If there was ever a perfect time for a startup to gain a foothold in the car business, that moment is now.
Innovation from startups is trickling into the auto industry in areas ranging from driver-assist technologies and infotainment to mobility — where outsiders with fresh ideas are stepping up in hopes of finding a niche in the movement of people, goods and services.
Automakers, who know it’s risky to ignore this fountain of ingenuity, are forming relationships with companies through endeavors such as “hackathons,” in which developers devise apps during competitions, and startup accelerators.
“The automotive industry looked at how startups have impacted the technology industry over time,” said Eric Blumbergs, a senior engineer with Honda R&D Americas. “You look at companies like Google, Facebook [that] basically came out of nowhere. I think we realized we have to really get close to these types of companies.
“You can look at the ride-sharing companies, how fast they came out of nowhere. That can really transform the whole business model of automotive.”