As per PwC, electrified, autonomous, shared, connected and yearly updated vehicles define the innovations and trends in the automotive landscape.
In the contemporary world, innovations are rapidly transforming every industry, and the automotive industry is no exception. Innovations and adoptions are setting new trends in the century-old automotive ecosystem, which has undergone a drastic change. There is no exaggeration in saying that new vehicles will be more like a computer or smartphone on four wheels.
The pace of modern production is staggering. Commenting on this, Ashutosh Padhi, Senior Partner at McKinsey, says: “The automotive industry will see more disruption in the next ten years than it has seen in the last fifty years. And it’s not only about [the] head unit of a car. It’s also about [the] production process and it’s up to market time”.
Environment friendliness may arguably be the most important benefit of new trends and innovations in the automotive industry by way of low emissions, bringing in orderliness on roads, reducing accidents etc.
PwC has coined an acronym ‘eascy’ in one of their studies, which if expanded, is ‘electrified, autonomous, shared, connected and yearly updated’.
Let us take a look at the emerging trends and innovations in the automotive segment from three perspectives: the manufacturer, the society, and the user.
Electric Vehicles (AV)
The concept of electric vehicles has been there for some time, with companies like Tesla making great strides in this segment. With the future of fossil fuel looking bleak, electric vehicles (EV) is the ideal fuel alternative and the world’s environmental roadmap to zero-emission.
However, EV per se is not the solution. This solution is not just about going electric because 90 percent of electricity in the world is produced using coal, which only results in shifting pollution from one source to another. In order to follow the zero-emission path, EV must be running on renewable energy sources like solar energy.
In short, for greater adoption, EVs need to address issues such as high price, poor battery, inadequate charging infrastructure, fleet electrification, as well as powering renewable energy-based charging grids and self-charging solar mounting.
Autonomous or self-driving vehicles
Self-driving cars will be a game-changer. It will change the way we have been using automotive vehicles for about 100 years. Technologies like IoT, AI (Artificial Intelligence), AR (Augmented Reality), and other tools are leveraged to roll out autonomous vehicles, which seemed a utopian concept until recently.
Tesla, Google, and Uber are playing a big role in making autonomous vehicles a reality. The autonomous vehicle market is estimated to grow at a fast pace and investments will likely continue to pour in, especially in the development of further applications. This will completely redefine the use of individual mobility platforms and will bring revolutionary changes in technology, society, governmental systems, and human behaviour.
Fleets of AVs expand the scope of last-mile deliveries, reduce downtime, and aim to make public transportation relatively smooth and safer. AVs are equipped with advanced recognition technologies such as AI-enhanced computer vision to identify obstacles along the route helping in, for example, reducing accidents caused due to driver fatigue or negligence.
In both car-sharing and ride-hailing, vehicles don’t need a driver. However, in terms of the business model, while car-sharing users choose a particular product brand for a particular vehicle, ride-hailing users are interested in a particular transport service and not in the vehicle as a product.
Though it may not strictly come under this discussion, CaaS (car-as-a-service) or Maas (mobility-as-a-service) is another trend emerging in the automotive ecosystem. CaaS or Maas is a subscription model which itself is an improvement on the already practised leasing model.
However, the main advantage of CaaS or MaaS are that the user has the flexibility to change or upgrade the car as and when they need it. This will be the model which is apt for those looking for car-sharing. MaaS and CaaS discourage unused vehicles. Such solutions meet the requirements of a city or a business without adding new vehicles, thus reducing waiting time for fleets and pollution caused by petrol or diesel vehicles and also converting capex to opex.