Seven Technology Trends Driving the Automotive Industry into the Future. Before we get into the debate of whether self-driving cars will ever see the light of the day, what we should be asking ourselves is:
What exactly is the future of the automotive industry?
Are cars becoming more comfortable in the future? Or, cars able to make decisions for themselves are the future?
Elon Musk says that Autonomous Driving Systems (ADS) vehicles will outdo the human-driven vehicles by the middle of next decade.
Many companies are seconding his opinion, and Tesla, Ford, Toyota, Mercedes, BMW, and many other top car makers of the world are hell-bent on bringing the automotive industry on the verge of a revolution.
In this article, we will discuss what technologies these car companies are using to take the automotive sector to the next level and what their chances are to succeed in doing it.
Biofuel, Electric, & Green Cars
Cars are becoming smarter every day. We have reached a point where cars can at least drive without human intervention on the highways.
Cars have also become more fuel-efficient. It would not be wrong to say that cars of today have become eco-friendly with zero carbon footprint. While the third world is still busy buying fossil-fuel cars, the first world has adopted eco-friendly cars as the only mode of transport.
Norway is one country where you will only find electric or biofuel driven cars. The country keeps a strict check on carbon emissions, and no one can get away bypassing its rules. This has also led to a green revolution in the automotive industry, and more companies are now working on cars that are made either using biofuels or run entirely on electricity.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Where IoT has revolutionized the tech industry, it was the core reason self-driving cars came to the market. No one could have imagined what revolution can be brought if chips can be controlled through the cloud.
On average, an ADS car uses over a trillion transistors built on small chips too small to be seen by the naked eye. However, these are the driving factors – or should we say the controlling factors – that keep the car in motion. Behind the scenes, these transistors are passing gigabytes of data per second between various memory, storage, and processing units – all working to keep the car in control so that the passengers of the vehicle can travel safely.
Tesla’s Latest Car Chip: Source: Verge
We just spoke of IoTs and how they are revolutionizing the automotive industry. It would be wrong not to mention cloud computing, the brain of self-driving cars.
Think of the cloud as the mother brain of cars. While the self-driving car is exchanging information between many units installed on the car, information like the best routes to take, the speed breakers on the road, the curves, potholes, and all those things are relayed to the car from the central computer or the cloud. Keeping all this information – which is in thousands of petabytes – in the storage unit of the car is almost impossible. That’s why self-driving cars need to stay connected with the internet.
Moreover, the requirements for better and secure data centers that have high transfer speeds have increased even further because of the emerging demands of the car manufacturers.
AI & Machine Learning
Another major factor that led to self-driving cars was the research and development in the field of machine learning.
From passing the Turing test to drawing the most horrendous pictures on earth, machines have become highly advanced due to their ability to learn and adapt faster. Now combine that with self-driving cars or even robots, and you have a new species called smart bots. The same types of smart bots are being used in self-driving cars, and they are adapting to their environment fast.
Although it would be necessary to mention here that mistakes in self-driving cars can cost lives, companies are now working on areas where they can reduce the damage to humans and maximize safety in their cars through advanced learning techniques, better safety equipment, and alarm-raising devices in cars.
Data Science & Big Data
Another opportunity that the automotive industry has opened is the corrective use of big data.
With so many IoT-enabled cars on the road, we are bound to get a lot of data stored on the cloud. This data can be used for many reasons.
For starters, experts can understand consumer mindset through cars such as favorite traveling music, favorite travel destinations, whether people travel alone or with others, which car brands they like, what radio channels they listen to, so on and so forth. All this data will be available to create even better experiences for the passengers. Think about an In-car theatre system that will work just like Netflix and that too on the instructions of your voice commands.
Mobile-First to Mobility-First?
We are living in a mobile-first world. Everything is available on our mobile phones. Camera, browser, games, books, communication channels, thermometer, GPS, working tools, and anything else you can name – all this is available on smartphones. Now think one-step ahead. Getting all this in your car. And this is very much a possibility. The future of cars looks like where you will be sitting in an interactive pod. Don’t trust me? Check out this ad by Toyota. And the best part is that you can buy a car like this one online very soon!
Now think of a self-healing car. Can that ever be a reality? Yes! There are car manufacturers like Lamborghini that are working on vehicles that can heal themselves. This would mean no more worrying about dents, scratches, and getting keyed from intruders. All that will be taken care of by the car itself. And, those places that cannot be self-healed, the car will notify its owner through the screen about issues that can cause problems with the car in the future. This will allow the owner to get the car fixed earlier.
The good thing is that all this is going to be a lot sooner than you think. Many of these things have already become a reality and will be hitting the market by 2021.