Nikita Kasyanenko
15 November 2015

Four Trends that Transform Auto Industry

In November Stuttgart was hosting an automotive conference TU-Automotive Europe 2015. Among the presenters were the senior executives of the largest automotive groups and automotive technology developers. Having heard representatives from Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Tom-Tom and many other companies I noticed four prospective technology trends that will inevitable change the industry in the nearest future.

A car as an extension of iPhone

How to include a car into the ecosystem that is already made of various gadgets and services? That is one of key tasks which manufacturers are currently facing. Dieter May, Senior Vice President New Digital Data and Business Models, BMW, told at TU-Automotive Europe that a car should become an extension of smartphone and that vehicle management system shall not only be interactive and intuitive, but self-learning too.

A simple example. You arrive at the airport, leave the car at the parking and fly on a business trip. In your absence, the car checks the calendar that you have on your smartphone, checks the date and time of your return and warms up the cabin by that time.

Similar direction is explored by Toyota which promises to unite cars, gadgets and smart homes of drivers into a single network. Representatives from Mercedes-Benz also share this vision. Christoph Hartung, Head of Connected Car, was speaking about Mercedes Me service that not only allows to remotely control some functions of a car but it also monitors car condition and transfers the data to service company and if anything happens it independently submits request for servicing.

Autopilot 2.0

Another important trend - further development of mapping services. According to Peter Frans, co-founder of TomTom, global leader in navigation, traffic and map products, already by 2020 there won’t be a single car without navigation.

With that, maps of the next decade will dramatically differ from those that we use now. They will work in real time and update every second. Cars using computer vision technology will be able to collect information about traffic jams, weather conditions, road works, etc. and transfer it to cloud services from where other participants of intelligent transport network will get their updates.

This scheme has already got its name - a living map. According to Phillip Kandal, General Manager of Telenav, maps will form something like a social network for cars in the nearest future. They will communicate with each other (like we communicate on Facebook) and obtain the most recent mapping data. Only this way we will be able to create high-precision maps thus enabling mass production of driverless cars

Smart Driving

The development of telematics services will allow car manufacturers and developers to collect large data sets which subsequently may be used to increase safety level and reduce the cost of owning a car. For instance, one of many trends of the nearest future is the emergence of usage based insurances.

With an installed telematics data module (engine on/off, acceleration and braking, fastened seat belt, etc.) insurance companies will be able to get information about their clients’ driving style. The less time driver drives and the more carefully he/she drives - the cheaper will be his/her insurance policy.

In addition, telematics systems will be able to advise drivers on how to adjust their driving style to make it more safe and economically viable. American General Motors is already offer similar service to its clients.

New Players

In future, such technological giants as Apple and Google will not only be able to expand the list of products and services available to car owners but will also become competitors of traditional manufacturers.

Concerns among car manufacturers are getting higher and higher, and, until it is not too late, some are trying to lure Internet giants to join their side. Thus, General Motors decided to provide its customers with an option of connecting Apple’s telematics service Car Play instead of insisting on using their own equipment like Onstar.

Nonetheless, Scott Frank, Vice President of Marketing, Airbiquity, argues that partnering with Apple and Google will not end up good for car manufacturers because Internet companies will compete with them in creating various platforms for cars.

However, customers will only benefit from such competition. Because of intense fight over money in exchange for technologies the latter will develop faster thus increasing the comfort of driving, road traffic safety level and substantially reducing the cost of owning a personal motor vehicle in a matter of years.

Mikhail Anokhin
5 December 2015

Roads Without Fools: How New Auto Techs Will Change the World

In the years to come the situation on roads will undergo a dramatic change - cars will learn how to communicate between each other and with emergency services. Moreover, there will be less accidents and traffic jams if ‘human factor’ is excluded.

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