America's love for the automobile is waning. Younger generations are no longer forming attachments to traditional cars. The auto industry is beginning to recognize this trend, and their executives are desperate to find outside-the-box solutions in order to remain viable. Bye Bye Car travels throughout the United States and the Netherlands to investigate the root causes behind this declining interest, and the possibilities for the reinvention of transportation.
Cars don't offer the status or confidence they once did for young people. In large part, other technologies like smart phones have assumed that role. The need for car ownership has been replaced by public transportation use and ride sharing services like Uber. Conscientious consumers may view this as a way of limiting their environmental footprint, but most simply find it a more economical and practical decision that better fits their way of life. No more traffic, no more unnecessary expenses, and no more parking frustrations.
How do car companies plan to compete? Their initial steps are beginning to emerge in the marketplace. Automotive research centers are moving from the car capital of Detroit to Silicon Valley. Like so many other firmly established products that have struggled to stay relevant with changing times, cars are becoming digitized. Today, new technologies allow your car to communicate through your cell phone, and for upgrades to be implemented remotely through a Wi-Fi connection. Meanwhile, electric cars are becoming cleaner and more efficient, and apps are growing more clever in opening up a wealth of additional options.
The film also explores the most advanced form of modern transportation: the autonomous vehicle. Thanks to the efforts of companies like Google, we are entering the age of the self-driving car. Researchers claim this technology could provide unparalleled convenience and safety, but others worry about the potentially negative implications. Can artificial intelligence really be trusted as a stand-in for basic human instinct?
Bye Bye Car illustrates the age-old contest between the inevitability of change and those who are resistant to it. One way or another, mobility is evolving, and society as a whole will either adapt or be left behind.