What 2021 holds: Digital Transformation Trends in the Automotive Industry

Nowadays every industry is centered around the latest technology and tries to make the best of it. And Automotive is the second most data-driven industry in the world so no wonder it transforms with the flow. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of everything but the latest trends in the automotive industry are blowing minds all over.

Every aspect – starting from the car buying experience to the driving – is currently going through the digital transformation. So let’s dive in to look through the hottest trends and directions!

High demand for personal transport and Improved Car-Buying Experience 

COVID-19 changed the usual lifestyle for all of us and created the ‘new normal’. Now personal transport and social distancing are what all the people need. Not only the overall transportation but the car buying process too needs to be rethought in this case. Buying a car always was stressful enough, there are tons of aspects you need to review – find the model that fits you, compare the prices,  find a solid loan, etc. And all of this was fully related to the physical showrooms/dealerships. Earlier the process took hours and a few visits to the different dealerships but with the modern technologies, it’s all in the past.

Now dealers focus on creating a quality digital experience for the buyers. Even a basic website that provides relevant information about the prices, availability of models, and booking the appointments can be a time saver. But they go further and further in their race for user convenience and innovations.

New level showrooms

Yet the shopping for cars process becomes more digital the showrooms are not going to completely disappear off the radars, for users the tactile/emotional experience is still the big factor to make a decision. So how will the physical showrooms evolve? The answer is – interactiveness and VR/AR.  Both virtual reality and augmented reality appeared a while ago and as evolving become more and more affordable. This is a good chance to make the new engagement channel with the car buyers.

It’s a rock fact that a quality website is a ‘must’ for any automotive business — from manufacturers to dealers. But that’s not all of it.  Besides the new experience for the clients, the VR/AR technology gives the freedom to the showrooms –  they don’t need to have all the vehicles available anymore. To see and feel all the models, customers just need to put on the VR headset.

This can be a great boost for the chain of used car dealerships, they can show out all the cars that they have even if they are physically located in a different store.

Ecosystem

Now everything has a connection to the internet it’s sometimes hard to believe. From such small devices as smartwatches and event the pots for plants to huge infrastructures like smart cities, homes. It just makes life easier when you have fewer concerns. The car manufacturers cannot ignore this global tendency either.

The other tech progress pushing this even further – 5G will get global coverage by 2020. This means that the overall internet speed will increase drastically. As a result,
for modern cars connection to it can become a default feature.

Sophisticated IoT-based solutions already making a step forward and will allow users not only surf the internet but more global enhancing safety and improved traffic.

Personalized driving experience 

This point is related to the previous ecosystem. With new technologies, it’s much easier to create a fully personal and convenient experience as people tend to spend more time in their vehicles. Different things that defined our comfort in the car are here for some time (like camera view, voice control) but for a while, they were chunky and didn’t create the feeling of comfort.

Now it’s one of the main focuses for the manufacturers, they enhance the experience each day. So modern cars adapt to everything from body shape to common routes and to air conditioning. In the closest future cars would be able to read your mood and alert you when you seem to be getting sleepy or distracted. It’s something that promises to make cars even more comfortable and the road safer, as well.

3D printed vehicles

3D printing technologies are pretty impressive and can be adapted to enhance any industry. So it was a matter of time that it would be adapted for Automotive. Some leading manufacturers already use this technology to produce separate parts for cars. 

The first mass-produced 3D printed car was created by XEV, an Italian startup, in collaboration with Polymaker, a Chinese 3D printing company. Almost all parts of the vehicle are 3D printed, it is called LSEV and it is planned to appear on European and Asian markets during this year. This technology can lower the manufacturing price for the cars (the announced price for LSEV is only $7.500).

Autonomous driving and Security

Just a few years ago the Autonomous vehicles seemed to be remarkably futuristic and met rather skeptical. But with the evolution of artificial intelligence, machine learning the development of autonomous vehicles was impossible to avoid.

There is still a lot to do to perfect the technology, make it as safe as possible and before the average consumer is going to buy their own fully autonomous vehicle. 

Must note that with the more complex technology and personal data related the more risks appear. As it evolves the industry will need a higher level of security. Blockchains can benefit the automotive industry in vehicle safety and data security, supply chain transparency, manufacturing, automotive financing, smart contracts, infotainment, telematics, IoT, insurance, and fleet management.

Electric Vehicles Era 

The air pollution becomes more serious each day in big cities. Traditional cars aren’t making things better so modern eco-solutions are the priority. Now people accepting the new option are not so active because of the high price but are becoming conscious of global warming and the scarcity of petrol or diesel and are wishing for more electric cars which will soon be replacing the smoke-emitting vehicles.

Shorter Model Cycles

The progress is unstoppable, new features added each day to every vehicle. For the manufacturers and dealers, it means that the average car lifecycle will be shorter than usual as the driver will want to update. Model cycles can move from the previous average of 5-8 years to 1-2 years. As a result car sales will grow exponentially with the demand.

Predictive Maintenance

Earlier you would need to keep track of each detail and possible issues to get to the service in time, be safe. But now the modern tracking systems can alert the driver of potential issues they may be about to experience in the future, from engine trouble to faulty brakes, or a taillight that’s about to burn out. We as users often depend on transportation so the unpredictable car-break in the best outcome just takes your time and money but it could be much worse. This is also a big step towards road safety.

Mobility as a Service (MAAS)

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is a mobility distribution model in which a person’s transportation needs are met over one interface and are offered by a service provider. In simpler words, it’s a well-known car-sharing and car rent, taxi platforms which are on the rise right now. All of them are creating a great impact on the automotive industry. They are said to be contributing to reduced demand for parking, pollution, and congestion, as well as provide energy savings and transportation costs savings for users.

OUTLINE

All of these new trends, changes and possibilities create an exciting future for the whole industry. And even if not all of them are going to be implemented shortly they definitely will in the longer run. For many car manufacturers and dealers adapting to these trends can be decisive so it’s important to always keep the finger on the pulse.

Small steps towards digitalizing the business can save it in the future when it would be fundamental to adapt the new technology.
By and large, these changes will be huge improvements for drivers, making time in the car safer and more enjoyable for the long haul.