION CARS Episode 11 – The Next Billion Bubbles

Physical distancing makes personal transportation a necessity. When public transport risks infection, cars & bikes become our safe spaces. Co-host Sally Dominguez looks at the sudden reframing of the automobile as self-contained ‘safe space’ during the pandemic. Special correspondent Drew Smith rhapsodises about the Renault Espace, the first MPV designed – to carry people.

1984 Renault Espace

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THE NEXT BILLION CARS Episode 7 – The Next Billion Tons

Waste? Not! Designing cars for near-perfect recycling – is it even possible, or do the next billion end up as junk? How do we rethink a sustainable future around billions of automobiles? And can EVs promise zero carbon emissions?

We reference a lot of material on this episode, including this BP report on how much carbon we’re adding to the atmosphere every year. And a great article on recycling shredded automobiles.

THE NEXT BILLION CARS Episode 6: The Next Billion Passengers

Apps have turned us into ride-sharing, route-planning, ‘micromobility’ experts. We’re all passengers now, with more options than ever before.

LEK Partner Mark Streeting is an expert in ‘mobility-as-a-service’, a new term for the kind of seamless end-to-end transportation pioneered by Uber…

LEK’s Mark Streeting advises businesses & governments on ‘mobility-as-a-service’

Special correspondent Drew Smith spoke with ZipCar co-founder Robin Chase about how the city has been defined by cars – and what it means to move past that into the age of passengers.

Robin Chase, co-founder of ZipCar

And co-host Sally Dominguez found an intriguing Chinese startup – Grove Hydrogen Automotive – building hydrogen-fuel-cell powered vehicles and offering them to drivers on a ‘subscription’ basis – as a path toward jump-starting hydrogen fueling infrastructure throughout the nation.

A gull-winged Grove Hydrogen Automotive subscription vehicle.

THE NEXT BILLION CARS Episode 4: The Next Billion Kilometers

Transformations in autonomy & electrification give automobile designers a new palette of possibilities – does our experience of driving change?

Drew Smith talks to BMW design legend Chris Bangle about what it took to design the REDSPACE urban car for the Chinese market. And here’s a video where he’s talking at the Art Center College for Design in Pasadena (Chris’s alma mater, and the school that graduates most of the world’s top car designers):

Mark and Sally sat down at the North American International Auto Show for a long interview with recently-retired Ford design legend Elizabeth Baron, about what it took to combine the real and virtual design processes into a seamless whole.

Elizabeth Baron, in the podcast suite at the Detroit Foundation Hotel, January 2019

Finally, Sally learns about the design possibilities created by autonomous vehicles from Luciano Nakamura, one of the founders of Australian startup AEV Robotics.

AEV Robotics rethinks design around urban use cases…

THE NEXT BILLION CARS Episode 3: The Next Billion Volts

Tesla drove electric vehicles from impractical to inevitable. Powertrains will soon feature a mix of hydrocarbons, hydrogen – and batteries.

Co-host Sally Dominguez toured China in a hydrogen-fueled Mercedes:

Sally felt as though she might have been driving a small hydrogen bomb around rural China…
But at least it wasn’t one of these clown cars! (Well, ok, so it is…)

The history of the automobile isn’t exactly the history of petrol – even if that’s what Carl Benz used in his internal combustion engine, there have always been lots of alternatives, including the Stanley ‘Steamer’:

1912 Stanley ‘Steamer’ (photo credit: Stephen Foskett)

The London Electrobus Company pioneered electric public transport over a hundred years ago – promoting itself as the cleaner alternative on London’s dirty streets:

London Electrobus (circa 1908)

Automobiles can even run on compressed air, as in the TATA/MDI OneCat:

(Photo credit: Deepak Gupta)

Special correspondent Drew Smith talks to automotive design legend Mate Rimac about what it takes to design electric automobiles.

(Photo credit: El Monty)


THE NEXT BILLION CARS Episode 2: The Next Billion Robots

How long until we have self-driving cars? That’s the biggest question confronting the entire transportation sector. Autonomy unlocks a lot of amazing possibilities – but what is it, really, and how far away?

In this second episode of THE NEXT BILLION CARS, Special Correspondent Drew Smith details the five levels of autonomy, Mark goes for a LIDAR ride with Nick Langdale-Smith of Sydney startup Baraja, and Sally learns about a software back-seat driver from Intel’s Jack Weast – one that may help us be better human drivers, as well.

Mark got taken for a ride in Baraja’s demo vehicle –
note the LIDAR scanners mounted in the four cardinal directions atop the van.

Here’s a great backgrounder on Toyota’s ‘Guardian’ system – software that helps both humans and autonomous vehicles be better drivers.

THE NEXT BILLION CARS Episode 1: The Next Billion Problems

CES portrays a futuristic auto industry. Detroit holds onto past glories. Everything automotive is changing: can problems become opportunities?

Meet the experts joining Mark Pesce for THE NEXT BILLION CARS…

Sally Dominguez is a multi-award-winning product designer and architect of the Adventurous Thinking innovation strategy which she has implemented at organisations including NASA, Stanford and Breville. Sally was a judge on ABC TV’s  The New Inventors,  is a co-host on Foxtel’s upcoming Great Aussie Inventions, host of a yet-to-be-named Foxtel Innovation Challenge, and judges design and innovation internationally.  She has over ten years of Car of the Year judging experience with Wheels magazine and Drive and is passionate about innovation in materials, sustainability and transportation strategies.

With a background in automotive design and design research, and a role as a lead strategist at one of the industry’s most exciting brands, Drew Smith is the consummate industry insider. Indeed, he’s helped shape the future for the likes of Lexus, Jaguar Land Rover and Audi. He’s not without critical faculties however, and has long held the industry to a higher standard when it comes to designing for a environmental and commercial sustainability. He is a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, advising automotive design Masters and PhD students, and founded the Automobility Group, a global community of people exploring the future of urbanism, design and mobility. He is also the co-founder of Rising Minds, a global lecture series that explores the intersection of technology, business and culture.