If you’re looking at autonomous cars through a last-century lens, you’re not understanding the cascading transformational impact these amazing vehicles will have in our lives.

I witnessed the incredible power of an autonomous car in all its shining red glory on the show floor at the annual SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference, being held May 16-18 in Orlando, Florida. The fire engine red orb, dubbed the Oasis vehicle, was positively aglow with innovations from SAP Leonardo and partners embedded throughout.

Oasis is an electric-powered, autonomous concept car under development via a unique collaboration between SAP and Rinspeed, along with a number of other leading organizations in the automotive industry including manufacturing, retail, and support. It’s designed to bring people the full benefits of autonomous cars, whether they’re commuting to work, taking a major road trip, or managing a corporate fleet of vehicles.

“We see industry lines blurring, and the Oasis is a vehicle that reflects this transformation, incorporating connectivity to all aspects of someone’s life,” said Edina Sewell.

Billed as a spacious living room on wheels, this model is aimed at giving drivers more entertainment and independence than original car manufacturers every dreamed of. If you’re headed to work, you’ll be able to check email or have your first video conference call at your personal workstation (keyboard included) before you even arrive at the office. Or, maybe you’d prefer to chill out watching an ultra high-definition movie or practicing meditation with surround sound.

Oasis Dashboard
The dazzling, full-color dashboard presents an array of valuable information, giving a whole new meaning to taking a drive.

But that’s just the beginning of commute optimization. With automatic calendar synch Oasis “knows” what time you need to be picked up, that your children need to be dropped at school first, and where to take you next ─ whether you need to stop for coffee on the way to work or pick up a pizza on the way home. Automatically able to securely connect and synthesize social data via the cloud, the Oasis caters the journey to your personal preferences through solutions like SAP Hybris and SAP Vehicle Insights. The dazzling, full-color dashboard presents an array of valuable information, giving a whole new meaning to taking a drive.

For example, connected IoT sensors backed by blockchain technology help drivers in need of the next charging station, providing alerts and a route long before the battery runs out. The advantages to business are just as powerful, as connected cars share data-driven diagnostics that help fleet managers gain efficiencies while improving safety.

Autonomous cars definitely fall into the growing category of innovations everyone thought were far in the future. Better hit that accelerator now or risk being left in the dust.

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