Spent a fascinating morning yesterday at a conference in London, whose less-than-exciting title ‘Intelligent Mobility Summit’ proved exactly the opposite.

It opened a window on the future significance of electronics in automobiles— an area that’s mostly ignored by us scribblers — although I suspect that many forum members earn their daily bread in this vital industry.

Speakers from BMW, Ford, GM and Nissan lined-up alongside IBM and chip-maker Qualcomm, producer of no less than 1.5m chips a day, to suggest solutions to the pressing problem of too many cars on too little road space.

Global gridlock, it is reckoned, is just around the corner with the car park estimated to add 400m new vehicles in the next decade — a 50 per cent increase — and most will be in cities.

Ford’s former chief engineer Richard Parry-Jones — now co-chair of the Automotive Council and also chairman-elect of Network Rail — made the key point early on: “Networked vehicles under digital control are going to become the future of car manufacturing.” Those words will no doubt prove prophetically true, because the age of the digital car is already well and truly here.

I knew that most cars were festooned with computers, but 75 ECUs is now the norm and we’re heading towards 100 – the Chevy Volt already has that number.