Innovations in the Automotive Industry: Beyond Electric Cars

Automotive Industry

We are nearing the end of 2017 and the automotive industry is busy innovating at an unprecedented rate. Today, vehicles have become increasingly sophisticated, and onboard technology is turning them into computers on wheels.

Most of the new-generation vehicles are equipped with cutting edge connectivity features, which helps in generating reams of data at high speed, allowing people to drive better and more safely. According to Statista, it is estimated that 98% of the world’s vehicles will be connected to the internet by 2020. Many of the car advancements and trends that came into play this year are absolute game changers- bordering on sci-fi even- thanks to technologies like e-axles, V2X communications, and smart infrastructure.

It isn’t just electric cars or even autonomous vehicles that manufacturers are racing to bring to the market; automobile manufacturers are now seeing a range of technological innovations that are completely transforming the automotive sector worldwide. Here are some of the emerging technology trends that have and will continue to completely revolutionize this industry.

Reinventing the auto industry with Blockchain

Blockchain, the disruptive technology that has recently hogged the limelight in trade, energy, government affairs, media and financial services has finally made its way into the automobile space. From the beginning of 2017, automotive manufacturers have shown significant interest in determining how this technology can be profitably used.

We have reached a stage where fuel economy and vehicle build quality is at a high level, supply chains are more efficient, and vehicles are functional for longer than ever before. However, one of the major transformations that the industry is now undergoing is that the cars are becoming more software oriented and less mechanical. As most automakers are striving to develop fully automated or self-driving vehicles, blockchain technology can serve as a pivotal enabler of change.

Blockchain offers a range of benefits for auto manufacturers, as well as multiple other constituencies across the automotive ecosystem. In fact, blockchain technology serves as a key enabler for self-driving cars because it can facilitate trade between vehicles and other devices in scalable architecture and ensure repeatable outcomes.

Automakers are embracing Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) made its way into the headlines with the release of the Pokémon Go application, and it enjoyed another boost this September when Apple launched an AR toolkit on its new product and operating system. However, it is now gaining the most attention for its use cases in the automotive industry.

AR has emerged on the fringes of the automotive industry, and experts believe that in the next few years, it will make significant inroads in the design, sales, marketing, driver awareness, and servicing of automobiles. It will not only make an impact on how we drive, but it could also be the most important factor in making the driving experience safer.

At CES 2017, several automotive equipment manufacturers demonstrated AR concepts for cars, which could significantly improve safety by placing warnings and providing real-time environment information. In a nutshell, AR technology serves to highlight objects around the vehicle without distracting the driver.

Building the next car with 3D printing

The automobile industry is a hive of mass customization, rapid prototyping, and fast development. Indeed, it is a natural home for 3D printing, and consequently, it is no surprise that top automotive manufacturers are firmly on-board. 3D printing has taken the automotive sector by storm, and is poised to spawn the next trillion-dollar industry, with applications of 3D printing ranging from creating new concepts to printing car parts and more.

In the automotive industry, current evidence from companies across the board clearly exemplifies that the way they manufacture vehicles is subject to rapid reinvention, thanks to 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies.

3D printing has irrevocably disrupted the way cars are designed and developed. Automotive OEMs have adopted and accepted 3D printing as an essential tool that has radically improved the product development process in a way that no other technology has done before. 3D printing technology has evolved dramatically, to the extent that it can now print entire vehicles from scratch in 44 hours.

Machine learning: smartening cars in a connected world

Automakers and innovators are constantly striving to develop technologies that can bring self-driving vehicles closer to practical reality. Autonomous cars employ a range of high-tech sensors and innovative algorithms to identify and respond to their surroundings, including LIDAR, radar, drive-by-wire control systems and computer vision. While these sophisticated technologies give driverless cars the data and intellect to make autonomous decisions, they also create attack routes for hackers to exploit these vehicles.

Machine learning has grown into a vital tool for organizations that are looking to secure their resources. The same is true of the automotive sector, now more than ever. Machine learning in the automotive space lets computers learn without being overly programmed and become increasingly adept when exposed to new data. These cybersecurity systems are self-defending and self-adapting, creating new ways to guard against cyber threats.

Today, it is feasible to employ tactics like unsupervised machine learning in order to distinguish between a malicious exploit and normal driving behavior in an expedient way, allowing the vehicle to alert the driver and prevent the attack with time to spare.

Shifting gears to predictive analytics

The automotive sector is more data-driven now than at any time in its history. Automated manufacturing processes, in-car sensors, GPS tracking and more are producing a virtual mountain of data that can be easily analyzed and understood. From vehicle production to inventory management, the collection and analysis of large volumes of data is helping set the standards for how cars will be built through 2018 and beyond.

Predictive analytics helps automotive manufacturers gain insights that would otherwise be difficult to collate. The dependence on big data and advanced software is picking up speed, especially with predictive analytics, wherein several techniques ranging from data mining, artificial intelligence, machine learning, modeling and statistics are utilized to analyze current data for future predictions. Such smart technology will be crucial in dealing with the realities of competition, cost pressures, market shifts, globalization, and volatility. In simple terms, the automaker’s much protected bottomline!

Understanding the market from an expert perspective- Technavio’s market research reports are compiled to reflect the most current trends, and make informed predictions about the future. As an automaker, are you in sync with the factors that will define your business in 2018? Let’s start with a choice selection of related reports on Automotive Manufacturing.