Moving into top gear, here’s our breakdown of the top AutoTech innovations that will get the automotive industry back on the road to recovery – it’s not just about driverless e-cars, there’s virtual reality dashboards and digital twinning to provide the perfect experience. It’s time to fasten your digital seat belts for our latest industry spotlight

With the pandemic disruption, chip shortages, skyrocketing car prices and assembly plant shutdowns, 2021 was undoubtedly a year to remember for the automotive industry. According to recent reports, the shortages of crucial semiconductors alone cost the industry $210 billion in revenue in 2021. In 2022, the outlook looks more positive in comparison, with the global industry projected to grow to just under nine trillion U.S. dollars by 2030. Challenges still remain as automotive companies continue to navigate ongoing supply chain issues – but tech is ready to help the industry shift gears.

Industry experts believe the pandemic accelerated digitization progress in the automotive sector. In previous years, car manufacturers competed largely on their engineering capabilities, such as superior driving performance and vehicle reliability. These considerations still matter to today’s consumers but many now desire a connected driving experience.

As the industry moves ahead, companies and consumers alike hope the road ahead will be less bumpy – and with recent innovations ready to take the industry into the modern era, one thing is for certain, AutoTech will be in the driving seat:

  1. EVs leading the zero-emission revolution – giving back what it takes

Recent developments in electric vehicles (EVs) technology have the potential to reshape the transportation sector. With local and national governments around the world committing to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 in order to drastically cut carbon emissions, EVs will be key to a greener transport future. EVs could help power millions of households and help balance the demand on power transmission networks or grids, simply by harnessing their battery power.

Many electric vehicles (EVs), such as the new Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, are being produced with the ability to use their onboard battery to send power back to the electricity supply they are connected to. By 2030, the UK for instance, could have almost 11 million electric vehicles on the road. Assuming 50% of these vehicles were able to feed unused energy back into the grid, this would open up opportunities to power 5.5 million households – helping to enhance home energy management and ensure cleaner energy grids for many years to come.

  1. Navigation makes a U-turn with route optimization to map out the best routes

When it comes to delivering mobile services in the automotive industry, technology can be a key differentiator – helping to improve productivity at every service touchpoint. For instance, tech giant Amazon has recently partnered with Stellantis, one of the world’s largest car makers, to create a ‘smart cockpit’ capable of reinventing the in-vehicle experience. Using cloud, AI and machine learning technologies, these new smart cockpits will enhance navigation and will play a key role in enhancing efficiency across Amazon’s US delivery network when rolled out in 2023. In combination with EVs, route optimization can also have the added benefit of helping companies introduce more greener operations, such as creating delivery routes with lower mileage.

  1. Humans take a back seat as autonomous driving adds new safety feature

Car safety has come a long way in recent years, saving thousands of lives already and its future is even more promising. Today, consumers value safety just as much as any other factor when buying a car – with safety features such as rearview cameras and blind-spot monitoring systems now standard equipment on most vehicles. As driver mistakes play a major role in most crashes, automation could be a safety game changer with AutoTech startups leading the way. Minieye for instance, is a self-driving technology developer that is focusing on using AI to improve sensing capabilities and decision-making for autonomous vehicles with the aim of reducing accident rates. Projecting forward current safety data, the implication is autonomous cars will be capable of fulfilling the world’s mobility needs without a single collision before 2050.

  1. No more looking in your rearview mirror as ‘Digital Twins’ enhance personalized monitoring

In recent years, digital twins have increased in popularity – with the global market size, which was $3,210.1 million in 2020, likely to reach $184,517.4 million by 2030. Well, automotive companies are keen to get in on the act. Porsche has already announced that a software update for the Taycan will create a digital twin of individual cars for remote monitoring and data analysis. While we can’t all afford a Porsche, digital twinning is on track to deliver exciting benefits for manufacturers and customers. These digital twins will use data, such as customer driving style and vehicle usage patterns, to improve individual vehicles and predict potential wear and faults, notifying customers exactly when they need to be replaced – and maybe even deliver a true Porsche experience for us mortals. Watch this space!

  1. Rise of the connected dashboard sees AR/VR enter automotive space

Essential data displayed on your windscreen while you look ahead? Safely it’s here. In a similar vein to digital twins, AR/VR are also making a play into the automotive space, as automotive OEMs attempt to distinguish new cars, not by horsepower, but by user experiences and technology offerings. Optical and imaging tech startup Spectralics has received funding from Volvo to work on turning car windshields into massive head-up displays using a multi-layer thin combiner (MLTC). This MLTC film allows images to be projected onto surfaces, creating a large head-up display where virtual objects are layered on top of the real-life view through the windshield. This exciting new feature has the potential to create a more immersive version of the augmented-reality head-up displays, and will certainly be on the wishlists of many car enthusiasts.

AutoTech is primed to get the industry back on track  

The automotive industry has clearly made significant progress on its digitization journey, with AI, digital twins and cloud technologies set to become permanent features on the automotive roadmap! AutoTech will be a significant force, making the driving experience more personalized, enjoyable and safer. 

Hannah Watson is PR Account Executive at IBA International.

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