Driving Change: 5 Automotive Trends and Innovations | Hacker Noon

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During the Coronavirus pandemic, people’s attitudes towards public transportation and carsharing have changed. They are not safe enough. Precisely because of that, most users are now finding comfort in owning a private vehicle

Automotive manufacturers see this trend as an opportunity to attract customers and improve car sales. And, to do so, they need to provide users with impeccable, personalized user experiences.

Here is what technologies and trends are dominating the automotive industry in 2020.  

Electric Vehicles Are Gaining Momentum

The 2020 Global Automotive Consumer Study performed by Deloitte claims that electrified vehicles (plug-in, battery-electric, hybrid, and fuel cell cars) are getting more and more popular. Today, many consumers are willing to switch from harmful internal combustion engines to sustainable and cheaper electric cars. 

Still, the same research study suggests that the adoption of electric cars is slow. In most countries, including the US, India, Germany, and China, consumers still prefer diesel vehicles over their electric counterparts. Moreover, when making purchases, they are not willing to pay more for a hybrid electric vehicle.

That only proves that consumers need to be educated about the importance of electric vehicles, including their safety improvements, health benefits, sustainability, and lower battery costs.

The Adoption of Autonomous Vehicles Keeps Stalling

The fast progress made in machine learning, deep learning, neural networks, and artificial intelligence has resulted in the creation of autonomous vehicles. Also called self-driving cars, autonomous cars are designed to reshape global traffic networks. Equipped with sophisticated technologies based on AI, such as computer vision, these technologies reduce the need for human intervention. 

They can benefit drivers in multiple ways, including:

  • Reducing traffic deaths by 90%.
  • Boosting lane capacity.
  • Lowering traffic congestion.
  • Minimizing harmful emissions.
  • Cutting travel time by 40%.
  • Helping disabled or elderly individuals live more independent lives.

According to Deloitte, 15% of new cars sold in 2030 could be fully autonomous. 

While autonomous vehicles may benefit drivers in multiple ways, the acceptance of these technologies is still quite low. The recent reports of accidents caused by autonomous vehicles have impacted consumers’ perceptions of self-driving technologies for good.

The report by Deloitte says that reports of accidents involving autonomous cars made 68% of Americans cautious of these technologies. Consequently, 56% of Americans claim they would not want to ride in a self-driving car.

The Deloitte report also suggests that consumers do not trust current leaders in the automotive industry. They would trust more a new automotive company that specializes in autonomous technologies.

Personalized User Experiences

Young and tech-savvy generations will have an immense impact on the development of the automotive industry. Still, from the customer experience viewpoint, vehicles have not changed much since the 1990s. 

When they come off the production line, all car models are uniform. To adapt vehicles to their specific needs and personalities, customers choose to make stylistic changes, such as buying personalised number plates, changing seat covers, customizing the steering wheel cover, or inserting LED lights. 

With the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, vehicle personalization is not limited to such functional accessories. With the help of modern technologies, in-vehicle experiences are migrating from one-size-fits-all solutions to highly personalized, optimized, and safe driving experiences.

Just like mobile phones, laptops, or search engines, connected cars collect their owners’ information. By capturing user data, cars are continuously “learning” about their owners’ needs, preferences, problems, and expectations and adapt to them. 

For example, vehicle-to-everything technology will send drivers real-time traffic notifications and collision alerts to help them detect obstacles and update safety measures. AI-backed vehicles can even make the adjustments needed to protect a user.

AI-driven predictive technologies are also synonymous with personalization. For example, smart sensors integrated into the vehicle will track its performance and inform you if the car needs service.

Greater Connectivity

Smart home security systems, wearable tech monitors, smart home appliances, autonomous farming tools are just some of the numerous examples of connected devices.

The Internet of Things is transforming almost every aspect of our lives, and smart vehicles are no exception.

Simply put, connected cars have an internet connection and a WLAN. Internet connections allow them to connect with other devices inside or outside of the car and share data, access files, download software updates, and communicate with other IoT devices.

The idea behind connectivity is simple – providing users with better security, navigation, infotainment, and diagnostics.  

For example, a connected car can connect with a smartphone app. This is how you may find a parking spot easier, ask for directions, or remotely start your engine.  

While connectivity makes our lives easier, consumers are still split on the benefits of these technologies. According to Deloitte, in India, 80% of users believe that vehicle connectivity is beneficial, while in Germany, this number is significantly lower – 36%. 

As with any connected device, data privacy and security concerns are also rising. Consumers’ are worried about who would store and manage the data captured by the vehicle – the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), a dealer, or the government.

The Rise of Car Sharing and MaaS 

Shared mobility is not a new concept. However, the growth of artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles is changing the mere idea of carsharing. Namely, users do not need to look for a shared car in their neighborhood anymore. Instead, they can request a ride to wherever they are via a reliable “on-demand” service.

Shared mobility is expected to soon become a reliable alternative to personally-owned car modes of transportation. According to some recent estimations, at least 1 in 3 kilometers driven could involve some form of a sharing concept. 

That trend may result in the rise of tailor-made mobility-as-a-service (MaaS). Statista predicts that MaaS is about to reach a market capitalization of $9.5 trillion by 2030.

Ready to Embrace Change?

The examples provided above only prove that tech innovations are transforming the automotive industry. The IoT, automation, and artificial intelligence focus on serving each user with highly personalized, safe, connected, and comfortable driving experiences.

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