What the Future Holds for the Automotive Industry?
The automotive industry has faced many challenges since the first cars rolled out of factories in the 1800s. Automobiles have become an integral part of society as a means of transportation for people and goods.
Given the importance of vehicles, many automotive companies focus on research, development, and innovation to deliver the best products to customers.
Automobiles Are Getting Smarter
The future of automobiles involves offering additional smart technology and features. We’ve come a long way since the days of steam-powered cars. In those times, vehicles consisted of a seat with wheels powered by an engine. In contrast, today’s automotive companies are in a constant battle for the latest features.
Car manufacturers first removed the need to shift with automatic transmission, and then they removed the need for maps with GPS. Now, they’re working on removing the need for drivers to control cars.
With automakers hard at work developing self-driving cars, experts see future roads filled with cars that can drive themselves. Radar sensors and complex algorithms can help accomplish this.
Machine-learning technology plays a significant role in the safety and navigation of self-driving cars. It creates a map of the surrounding area based on sensors. Meanwhile, control features monitor other vehicles. The data powers the understanding of the surroundings.
Complex software could process the data to operate the vehicle. With this technology, the car knows the direction to take, how to steer, when to accelerate, and when to hit the brakes. In the future, automobiles will operate themselves, with vehicle occupants becoming mere passengers.
Development is expected to wane in 2023. However, companies continue to take steps toward this goal, albeit at a slower pace.
Not only are cars becoming smarter, but they are also more self-reliant. Companies are working on features to reduce vehicle maintenance. One example is regenerative braking.
Automobile brakes rely on tremendous force to stop the vehicle. Regenerative braking takes the excess kinetic energy that otherwise goes to waste and turns it into electricity. The motor then receives the electricity as power.
Mobile information integration is another factor. Many car owners frequently worry whether their vehicle is in good condition. Drivers do not want to take on a cross-border drive only to find something is wrong in the middle of the trip. Information integration could prevent that.
One future service possible through mobile integration information is preventive maintenance. With this, the car becomes capable of monitoring its own systems and doing self-diagnosis. It relays key information to the owner. As a result, car owners get an early warning about their vehicles’ operational performance and potential issues.
Another key feature of future cars is integration with technology. We live with smart technology everywhere. From computers to smartphones, we are a voice command away. Why not integrate cars into the mix?
Volvo has already taken a step toward this. Partnering with Google, the automotive company is planning to introduce features to allow car owners to use voice commands with their vehicles. Examples include the following:
- Turning the car on and off
- Controlling the heating and cooling systems
- Providing car information
Integrating technology could also mean making better use of time spent on the road. Most people equate their daily commute to lost time. That could change with the right technology. The goal is to deliver productivity apps in the car.
Future vehicles would allow owners to do the following on the road:
- Making calls
- Joining meetings
- Checking emails
- Work on presentations
What is lost in the commute could be brought back with the right technology integration. However, with all the new features and integration, the issue of privacy comes up. Customers expect personalization, but that means providing personal data. This means automotive companies must have safeguards in place to protect car owners’ personal information.
Meeting Customer Expectations
Modern customers have varying expectations, and there is no single vehicle that can meet all customer needs. Instead, car manufacturers offer a variety of options.
That has led to the development of crossover vehicles. The idea is to give people an in-between option. Need more space than a car without going with a truck? You can now choose from a wide range of crossover vehicle models.
Innovation Is the Mindset
Having an innovative mindset is the key to remaining competitive in the automotive industry. These new features improve customer experience. When people choose between cars, they typically go with one that offers the functions they need. Advanced technology could influence consumers’ choices of vehicles.
Either manufacturers disrupt the industry, or they will get disrupted. Everyone is trying to create the next best thing to offer the public. They should never stop innovating, not only in terms of car features and performance. Using new technology, manufacturers could develop new business models.
Traditional business models for automakers include vehicle sales, after-sales services, and financial services such as loans. Advancements in technology can improve these services. For instance, social media platforms create an opportunity for market research. These platforms can also be a channel for after-sales services.
Moreover, websites and apps can now process financial data. These processes are more accessible to customers through technology.
New business models are developed, too. Mobility as a service (MaaS) and cars as a platform are good examples. With MaaS, customers can book vehicles for specific tasks. Ride-sharing apps are an example of that, as they are starting to eliminate the need for some people to own a car. That does not mean doom for automakers; it presents an opportunity to adjust their focus instead.
Innovation provides flexibility for manufacturers. It allows automotive companies to be prepared for disruption, which can happen anytime.
Learning From the Past
As the recent COVID-19 pandemic has proven, the supply chain is highly vulnerable. One small change can cause a ripple effect, disrupting the entire chain. Costs tend to go up in that scenario, and it is the customer who pays for that.
The COVID-19 pandemic severely affected the entire global supply chain. All industries felt the consequences of shutdowns. According to studies, the auto industry was among the hardest hit. Study results showed that over 50% of the auto sector said the disruption to them was very significant. That was the highest proportion across all other industries in the survey.
The biggest supply chain issue that affected the automotive industry was the automotive microchip shortage. Semiconductors and computer chips are crucial in powering modern vehicles’ advanced features. The semiconductor shortage resulted in production almost grinding to a halt.
Automotive production processes have not yet fully recovered from these shortages. As a result, auto experts remain unsure about whether now is a good time to buy a car.
The silver lining is digitization. The pandemic accelerated automotive companies’ progress in adopting new technology. It helped them recover and develop new supply chain processes.
The pandemic was not the first disruption the auto industry experienced, and it surely will not be the last. Automakers should expect more to come, as future disruptions could come from their progress.
What the Future Holds for the Automotive Industry
It is interesting to see how individual vehicle ownership could become obsolete. The current popularity of ride-sharing apps and other MaaS platforms shows that many customers prefer this means of transportation. This is also why automakers are focusing on driverless technology.
That means innovation is turning the automotive industry away from its current business model. Instead of losing to new customer preferences, automotive companies are leaning toward these changes. In doing so, they remain in control. This flexibility could be a significant aspect of future innovations in the automotive industry.
* This article is written by Cedric Jackson. Cedric is a freelance writer who is passionate about internet marketing, automotive, travel, and the entertainment world.