How are things likely to change in future for the automotive industry with the advancement of connectivity and technology? Here’re the possibilities.
Engineers are aligning human mobility with the experience of humans.
The race is on. The automotive industry is undergoing a radical transformation, led by innovative automakers, software developers, and technology companies. In addition to refining and redefining old technologies, they are introducing new, exciting concepts like artificial intelligence and the connected car that will give us a driving experience that’s unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before.
Let’s look at that future
The autonomous car provides transportation without the need for a driver to pay attention to the road – a driver-less car eliminates the need for driver oversight. A vehicle is equipped with all the entertainment, information, and access to the outside world that someone would have in their home, office, or favourite coffee shop.
Every aspect of the interior is thought out on the basis of personal comfort, including the temperature, some window tinting in order to reduce glare, or even the customized ambient lighting for the best mood to match the music played over the satellite radio station.
In the thickest traffic, the car provides a cocoon of safety that is connected to the world outside the car through a digital cockpit platform and a network of sensors placed around it.
Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) technology allow the car to communicate with other cars and the infrastructure like traffic lights. Vehicle speed and the distance to other vehicles can be adjusted immediately in response to conditions on the road. Voice recognition allows drivers to communicate with a virtual personal assistant to schedule meetings and send text messages without taking their hands off the wheel while the vehicle’s navigation system guides the car through traffic. Everything a person needs is at their command.
Trends Driving Automotive Connectivity
In the past 25 years, the road vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine has undergone a more extensive transformation than it had in the previous century. The last 25 years have been witnessing increasing standardization, platform sharing, and computer-aided design in the automotive industry.
We have also seen rapidly rising fuel efficiency and engine output. Technology that enhances the driving experience – such as GPS navigation systems, rear-view cameras, and keyless ignition – is common in today’s car. These features are not merely accepted, but expected, by car buyers.
More importantly, connectivity is essential to both autonomous vehicles and smart cities. The majority of the technological advances in automobiles have been focused on improving safety and providing simple user conveniences, such as GPS navigation. In modern vehicles, much of the technological magic takes place underneath the hood, behind the dashboard, and through sensors that are mounted in the panels. It’s made a difference.
The advent of these safety-centric technologies and the inevitable departure of human operators from vehicles have motivated the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in partnership with the National Transportation Safety Board and several nongovernmental organizations, such as the National Safety Council, to implement its Road to Zero initiative. Major public policy influencers have teamed up in this partnership to eliminate traffic fatalities in 30 years by addressing issues of roadway behaviour and vehicle usage. New technologies will lead the way to this goal.
Even more exciting, today’s automakers, software developers and leading technology companies are bringing innovative technology out from behind the curtain. They’re striving to create a unified, fully integrated, and highly personalized vehicle experience – the connected car – that will completely change the way we think of driving (if that term will even have relevance 20 years from now). Electric and driverless cars, the advanced state of artificial intelligence technology, increased applications of environmental sensors with onboard computer systems, and connectivity of Wi-Fi through telematics and digital platforms are revolutionizing the future of mobility.
Which Technologies Will Have the Greatest Impact?
This exciting future is before us. There are still challenges with the traffic infrastructure and affordability of the products associated with many of the technologies that will transform the driving experience. The following are seven trends that are affecting the way future roads are being paved, and we’ll look at how each will shape in the future.
- Driverless Cars
“Driverless,” “autonomous” and “self-driving” are all terms that have come to mean pretty much the same thing: a vehicle that can drive itself with no human intervention required, at least under some circumstances. The companies racing to develop the first driverless car include major automakers and technology companies.
The first truly driverless car will be a game-changer. But don’t expect to see widespread acceptance and production of driverless cars for at least another decade due to the need for a connected infrastructure and advancement of other technologies, such as V2V.
- AI Interfaces
Building upon technology that, for now, is confined to smartphones or smart speakers, automakers will provide artificial intelligence software in a vehicle’s infotainment system that will serve as a virtual personal assistant with the ability to respond to voice commands and proactively guide drivers in collaboration with its navigation system. Automakers are expected to introduce models with AI interfaces as early as possible.
But that’s not all. With the increasing use of sensors and other technologies that collect data, AI will be key to making sense of everything. Some automobiles already use AI for Level 3 autonomous driving, but for the industry to reach Level 5, major enhancements need to be made to the car as well as the infrastructure.
Automotive telematics plays a vital role in assessing driver behaviour for a wide range of purposes, from determining a more accurate insurance premium to learning more about when and where people drive. Dealerships value telematics as a way to monitor vehicle diagnostic and smart maintenance services.
Currently, it is estimated that between 60 and 80 percent of cars sold in 2017 contained installed telematics, however, the market for connected car packages continue to focus on premium vehicles. By 2022, 75 per cent of connected car packages will be sold as part of smaller, less expensive cars.
- Vehicle-to-Vehicle Connectivity
V2V technology, as the name implies, allows vehicles on a road to “talk to each other” by sharing data on speed, road conditions and other factors through an ad-hoc network created among vehicles. V2V shows great promise in helping to avoid crashes, ease traffic congestion, and improve the environment.
Taking the concept one step further, “vehicle-to-everything” (V2X) technology will make it possible for vehicles to communicate with smart traffic signals and even conduct a transaction at a gas pump. It is expected that all new cars on the road will have V2V technology installed by 2023 and that V2X technology will follow along shortly thereafter.
- Sensor Application
Innovative sensors monitor and regulate a car’s operation and provide the foundation for autonomous driving by sharing important data in demanding applications, such as engines and brake and transmission systems. Sensors such as LiDAR, radar, cameras and ultrasonic are significantly impacting auto safety, security and vehicle maintenance costs. The future for sensors is now, and it is only a matter of how they are integrated into AI and connected car technologies that will determine their possibilities.
- The Totally Connected Car
There’s a good chance your next car will be every bit connected as your smartphone, with access to the internet and the Cloud. Don’t be surprised if, at some point in the not-too-distant future, Internet access will be as important as fuel efficiency and engine power when you purchase your next car. Widespread access to a connected car is not here yet, but I agree with the experts who predict that 90 percent of new cars will be connected to the internet by 2020.
- Brain-to-Vehicle Technology
Brain-to-Vehicle technology uses a device to imperceptibly measure brain wave activity, which is analysed by the vehicle’s autonomous systems and used to predict and eventually anticipate driver behaviours. B2V technology may not be for everyone. It requires the use of a headset dotted with electrodes that either press directly against a person’s scalp or come as close as possible.
However, predictions are that the B2V applications can help drivers avoid accidents caused by abrupt lane changes and other unsafe driving practices. We’re still away from seeing the wide adoption of B2V technology, based upon the advancement of supporting technologies.
For the first time, with the integration of AI and connected car internet access into the way we travel from Point A to Point B, the concept of human mobility is being engineered in alignment with the human experience – the communities in which we live and the way we interact with the world around us. Not all the trends that excite us today will survive the challenge of taking a bold vision into the future. However, the ideas that move from trend to reality will have a major impact on how we live our lives. The automobile as we know it today will soon become a relic and freedom of the road will take on an entirely new meaning.