Car companies have big problems – recalls, rising gas prices, the economy and lagging profits, but according to Sheryl Connelly of Ford Motor Company, smartphones are also giving them grief. In a recent telephone interview, she stated, “The car used to be the signal of adulthood, of freedom. Now, the signal into adulthood for teenagers is the smartphone.”
This statement is backed up by statistics from the Transportation Department, which show that 50 percent of 16-year-olds in the United States obtained their first driver’s license in 1978. Only 30 percent did in 2008. Ms. Connelly believes this drop is a shift in teen behavior, who, she says, would rather use their time texting friends and updating their social networks than driving a car.
Ford believes the response to this trend is to make their cars smarter than smartphones. One day you may be automatically checked into a location when you arrive there, or built-in cameras could snap photos of you and your friends and upload and tag the pics based on voice recognition.