There was a time when the idea of autonomous vehicles was considered a vision of the future, the technologies available at that time were not enough to support that vision. However, the development in technologies like IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) have enabled transformational changes in this sector. Through advanced communication capabilities and smart sensors, the IoT technology in particular is setting the path for the automotive industry and connected vehicles in the future economy.
Being a major driver in the smart and autonomous vehicles industry (like in many other industries) the growth of IoT has been exponential. According to Gartner, there will be more than 250 million connected vehicles on the roads by the end of 2020. The IoT solutions suppliers will benefit from this new market and generate a revenue of over 300 billion dollars by 2020. While ITC states that the worldwide market for IoT solutions in the automotive industry will grow to 7.1 trillion dollars by 2020.
Evolution of Connected Cars
The evolution of connected cars has been through a number of phases. Different technologies have defined these phases depending upon the era. The five major phases of the evolution are:
- Research and Development Era
- Embedded Era
- Infotainment Era
- V2X Era
- Mobility Era
These eras define the modular changes that occurred in the various phases that started in 1960 (through to 2020). The new mobility era is changing the level of IoT involvement in vehicle manufacturing. The technologies and services with IoT as their source will continue to transform the automotive industry in rapid succession.
How IoT is transforming the Automotive Industry
IoT technology is transforming automotive industries’ manufacturing to meet the new demands in the market while continuing to attain their conventional business objectives. The impact of IoT can be seen on the key value drivers of the industry which are design and ideation, higher customer satisfaction, real-time scheduling and product’s lifecycle revenue.
- 1. Design Ideation
The IoT technology makes it easier to manage the lifecycle of the product by accelerating the engineering and production timelines. These changes result in faster time-to-market of the product and improve the satisfaction level of the customer. IoT also helps manufacturers in reducing the manufacturing costs by distinguishing the non-value driving components and removing them from future designs. The design ideation opportunities consist of applying analytics techniques and tools to monitor products’ performance and using the information to augment and improve the design and ideation process.
- 2. Higher Customer Satisfaction
The vehicles available today have at least 10 million lines of critical software codes. This requires robust coding techniques and code management. With the help of IoT-enabled components and systems manufacturers can achieve better customer satisfaction by providing regular updates to embedded codes, for reliability purposes or to offer new services helping to increase revenue from aftermarket services. In-vehicle connectivity helps manufacturers track defects in their products and optimize reliability, using predictive maintenance patterns and tools to minimize risks of failures. IoT-enabled cars is also a great opportunity for manufacturers to sell software updates and upgrades delivering new features and services to their customers.
- 3. Real-Time Scheduling
Process automation supported by IoT-enabled systems and analytics can help manufacturers improve their product quality in real time. Vehicle manufacturers can more easily adopt a resilient lean manufacturing approach which helps them achieve shorter time-to-market even for increasingly sophisticated and intelligent products and help them stay in sync with the rapidly changing demands of the customers. Adoption of the lean approach drives the implementation of real-time scheduling and flexible manufacturing processes; which include material optimization.
- 4. Lifecycle Revenue of the Product
At every moment in the lifetime of a connected car, an appropriate IoT infrastructure can help remotely collect data to get valuable insights on car usage, car condition, car location, drivers habits and so on and create new revenue streams for car manufaturers and their partners. A complete aftermarket service ecosystem can be created to generate new revenue opportunities by collecting, analyzing and monetizing the data extracted from the millions of vehicles on the road. As an example, manufacturers can leverage the engagement and usage information collected from the vehicles to offer to their customers targeted commercial contents and offers, such as paid upgrades for new features or infotainment content.
The potential of IoT in the automotive sector is huge, and it is already deeply transforming the automotive industry. All manufacturers in the automotive ecosystem can benefit from this unique opportunity if they adopt a clear and agressive IoT strategy. And beyond the opportunity it may soon become a necessity for all the players in the car ecosystem, if they want to stay in the race…