Electric mobility, driverless cars, automated factories, and ridesharing—these are just some of the biggest disruptions the automotive industry faced during the COVID-19 crisis.
Now it is reasonable to question what the next normal for the automotive industry would look like with travel severely restricted by the pandemic, and in the middle of massive global factory closures, regressing car sales, and major layoffs. We’ve seen the first signs of this automotive era becoming apparent over the past few months, with the greatest shifts in the industry still to come.
At the operational stage, the pandemic has accelerated some advancements in the automotive sector that, actually, started several years ago. Many of these developments are generally positive, such as the growth of online traffic (right now, online sales platforms are used by more customers than ever to connect with companies in every industry), and the strong urge to collaborate with different automotive partners and otherwise to tackle challenges. However, some can have detrimental consequences, such as the urge to concentrate on core tasks rather than seeking new areas.
IoT, AI, and digitization will define the new way of working
In the automotive industry, the coronavirus epidemic accelerated the transition to automation.
In order to increase resilience to external factors, the coronavirus pandemic may drive the development of automation, digitalization, and Artificial Intelligence in the automotive sector in the post-COVID period.
In a scenario like this, automation and robotics could minimize dependency on human labor and improve productivity, eliminating the risk of future shutdowns of plants.
It is obvious, that, in the future, concepts such as IoT, AI, and digitization will become highly important and will define a new way of working. This pandemic gives us the chance to embrace these new trends, especially digitization.
To help improve the effectiveness of automotive manufacturing, AI solutions are already being developed. AI systems that are capable of increasing automation while reducing production times will benefit anything from supply chains to production lines themselves.
Manufacturing companies will have to collaborate with software development teams and other companies in the tech sector as automobiles rely more and more on technology, electrical components, and software. All of this will help make it easier for automobiles that rely on internet connectivity and IoT devices to be successfully integrated.
We anticipate that the future integration of Artificial Intelligence and IoT devices will allow manufacturers to upgrade vehicles with additional features, such as:
- predictive maintenance
- repair scheduling
- identification of performance issues
- using smart sensors to identify medical emergencies
- automatic toll collection
While there is no question that Artificial Intelligence is driving an autonomous vehicle revolution and will, in the long term, improve road safety, it is also worth mentioning the advantages of AI in car manufacturing plants.
For several years, robotics have been used in automotive manufacturing companies, and the equipment used in the industrial production line is truly impressive. In other words, in the automotive industry, robots are an example of AI that has been in use for quite some time and will be much more advanced.
Also, along with other emerging innovations, the Internet of Things is revolutionizing the entire automotive industry. Evolution in this area has led to the introduction of revolutionary automotive growth in terms of connected and automated vehicles.
Day by day, IoT applications in the automotive sector are growing. More advanced automotive use cases will arise with the development of the Internet of Things technology that will fully transform the way we connect with our vehicles.
It is expected that cars will have seamless integration with home, infrastructure, and other devices promoting vehicle-to-everything technology. Increasing 5G network coverage would make it possible to seamlessly connect cars with other devices and ecosystems. Vehicle to pedestrian communication will see progress, in particular.
In the future, anything related to road mobility facilities will be accessible via a vehicle. Enabling technologies will turn vehicles into marketplaces, encouraging people to do virtually everything from the comfort and convenience of their vehicle, refueling, ordering utilities, paying for tolls, having features on-demand, and much more.
Digitalization in cars will get a boost from COVID-19 with people adopting a digital life that encourages social distancing, protection, monitoring. Digitalization will also be supported by other factors like increasing screens in cars and increasing 5G network coverage.
The automotive industry has reached a fork in the road: one path leads to reinvention and success, while the other preserves the current situation. There will only be a short period of time for business leaders to reinvent their core activities. It’s time for players in the automotive sector to act in order to ensure their sustainability and prosperity now and in the future.