The automotive industry is experiencing a digital transformation which is not only triggered by technological trends but also by social trends and consumer needs. A metal box on four wheels is becoming a smart driving computer and the strategy used in its manufacturing is also evolving. Thanks to advancements in digital mapping, GPS, processor and sensor systems, autonomous vehicles are now taking shape. Some automakers like Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and BMW are already making a stand in these digital trends. In case you missed it, this article would be explaining the top 5 digital trends that changed the automotive industry in 2019.
1. Autonomous Driving
Autonomous vehicles popularly called driverless cars are a mind-blowing technology that trended in 2019. The adoption of autonomous vehicles will have a definite impact on the economy, business and consumers’ lives. It has enabled highly optimized transportation and asset utilization.
Autonomous driving depends on decision making without human intervention which is made possible by algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI). Some countries have set up plans to use new autonomous technology to provide transportation options to low–income residents. Most industries like mining and farming have adopted autonomous vehicles to minimize the occurrence of accidents.
These vehicles form a critical part of the future of transportation, while benefiting the traveler, the environment and even other sectors such as health care. As self-driving technology continues to advance, the automotive industry has created a unique opportunity to revolutionize the in-car experience, which eventually would become a mobile living room. Apart from being a driverless car, these cars come with interior that enhances sensory experience, is equipped with visual controls and can be customized for both solo and group travel. For instance, when a passenger wants a more relaxed environment, the enhanced sensory can make tune into whisper mode, can dim the interior with ambient lightning, darken the windows and cue the air purifier for temperature-controlled fresh air.
Automated driving has brought about radical changes in some aspects of driving. Due to the connectivity of intelligent technologies, the task of driving will be taken over by the vehicle itself. Automated driving relies on features like sensor technology, cluster connectivity, human-machine dialogue, system architecture, and reliability.
- Sensor technology: Most autonomous vehicles are equipped with advanced driver assistance systems that come with sensors grasping the area around the vehicle better than humans. This sensitivity is achieved using a rear-mirror camera system that increases road safety dramatically.
- Cluster connectivity: The basis for cluster connectivity is the sensor data shared by road users coupled with traffic backend computers. This sensitivity enables the vehicle to “see around corners” and prevent accidents from happening.
- Human-machine dialogue: Automated cars contain components that support interaction between vehicles and drivers making it easier for a machine to provide solutions to humans.
- System architecture: the architecture of automated cars are complex and have advanced functionality, which allows accommodating the increase in sensor output and volume of data.
- Reliability: Automated driving functions as a fallback mode for the driver in case of malfunctions.
Popular automotive companies like Telsa, General motors and Apple have announced plans to develop autonomous vehicles and consumers are anxious to know the features that would be added to each manufactured vehicle.
2. Mobility as a Service (MaaS)
Mobility as a Service (MaaS), sometimes referred to as Transportation as a Service (TaaS), is an on-demand, real-time platform that can include any combination of transport methods (for example, car and bike sharing, taxis, car rentals/leases) and provides everything for the consumer from travel planning to payments.
A mobility distribution model has trended in the automotive industry in 2019. In this model, a person’s transportation needs are met using one interface and are offered by a service provider. It describes a shift away from personally-owned modes of transportation and towards mobility provided as a service. The key concept behind mobility as a service is to offer travelers mobility solutions based on their travel needs. MaaS has many benefits that can improve riding habits and transit network efficiency.
Now, societies adopt Mobility as a Service as a viable means of transportation because it helps in reducing user cost, improving utilization of MaaS providers, reducing city congestion and emissions.
MaaS has lot of benefits for end users too:
- Easy route planning – Using MaaS, users can make use of real-time route in planning journeys using multiple transport
- Simplified payments – MaaS has given users the ability to pay for transportation using phones, smart watches and bank cards, before or after their journey.
3. Additive Manufacturing
Additive manufacturing, also referred to as 3D printing, is a great source of product innovation. Now, popular automotive companies have switched from manually drawing or sketching desired products models to using 3D printing: it is faster, cheaper and also gives full details and layout of a vehicle manufacturing process. Using 3D printing, automotive companies were able to monitor the real-time progress of production processes.
4. Big Data
As a result of connectivity, a lot of data can be collected from different people, places, environment and interactions like the drivers, pedestrians, traffic patterns, gas stations, etc. This data is collated and evaluated to provide better user experiences and functions. This large amount of data needs to be stored securely and most automotive companies are developing data storage and processing systems on cloud because it provides more storage facilities and easy retrieval processes.
5. Digital Shopping
To purchase a car, one used to visit a car showroom, explore options, crosscheck different models and go through other tiring procedures. In 2019, this never-ending procedure came to an end with the introduction of virtual reality showrooms and augmented reality shopping.
Using augmented reality in digital transformation has provided a revolutionary shopping experience. Augmented reality has given buyers the ability to experience how the car feels, sounds and functions. It allows the buyer to select and test dream cars from the comfort of their home without even speaking to a dealer.
Although the automotive companies face many challenges when embarking on digital transformation, these top 5 trends have gained the spotlight and changed the automotive industry in 2019 becoming a stepping stone towards further technological disruption.