Thinking Beyond Just The Car At API Days in San Francisco

After speaking at API Craft SF on Thursday, I kept the API talk going with two days of API car talk at API Days San Francisco. While there is a lot of focus specifically on the car itself, there was also a lot of talk beyond the auto at API Days San Francisco, which was dubbed "Disrupting the Car Industry and Driver Experience with APIs".

Public Transportation
In 2014, you just can’t talk about disrupting the car industry, without including public transportation. With smart phones in our pockets, we need to get "smarter" about when and how we drive our cars, but also when should not drive our cars. Public transportation has to be part of the conversation when developers are looking to “disrupt the car industry”.

Bicycle Culture
I was pleased to also hear bicycles mentioned during several of the talks, and that developers should think about bicycle culture when developing apps. Many automobile owners are also bicyclists, and merging car and bike culture, expanding the opportunities to ride to work, large public events, or just for recreation, should be part of the consideration when developers are looking to “disrupt the car industry”.

Self-Driving Car Skepticism
It is easy to be captivated by the work coming out of Google around the self-driving car, but I was also so surprised to hear several folks express skepticism around whether or not the self-driving car will live up to the hype, and whether or not we even need the self-driving car at all—with investment around public transportation being a preferred alternative.

When preparing for API Days, I expected the usual API crowd, educating people generally on the API opportunity, with a handful of high level car talks from people who have worked for the major car companies, or those working for aftermarket startups. This existed, but I was pleasantly surprised to see so much "out of the box" conversation as well.

Seeing that the conversation wasn't just focused on automobiles, but also the wider world of transportation at API Days San Francisco, made me very hopeful for the future of APIs, and how they will be applied within the automobile industry.