Thursday, June 30, 2011
Is this Porsche?
Now comes the news that they're working on an Adaptive Cruise Control system that feels like something from an Orwellian future. The Porsche ACC InnoDrive isn't designed just to sense the surrounding traffic and make adjustments to prevent collisions like the one Mercedes is promoting. It's a wicked-smart computer control module that integrates satellite navigation with an array of sensors to take over all pedal applications, maximizing fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. And according to this review on Autoblog (written by the always articulate and often hilarious Matt Davis), it works remarkably well.
Because it wants to survive.
It can't make enough money just selling 911s and Boxsters. Between factories, labor, distribution, dealers and the like, there's so much overhead in the auto business that it's very hard to be profitable if you limit yourself to just a few models.
That's why companies like Porsche, BMW and Lotus also sell design and engineering services to others in a wide variety of industries.
My guess is the ACC InnoDrive will show up not just on Carrera's and Cayman's, but also on its VW and Audi brethren. Porsche could also license the technology (as GM is starting to do with OnStar) to a wide range of manufacturers generating royalty revenue that could well exceed what they make selling cars. If I were running Mack Truck, I'd definitely be interested in a system like this.
And that revenue will allow them to continue to do what they really love, make more 911s.