I have often seen technology capture the imagination of the auto industry. And I have also seen the industry resist, kicking and screaming, new technology. Like the airbag, for instance.
But once carmakers accepted the airbag, they went hog-wild. Soon they were installing around 10 of them in a single vehicle.
Still, I have never seen the auto industry become as obsessed with new technology as it has been recently with the autonomous vehicle and the electric car.
EVs aren't new, of course, but Elon Musk and Tesla have piqued the interest of many companies that at first paid little attention to his products. As Tesla's sales have grown, other companies began developing their own longer-range electric vehicles -- regardless of Musk's financial losses.
Tesla's influence has been enormous. It appears the new threshold for EVs is 200 miles. And we'll see more hybrids available as a kind of compromise for folks who are still nervous about range.
As for autonomous vehicles, everyone seems to have gone a little crazy.
Despite the cost and complexity, automakers have jumped in with both feet to develop self-driving cars. We are hearing all sorts of promises that seem far-fetched given all the testing that still must be done.
Ford has promised an autonomous car without a steering wheel or pedals in less than five years, a breathtaking time period. Others don't plan to be left behind.
And that's not all that's happening on the technology front. Toyota has added fuel to the fire by developing a vehicle that runs on hydrogen in California.
As always, there will be winners and losers. But it's exciting to see so such competition involving so much new technology.
Just when we thought things had calmed down, it gets interesting again.
Never a dull moment in the car business.