By Astha Oriel
With the accelerated digitisation of the world, the automotive industry is gearing up to an enormous change in 2021.
The automotive industry has long been a place where industrial and tech sector disrupts to make innovative solutions. The industry is adopting technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data & analytics that have been around for a while, and newer technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain are also finding numerous applications in the automotive sector. With the accelerated digitisation of the world, the automotive industry is gearing up to an enormous change in 2021. The sector has seen unprecedented twists and turns in the past ten years. They’ve turned sleeker, safer and capable of higher speeds.
Ultimately, just like how McKinsey reported in 2016, the auto industry is gradually moving towards the future age, wherein automakers will find themselves generating more revenue and users will find themselves enjoying innovative driving solutions. But 2020 was a slow year with not many people buying cars during the Covid-19 pandemic period. However, the industry is starting to rebound and gives an array of hope to everyone. Henceforth, Analytics Insight brings you a list of tech trends that will dominate the automotive industry in 2021.
AI-based autonomous vehicle
AI-based autonomous vehicles are the frontrunners in the automotive industry. Artificial intelligence is already enabling smart travel methods through self-driving cars. These cars do not require drivers and rely on sensors and software for navigation and control. Autonomous vehicles are aimed to reduce the need for human drivers and make everyday transport easy. Studies reflect that there are around 1,400 self-driving cars on the US roads today.
Even though when it is not a big number, the change of mind in people to go for or trust autonomous vehicles is drastically increasing. Big players like Tesla, Google, Uber are strongly pushing the limits of autonomous cars, making it more reliable. However, the Covid-19 pandemic was a big hit which temporarily staggered the improvement of self-driving vehicles. With the autonomous vehicle industry estimated to be worth US$556 million by 2026, investments will likely continue to pour in, especially as further applications are explored.
Digital marketing and dealing
The futuristic view of selling automotive vehicles online came to effect during the coronavirus pandemic. Even though when in-person visiting to dealership stores and trial driving was a mandatory part of buying a car, the lockdown protocols that limited the move switched its track to online medium. Not all, but at least a small proportion of people feel comfortable about the change.
Vehicle buyers are able to compare different car models unlike going on with the dealer’s suggestion. Modern dealerships are trying to normalise online car buying by offering provisions starting form virtual tours to secure checkout, online financial options and returns policies. So far, 81% of the buyers are not okay with buying new or old cars online. However, this is expected to change in 2021.
The increase in fossil fuel rate and the harm to the environment caused by their use has changed the automotive industry outlook to electric vehicles (EVs). Cars contribute to 15% of carbon emissions, which deplete precious fossil fuel reserves and causes potential irreversible environmental damage.
Electric cars on the other hand are addressing the challenges by leveraging a higher level of energy efficiency and reduced fuel usage. In August 2020, there were over 1.6 million electric vehicles on the US road, which is exponentially higher than the expected 1.4 million by 2024. Still, for greater adoption and people’s acceptance, electric vehicles need to come up with solutions on high price, poor battery, inadequate charging infrastructure, fleet electrification and renewable energy-based charging grids.
Blockchain has been likened to the second generation of the internet. It has the ability to transform an organisation’s processes. This includes sharing vehicle data over a secure network for connectivity and shared mobility solutions such as ride-hailing, urban transportation and deliveries. Blockchain is used in the verification process to improve efficiency across supply chain and back-office works. It can be utilized in management and incentives to improve vehicle information and usage data across the industry. The disruption of blockchain in automotive is anticipated to increase in the upcoming year.
The automotive industry is always facing a demand for new vehicles and spare products. The thirst for newer, better performing vehicles, as well as the need to optimize production and streamline supply chains and logistics, is also spiking. One technology that is helping to meet these challenges is 3D printing. 3D printing technology is being explored across all areas of automotive production. Aside from its extensive use for rapid prototyping, the technology is also being used to produce tooling and end parts.