By Chuck Martin
Published reports indicate that Apple is working on building a self-driving car and even looking for a location near San Francisco to test it out.
Presuming the report is true, the caveat being that only Apple ever knows what Apple is coming out with in the future, this could be an interesting potential for advertisers and marketers.
Realistically, a fully self-driving car is likely a bit in the future.
This is not to say the technology can’t be created and perfected to make it possible (just Google Google), but to implement it in the everyday driving on current roads is somewhat more complex.
Aside from the regulatory and safety issues, which are hardly minor hurdles, significant behavioral changes need to be onboard for the ride.
The idea of a consumer in the driver’s seat letting the car drive itself will take some new habits, at least among long-time drivers.
The self-driving technology also has to allow for different driving behaviors in different markets.
For example, as any driver in the Boston area has likely recognized, a red light in Massachusetts is really just viewed as a suggestion.
All that being said, once self-driving or partially self-driving cars are on the road, there will be opportunity to market to the driver and perhaps the passengers as well.
With all the IoT technology planned and being implemented in cars, this form of marketing will extend well beyond the radio or only audio.
Cars have screens, and some like Tesla, have very big screens.
These screens are networked and highly interactive. Besides directions, they have apps and can be used for many things, such as purchasing.
At-the-moment location as well as driving patterns will be factors in creating contextual messaging.
It will be interesting to see the first iteration of in-car advertising in this context.
It will be more interesting to see the second iteration.