No point denying that the world will change after the COVID-19, and companies need to consider how to not only save their business but increase profits and market shares. So, what technologies will come in handy in the automotive industry after the pandemic?
- Autopilot and self-driving cars
- Delivery services
- Interaction development
- Fleet management
- Services for electric vehicles
- Automatic parking solutions
- Mobile integrations
- Blockchain and AI
The pandemic flared up unexpectedly and it was hard for anyone to predict what the future would bring. Many countries are still struggling, but certain trends that will dominate in the near future have already surfaced. For example, remote work has become a major global trend. Now we can narrow the scope of research to the automotive industry and focus on analyzing the trends that can be expected for car manufacturers and drivers in the near future.
Cprime Studios shared his insights on the future of the auto industry below.
Autopilot and self-driving cars
Self-driving cars currently exist only in science fiction. Elon Musk has long promised to make them a reality, but as of now, the technology is restricted to semi-autonomous cars. The pandemic has forced companies to look at self-driving cars from a different angle. In the post-pandemic reality, this is another good way to maintain social distance.
According to one study, 20% of people who previously used public transport have avoided it since the coronavirus pandemic started because of the risk of being infected. What’s more, even using the usual taxi or Uber poses issues because the passenger is still in contact with the driver, and not all cars are disinfected after each trip. Self-driving cars can be a solution for taxi services by eliminating the need to maintain a team of drivers thereby decreasing the risk of infection.
However, it would be wrong to overlook the possible risks and other issues associated with self-driving cars. Questions about ownership and liability for damage caused by such an invention are still open.
But there is good news. While self-driving cars designed for transporting passengers are still waiting for us in the future, more than 100 driverless vehicles are being used to assist with street disinfecting in China. Other countries will also likely take advantage of that option very soon.
Robots are a great way to get food delivered in a contactless and safe manner. It also reduces harmful emissions from cars and saves money on couriers. For example, robotic pizza delivery has already been implemented in Phoenix, and demand for these devices is growing at a fast pace.
It is also expected that companies will use robots to not only deliver food orders from restaurants but also to deliver everything from small online purchases like clothes or toys to medicines, laboratory tests, and even documents that require a signature and more.
Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) are already used by leading auto brands to improve the user experience, maximize customization, and maintain sales at a high level. However, what happens if you integrate these technologies into your driving experience?
According to our expert, it is expected that AR technologies will help the user while driving. For example, using special devices will allow the driver to see more of the maneuvers of other drivers on the road. It will be like having additional rear- and side-view mirrors that can be viewed on the dashboard.
Automated fleet management systems are already on the rise. They are suitable for logistics and transportation companies and are great for optimization, waste reduction, and cost-cutting. In post-pandemic conditions, these solutions will become even more advanced and needed.
For example, these systems are powered by machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), and they will be able to make smart suggestions on how to manage your fleet in a way that will satisfy customers’ demand and avoid downtime due to technical or traffic issues.
You can find more info in this success story where we described how we built a Warehouse, Fleet, and Service Management System for Renault.
Services for electric vehicles
The global electric vehicle fleet is going to double by 2022 and reach 25 million units compared to the 13 million units currently in use worldwide, according to Statista. Such a large number of new generation cars require infrastructure including charging stations and specialized services for the maintenance of these cars.
In addition, the concept of green cars goes well with the idea of the sharing and on-demand economy we are in (e.g. many taxi services around the world already use electric cars exclusively). There is also a strong trend to preserve the environment which increases the demand for environmentally friendly automobiles.
Personalization drives marketing and all areas of business that customize products for consumers. As for the automotive industry, customizations have great potential to make car usage as safe and enjoyable as possible.
For example, it is expected that more advanced applications for drivers will collect and analyze data on an individual driver’s behaviors, identify patterns such as regular visits to certain gas stations or cafes, monitor the technical condition of the car, and notify the driver if a specific part needs to be replaced.
Automatic parking solutions
According to forecasts, the size of the smart parking market is going to reach $11,5 million by 2025, compared to only $5 million in 2017. Advanced parking is an integral part of the smart city ecosystem. For example, this solution has been in place in San Francisco for years. The mobile application will locate free parking spaces and prompt the driver free parking spaces are near or provide information about the cost of paid parking spots available, and also indicate the route to the spots, thereby saving the driver time and fuel.
Smart parking is a logical consequence of all the trends that we described above. Most innovations in the automotive industry have three common goals: reducing fuel consumption and emissions, ensuring driver safety, and improving the user experience. Automatic parking will accomplish these three goals, and in a post-pandemic environment, a smart solution might even advise the driver where to find less crowded places to visit.
In order to collect and analyze data, as well as offer the driver the best suggestions, there should be some kind of intermediary between the system and the driver. It is logical to assume that these will be the most advanced mobile applications, which will also be integrated with wearable devices like smartwatches, and they will offer the opportunity for smooth operation even if the Internet connection is weak.
Of course, these applications will be the goal and customer-specific, for example, universal driver assistants can be available for every driver, or they can be highly customized solutions for companies that want driver behavior monitoring systems that we have previously explained.
Blockchain and AI
When looking at these trends as a whole, we see a direct connection with big data. And big data means big vulnerabilities that can become critical when it comes to self-driving cars. For example, these kinds of autos and trucks can become dangerous weapons in the hands of attackers. At the moment, blockchain is perhaps the most reliable way to protect information within a particular network.
What’s more, blockchain technology integrates perfectly with the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, as well as with AI, which can offer additional protection against hacking and fraud due to its great analytical skills.
As predicted before the pandemic, the automotive and transportation services industries are moving toward the maximum utilization of new technologies, the use of big data, as well as the preservation of the environment. The pandemic has encouraged inventors to speed up the development of driverless cars and inspired companies to revise their strategies and bet big on technologies for future automobile development.
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