The car of the future
With the automotive industry in a downturn, major players now have a prime opportunity to reset their approach to mobility, so it focuses more on customer needs and profits. Companies need to develop smarter business models and offerings to reflect shifting mobility trends. The rise of automated driving will also deeply impact society and transportation behaviour and trend spotters believe it will impact mobility from a product-centric ownership toward a shared service centric mobility.
According to a recent Roland Berger report, the world is on the verge of autonomous mobility. But this progress obviously depended on a healthy economic climate and not the falling growth rates, trade wars and growing Brexit uncertainty, not to mention the pandemic of the past six months. The report cites four main trends currently heralding change: new mobility trends and behaviours developing around the world, the arrival of autonomous technologies, the development and use of digital features, and the rise of powertrain electrification what the company refers to as MADE (mobility, autonomous, digital, electrification).
With global vehicles sales declining (even before the pandemic), it pushed firms into cost saving and restructuring programs. With traditional Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) under pressure and mobility services losing money, those who want to succeed must now find other ways to make their business model profitable. The current market lull offers a chance for traditional industry players to catch up in areas like battery technology or improving the interface. The integration of digital technologies is probably the most game-changing development in recent years. Intelligent machines, digital services, connected devices, tools and infrastructure as well as vast amounts of data and ever improving human-machine-interfaces have an impact on the entire industry.
The cars of the future will be computers on wheels and will be permanently connected to their surroundings. The hunt for more "intelligent" algorithms that require less computing power is one of the big technical hurdles to fully autonomous driving. Several promising technologies have emerged. Chip producer Intel released "Pohoiki Beach", a powerful so-called neuromorphic system that comprises 64 of its brain-inspired Loihi research chips. These enable users to process information up to 1,000 times faster and 10,000 times more efficiently than normal specialized computers. Meanwhile, the Chinese unicorn, Horizon Robotics, which produces artificial intelligence systems for autonomous driving.
A radically altered legislative landscape and market upheavals are accelerating powertrain electrification. Selected announcements such as decreasing OEM battery costs with targets <100 USD/kWh in 2022 as well as OEM's xEV target share of 20-25 percent before 2025 and governments acting as game changers push this development. Customers with an increasing demand for electric vehicles as well as governments progressing with regulations on new car sales like the CO2 fleet emission targets in Europe are critical criteria for all automotive players.
Intelligent machines, digital services, connected devices, tools and infrastructure as well as vast amounts of data and ever improving human-machine-interfaces have an impact on the entire industry - on both companies and customers.
Each step in the value chain will at one point or the other be affected by digitalization. Moreover, new business models arise on the back of these developments and traditional ones are transformed in the digital world or simply being disrupted.