This is a post about automation, a topic that we hear a lot about these days. We hear that automation will take over a lot of jobs, and it probably will. We hear less about whta broader effects this may have on global economies.
This aspect of automation becomes a bit more clear when one takes a closer look at Elon Musk’s vision for Tesla. Cringely lays it out. Elon Musk is working on a robotic system that will drastically speed up the production of Teslas on a given assembly line. The result? Check this out
Ford has 23 global assembly plants that built 6,651,000 cars and trucks in 2016. … Elon Musk can imagine a single Tesla factory producing 5.25 million cars per year per assembly line (remember the Model 3 is coming from a new assembly line built in the same Fremont factory). Were Tesla able to sell that many cars, they propose duplicating Ford’s entire global production capacity from one factory.
That may be hyperbole. But if it is not, and Tesla can sell its cars, Tesla will become insanely profitable. Ford, GM and the rest will be stuck with huge excess factory capacity and will be in the crapper for years as they retool.
Generalizing from this, factory design that incorporates automation in ways that drastically speeds up production may be the mother of all growth markets over the next years.