What Is The Future Of The Automotive Industry?
The automotive industry is undergoing disruptive change. Customers are more demanding, rules and regulations are stricter, competition is stronger and faster, and many companies are looking to move ahead and create autonomous vehicles, with all the multi-faceted benefits they will bring. To meet these new requirements and to realise this long-term vision, new technologies and approaches are needed that push against the status quo.
Car makers and suppliers are being forced to examine conventional resources and traditional fuels as well as tried and true development techniques as a result of individualisation, electrification, and autonomy as well as the constant demand from customers and stakeholders for increased climate responsibility.
There is a huge need for professionals of all kinds in the automotive industry as we move toward a future of electric and autonomous driving, with software, electronics, and autonomous vehicles AI specialists in particular in high demand. Companies such as Cruise, Waymo, and Zoox are developing increasingly sophisticated autonomous driving systems in the US, while Auto-X, Baidu, Pony.AI, and Xpeng are doing the same thing in other parts of the world.
Today, therefore, the future of the automotive industry is at a turning point. The most exciting innovations are occurring in the field of digital technology and automotive software and service advancements are redefining the way we traditionally think of the car. Leaders in the supply chain have realised that digitisation offers a chance to address these issues and driving this change is essential for those that want to succeed in the automotive industry’s future.
As electric vehicles start to take over and new players are emerging onto the scene, the altering automotive landscape is bringing with it rapid changes to the industry’s traditional business models. Instead of many suppliers and OEMs feeding into incumbents, the new automotive world is giving rise to vertically integrated organisations. This is because the new companies developing autonomous vehicles understand the importance of having full control over every aspect of their products.
Therefore, many use IP designs
; to build customised, high-performance, energy-efficient silicon semiconductors that have the capacity and capability to open up this new world. Using IP also enables these new players to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive market, without having to take on the cost and risk of developing the technology themselves.
An electric vehicle makes use of an electric motor acting as the primary means of propulsion, rather than a petrol or diesel engine. A car could have one or two motors, or it could be several. As a result, a battery is needed for the motor, which, like other batteries, needs to be charged before use. For the owner, this specifically means that the car can be charged by electricity instead of by gasoline or diesel. The environment may theoretically be saved from the ensuing CO2 emissions in this way.
Charge times, range anxiety, and vehicle pricing are the three main consumer issues preventing the adoption of electric vehicles, but with considerable advancements on the horizon, battery technology is set to advance, and prices for EVs are expected to fall. The problem of public charging infrastructure will also get better as governments offer incentives to businesses to install electric vehicle charging stations and as energy providers begin to offer home tariffs that are compatible with electric vehicles thus increasing the amount of electric car sales seen around the globe. As such, the popularity of electric cars will increase over the coming years. Experts are forecasting that by 2030 almost a third of second-hand car sales will be electric, as buyers snap-up more electric vehicles coming onto the used market
Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are designed to make driving easier and safer. Parking assistance, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control, to name just a few, are already widespread today.
However, when it comes to the future of automotive technology, many in the automotive sector are working towards fully autonomous cars. The development of self-driving car technology is advancing quickly. In fact, self-driving cars are already on the road in a city near you, but with a safety driver inside who is always ready to take over.
Some automotive companies claim that they already have complete self-driving capabilities, but these are limited to what is considered Level 2 autonomy. Level 2 indicates that the driver must still be actively involved in operating the vehicle. The transition to Level 3, where it’s entirely hands-off unless the system “requests intervention,” is significant; thus, for reasons of legal liability and to prevent potential lawsuit difficulties, many of the manufacturers do not yet feel comfortable asserting full autonomy. When it eventually becomes available, Level 3 will be a function that can only be used at slow speeds, such as driving in a gridlock.
There are currently several levels of autonomous vehicle driving technologies. Full driving automation is the final level, and at this stage a fully autonomous car will be able to drive anywhere there are roads, or even off road, depending on the car itself. At this final level, driverless cars will do away with steering wheels and pedals, as there will be no requirement for them. Find out more about how self driving cars work.
As to be expected with incumbents, their approach to new advances has predominantly been incremental, rather than following the intuitive leaps that are required with breakthroughs and innovation. The new companies however are willing to explore new business models and automotive trends, such as mobility-as-a-service. As such, future generations may not feel the need to own a vehicle: instead, they will summon a ‘robotaxi’ when they need it and relinquish it when they have finished.
This is mobility-on-demand, and for Gen Z and beyond it may one day be the “new normal”. Requested by a smartphone, arriving moments later, autonomously driven, and efficient in getting you to your destination. In the future, robotaxis could be the way we all get around.
An often-quoted figure is that 80% of accidents are caused by human error and the insurance industry is waking up to these changing times. It realises that in the new world, who or what is driving will become a pivotal question.
When there is an accident, the question will be who is culpable and where does liability sit? If an autonomous vehicle is designed to reduce accidents but is involved in one, then who is responsible? Is it the car manufacturer, is it the “driver” of the vehicle, the hardware developers, the software developer who developed the machine learning algorithms, those that created the interface, or the tester who validated the code? These are all key questions.
When there is an accident, the question will be who is culpable and where does liability sit?
If accidents due to human error do not happen in an AV world the insurance companies will have to change their business models. Likewise, car companies may choose to self-insure to make certain they can get to market on time with minimal frustration for the vehicle buyer.
Moving people as efficiently as possible makes sense because cities are where more than half of the world’s population resides. As the car develops into a mobile, software-defined platform it is simple to link the car to “the cloud”. In a smart city, the cloud would alert the vehicle to traffic delays and offer the best routes for energy conservation, efficiency, or even scenic beauty, helping the passengers and improving the ride.
The smart city will take advantage of the Cloud, edge compute and on-device edge artificial intelligence (AI). Our GPUs can display graphics and run compute tasks, while our dedicated AI processors, such as our neural network accelerator (NNA), are designed to execute neural networks hundreds of times faster than CPUs and even GPUs.
A changing landscape
The move into a new automotive world is marked by many changes: changes to the engine in our vehicles, changes to how we interface with the vehicles we drive, changes to the structure of the industry that creates them. And, as mobility is so central to how we live, these changes will even ultimately impact how we organise our cities and our lives.
As such, production-ready solutions and technology are rapidly changing. As the concept of mobility matures, so too does the wider automotive industry.