The accelerated development of new technologies has altered consumer habits and transformed many industries. Think of planes replacing boats, or DIY shutters replacing curtains. The auto transport industry is no exception. Driven by technology leaders like Google and Tesla, it has been proven that the industry is ripe for disruption. Here are 5 technologies that have the potential to dramatically change the automotive industry:
Thanks to Tesla and other automotive industry leaders, electric vehicles are becoming more prevalent. Pushed by stricter emission regulations, lower battery costs and consumer demand, more hybrid, plug-in, battery electric, and fuel cell vehicles are promised to be unveiled in the coming years. McKinsey estimates that “in 2030, the share of electrified vehicles could range from 10 percent to 50 percent of new-vehicle sales.” As battery technology improves and costs decline, EVs are predicted to “achieve cost competitiveness with conventional vehicles, creating the most significant catalyst for market penetration.”
While Tesla and Google are already testing driverless cars, automakers are also exploring autonomous capabilities like self-parking and adaptive cruise control. It’s forecasted that up to 15 percent of new cars sold in 2030 could be fully autonomous. While that is still more than a decade away, it’s highly plausible for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) to be integrated into new cars in the near future.
Earlier this year, TechCrunch reported that Toyota is collaborating MIT’s Media Lab, Toyota partnered with experts in blockchain technology “to explore how the technology may be applied to the car industry.” Although the end goal of the collaboration is to augment the benefits of autonomous driving technology, blockchain can be used to aid in recalls and warranty claims, and identify and eliminate the sales of counterfeit or stolen parts. IBM reports, “Blockchain based system connected with IoT sensors and smart devices would enable the service centre, the car manufacturer and the customer to trace the provenance of spare parts back through every step in the supply chain to its original manufacture date and location.”
Earlier this year, BMW invested in Desktop Metal, a Massachusetts-based startup that’s set to bring metal 3D printing to market. The technology is not yet ready to be used in wide scale manufacturing of car parts, but BMW has plans to use it to prototype products. This opens up possibilities with regard to car design and construction, and could potentially disrupt the automotive industry’s approach to accident repair.
Part of the sharing economy, online ridesharing startups like Uber, Lyft and Grab have begun to change how people see car ownership. Dealing with a more complex competitive landscape, the automotive industry has to adapt by innovating and forming new partnerships. Leveraging on the ridesharing startups’ connectivity and data, this year, Jaguar and Land Rover provided Lyft with a fleet of their vehicles. They will also work together for autonomous vehicle testing. Uber has also signed similar agreements with Volvo and Daimler.
As the industry sees early signs of the importance of private car ownership declining and consumers lean towards carpooling or ridesharing as their main mode of transportation, traditional business models must be supplemented with complementary solutions, including developing a car for shared use.