5 Trends That Will Transform the Auto Industry in 2017

5 Trends That Will Transform the Auto Industry in 2017

The accelerated rise of new technologies has transformed many industries in recent years, and the automotive sector is no exception. In 2017 alone, the CES conference in Las Vegas and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit showcased how industry players are working on connectivity, autonomy and other technologies to keep up with changing consumer behaviour.

Below are 5 technologies we expect to have a significant impact on the automotive industry in 2017.

1. Blockchain

Blockchain technology works as an electronic transaction-processing and record-keeping system. It is a market that is growing rapidly as organizations become more focused on transparency and scalability. Could automotive be the next industry to embrace the technology in 2017?

Blockchain technology could be very beneficial for the auto supply chain. The growing popularity of autonomous and 3D printing technologies could create problems like counterfeit parts and other related issues. Blockchain would establish a system of checks and balances, allowing suppliers to track information through a secure network.

We are already seeing some examples of it being used for instantaneous payments in the transportation segment. Visa and DocuSign unveiled a partnership last year that used the technology to build a proof-of-concept for streamlining car leasing. The prospective customer chooses the car they want to lease and the transaction is entered on the blockchain’s public ledger.

2. Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality solutions have already began to appear in our vehicles. There a number of automakers and technology firms working on in-car infotainment systems, with features like speech recognition, blind spot detection, human-machine interface applications and heads-up-display.

Most professionals agree that an infotainment display on the windshield is the most preferred AR technology platform, and we saw several examples of this at CES 2017. In partnership with DigiLens, Continental presented a head-up display that projects over the windshield and shows a variety of sensor-derived information about the car's environment. Visteon demonstrated a sensor-driven HUD that could highlight potential dangers for a driver.

3. Autonomous Driving

Tesla, Google, Ford and a host of other auto manufacturers are making significant strides towards producing road-legal driverless cars. Many of these companies were at CES to update us on their progress and made bold predictions about when they will get fully autonomous cars and trucks on our roads.

For example, Ford revealed that its self-driving vehicle should be ready for the road come 2021. Audi announced a partnership with artificial intelligence specialist Nvidia and said it would begin delivering "highly automated" vehicles in 2020. While Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn promised vehicles capable of autonomy in both multi lane highway and city traffic.

There were similar declarations at this year’s auto show. Google’s self-driving technology company Waymo said it had built sensors for self-driving and will put minivans with the technology on the road this month.


4. Big Data

The growing proliferation of embedded in-vehicle connectivity and smartphone integration platforms has made connected cars one of the fastest growing segments of the IoT (Internet of Things) market. Regulators and automakers alike see the potential for such technology to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities.

This in-vehicle connectivity will provide autotech companies with a vast amount of data that can be used in several ways. For example, companies could use sensors to analyze drivers speed, braking techniques or route selection. By monitoring sensors and analyzing big data, companies will discover this information and more. Insurance companies will also be interested in this data, which will allow them to closely monitor driver performance and safety.

But with this data comes privacy and security concerns. Will the automakers be responsible with this data or look to turn it into revenue?

5. Machine Learning

In order to secure computing resources from the highly sophisticated threats that are emerging everyday, cybersecurity innovators are developing intelligent defence tools leveraging machine learning that can learn from their own experience and bolster security.

These cybersecurity systems are self-adapting and self-defending, creating ways to guard against new threats without any humans needing to program the system to identify specific incoming trouble. Could we see these applications being used to alleviate some of the security concerns in the automotive industry?

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