The automotive industry is currently experiencing a transformative period. No longer are vehicles simply designed for increased production numbers and safety considerations – today there’s more innovation happening within automotive than ever before.
Multiple forces–accelerated development in emerging markets, new technologies, and sustainability policies–are converging to drive disruptive change. Together these four trends will have an enormous impact on how cars are made, sold and used by 2030.
1. 3D Printing
Technology is rapidly revolutionizing the automotive world. One of the most remarkable innovations is additive manufacturing (AM).
AM in automotive design, prototyping and production allows for innovative designs with lighter vehicles that meet safety regulations more quickly than before as well as shorter lead times with reduced costs and environmental-friendlier alternatives to traditional manufacturing processes.
AM allows for the integration of functions that would normally be separated between various parts, such as air intakes and brake calipers, into one piece for reduced weight components. According to SmartTech Publishing’s report on this matter, use of AM for final car parts will increase in future.
Volkswagen is at the forefront of 3D metal printing technology, using HP Metal Jet to print safety-certified metal parts and making AM mass production possible in near future.
2. Smart Materials
As cars become smarter and more connected, their materials of construction will also change. From steel and plastic to carbon and hemp, modern vehicles contain an assortment of components designed to fulfill various functional requirements.
Mechatronics is one of the major technology trends driving this development. This multidisciplinary field unites mechanical, electrical, and software engineers to produce cars equipped with sensors and smart technologies.
Beyond fuel reduction and emissions reduction, smart materials will allow manufacturers to create lighter and more durable cars capable of withstanding harsh driving conditions. Furthermore, shape memory alloys provide auto parts which can quickly adapt to changing environmental conditions.
3. Artificial Intelligence
As the automotive industry changes, many companies must adjust their business models. If they want to remain competitive in this fast-changing landscape, they should implement AI technologies into their product development, production lines and supply chain management systems.
AI can add immense value to the automotive sector by speeding the development of autonomous driving technology, optimizing production capacity and increasing productivity. Furthermore, it can collect unique data that enhance road safety and passenger experiences.
AI software can optimize component design by simulating all necessary input parameters for a given part, thus shortening production times and cutting costs significantly. Furthermore, AI can detect any manufacturing-related defects early and provide solutions before it’s too late; thus extending car quality and lifespan, as well as guaranteeing customers they receive exactly what they pay for.
Connectivity has quickly become the bedrock of automotive innovation. New cars now feature built-in connectivity as standard features, with many buyers expecting an effortless connected car experience.
Improved connectivity also allows vehicles to communicate more effectively with one another, highway infrastructure and pedestrians alike. Sensors in connected cars collect performance data which is then analyzed for diagnostic purposes as well as to anticipate when parts will need maintenance.
Benefits of connected vehicle data are numerous. From manufacturers gaining customer insights to drive product development to dealerships utilizing predictive maintenance and supplier reliability analysis to improve service and sales; its worth cannot be ignored.
5. Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality is rapidly gaining in the automotive industry as its applications extend from car showrooms and virtual test drives to training programs and workforce development. VR can be divided into three distinct market categories for use in the industry: hardware, software, and content – with hardware expected to experience strong growth due to decreased headset costs as well as increasing investments into researching advanced VR solutions.
Virtual reality in automotive manufacturing can assist with moving design processes from one computer to the next, saving both time and costs. Furthermore, this technology can aid assembly line and production process optimisation as well as vehicle ergonomics by reducing risks and strengthening safety procedures; ultimately making this industry more flexible to adapt quickly to ever-evolving customer demands.