Innovation in the Automotive Industry: Automation is Spawning the Smart Vehicle Revolution
By Siddhant Chaudhary Auto retail September 3, 2018
We’ve already seen some major changes in the works for the auto industry and transportation as a whole. These changes are reshaping the industry as we know it, and bringing new concepts into the picture. This could also spell bad news for automakers if they don’t seize emerging opportunities.
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like the convenience of calling an Uber? Or better yet, the idea of never having to worry about accidentally hitting another vehicle, with the advent of autonomous driving. Automated processes are the new direction for auto companies, including offering new services. The efficiency that automation will offer (ie. money saved through process automation) will keep auto makers on track until the auto industry transitions into the era of smart vehicles.
Sales Are Currently Declining, But Auto Makers Have a Plan
In 2018, auto manufacturers are expected to sell roughly 17 million as opposed to 17.6 million in 2017. This sharp decline in sales is surely the result of ride sharing apps. Auto companies have an ace up their sleeve though.
They’re investing heavily in advanced software and autonomous driving technology. They’re now in a heated competition to release the world’s most comprehensive smart vehicle. Ideally, there should be no limit to what your car’s computer can arrange, prepare, or even buy for you. Total connectedness is the goal, and soon we’ll see vehicles that deliver. This level of personalization will help reignite consumers’ desire to own a vehicle.
While ride-sharing is still going to be a preferred form a transport for many, owning your own vehicle will be an experience to be desired, with highly advanced AI that can assist drivers in ways they may have never even thought of. Some of the automated features we can expect include laser sensors for reducing the risk of accidents and to aid in parking, detective maintenance, in-vehicle customer assistance, and infotainment.
Upgradable Smart Vehicles
Consumers will demand the latest in smart vehicle software, so auto makers must allow each unit to be upgradable. In fact, smart vehicle upgrades, offering ride sharing services, and connectivity, are expected to increase opportunities for annual revenue by up to 30 percent in the next 12 years. Auto makers will need to give companies like Lyft a run for their money, but they certainly ought to have enough brand loyalty by this point to make it work.
Companies like Uber aren’t the only competition that auto companies need to worry about though. Last year alone, 1,700 startups in addition to well-established tech giants such as Apple aimed to claim their piece of the pie, creating functionalities that include data security, freight aggregation, analytics systems, AI, improved safety, and more. Mobile app developers are pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved between a vehicle and a device.
What sort of changes will auto makers need to make in order to extend their reach? The answer is automation, and in three key areas.
Augmented Reality in Vehicles
With AR in vehicles, you don’t have to wear any sort of glasses. The windshield gets content displayed directly onto it. Dashboard mounted displays are another option, which provide information in real-time and can be fully customized. Everything you might normally see spread out over your dash, like current speed, GPS guidance, and even the song playing, is shown at the edges of the windshield, where you never have to avert your eyes.
AR can be incredibly useful for businesses, especially those that have delivery drivers or incorporate vehicles into their services. Valuable time can be saved on training new employees who are driving company vehicles. Car sales will undoubtedly spike with the incorporation of this versatile new technology.
Automating the Automotive Retail Industry
- Cost saving through automation of traditionally manned tasks
- Increased efficiency & productivity
- Smarter data analytics for superior decision making
Post Sales Apps
After buying your vehicle, you can monitor everything related to it through an all-in-one app. It will give you alerts when it’s time to get your oil changed, keep track of data related to performance, connect you with your dealer and manufacturer, help you locate service stations or call for help in case of a breakdown, and much more. These apps save a lot of time for both the owner and any mechanic who might do check-ups or servicing.
The app can also help connect car owners. Enthusiasts will have a way to discuss and meet up through the app. Events, special offers, and other notifications can automatically be included. The app offers a level convenience that’ll make owning a vehicle that much better. These apps and others that enhance the experience of owning or selling vehicles such as AR can already be obtained and are about to make a huge impact on the auto market.
Automation of Processes and Physical Tasks
According to the International Federation of Robotics, auto companies in the US alone account for half of the worldwide industrial robot sales. Automotive manufacturing relies heavily on RPA (robotic process automation), and some of the biggest names in the auto industry are innovating an already efficient tool.
Ford recently invented a “seeing” robotic arm that can do a wide variety of different tasks. It can install many different parts of the vehicle efficiently and with great precision. Chrysler has something rather similar, and several other companies are expected to follow in Ford’s footsteps.
Digital bots—a different kind of bot, but nonetheless totally automated—can handle just about any task from assembly line to consumer purchase. Things such as financing and distribution can now be totally automated, making the whole process faster and more reliable. Bots can assist with customer service, appointment scheduling, notifications, diagnostics, and much more. They can even sell the vehicles themselves.
Vehicle retailer Caravana currently has four fully operative vehicle vending machines in the US. Customers can perform research, get personalized financing, and set up delivery or collect their newly purchased vehicle directly from the vending machine. Although customer assistance is indeed at hand, Caravana’s vehicle vending machines function much like the ones you use to buy snacks or beverages.
Automated Data Collection and Analysis
Data is one of the auto industry’s greatest assets. It allows them to make discoveries, determine what the best course of action is, and make crucial improvements to their businesses. Automated data analysis is not just about past events anymore. Now with predictive analytics, present and even future events can be adapted to and planned for, with the best outcome available—all with no human guidance whatsoever.
Autonomous vehicles are valuable data collectors as well. Each one gathers roughly 1 GB of information per second. By the year 2020, it’s estimated that auto companies will earn a higher profit from selling data than from the cars themselves.
An Automated Automotive Ecosystem from Start to Finish
Eventually, the entire process can be automated. A more powerful implementation of advanced AI will allow bots to handle all sorts of requests, from the initial customer inquiry handled by a chatbot, to a virtual test drive, to financing specifics based on the buyer’s credit score and driving record, to putting the final touches on a template model (paint color and other specifics), to organizing the delivery.
By this point, the online sale of new vehicles ought to not only be totally legal, but commonplace. In the following decade, we can expect to see more changes than we have in the five decades before it. The auto industry is joining forces with information communication technologies to create a true smart vehicle. And from automated processes at the dealership, to personalized marketing, to automated financing, all the way to delivery, automated processes are being streamlined.
Complete automated solutions have the potential to transform a company in any faucet of the auto industry into a more efficient, and in turn more profitable business. These services can be custom made and run on both iOS and Android platforms, ultimately cutting down on paperwork and phone calls, and integrating valuable data analysis capabilities at the touch of a button.
In addition to jumping into side industries like ride sharing, auto companies will go full speed ahead in the race for comprehensive smart vehicles. The future of auto companies is still very bright thanks to the opportunities created by automated processes.