Incremental Innovation

Early this summer I walked into my parking garage and saw that they had installed two Chargepoint electric vehicle charging stations. I turned around, walked back to our apartment building, and went upstairs and told the Gotham Gal that the moment I had been waiting for had come and I wanted to get a Tesla. That weekend we took a trip up to the Tesla showroom in the art gallery section of Chelsea and bought one. It came last week and we are enjoying driving a car built by software people. We may be late to this party but we are happy to be at it now.

This past week Tesla announced a software upgrade that offers Autopilot features. I’ve been wondering for a while now how self driving technology would come to market. Google has been working on this technology for close to a decade and I’ve seen driverless cars on 280 heading from San Francisco to Palo Alto. But who wants to get into the back seat of the first self driving car and let the car do its thing? Not me.

On the other hand if self driving technology comes to market feature by feature, the way Tesla seems to be approaching things, we can get used to it bit by bit and someday we will happily get into that back seat without thinking twice about it.

It sounds like it will start with things like highway lane changes and parallel parking (if there ever was a thing that machines can do better than humans that would be it). And over time we will get more and more autopilot features. And at some point the car will be driving itself and we will be fine with that.

This makes a ton of sense to me. Sometimes incremental innovation is better than doing the whole thing at once. When you want to change behavior on something as game changing as driverless cars, I think the incremental approach makes a ton of sense.