In recent years, auto companies have developed more technologies that enable autonomy for their vehicles. As the number of sensors and technologies in cars has increased, so too has the amount of data available for machine learning algorithms to harness for potential innovation. These data points are sourced from a car’s steering, braking and navigation systems. Once processed, the vehicle uses that information to adapt how it operates, giving it predictive—and increasingly autonomous—capabilities.
Adaptive cruise control is one technology that is essential for autonomous cars, and which machine learning has paved the way for. This technology uses a combination of sensors to identify the speed of the vehicle in front of a driver. As the car in front slows, another autonomous technology kicks in; automatic emergency braking systems use the sensors to predict when a collision is imminent and bring the car to a stop. Increased connectivity coupled with machine learning will enable some autonomous cars to come to complete stops and then resume automatically.
Another technology that is vital for autonomous vehicles is lane departure warning systems. Like adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency brakes, these systems use cameras and sensors to determine when a car drifts into another lane and lets the driver know through a visual or audio signal. Some cars even nudge the driver back into the proper lane. As autonomy becomes more prevalent in the auto sector, this technology will become more and more important.
5G will improve telematics
Even with all the advanced technologies supporting autonomous cars today, there are still some serious blind spots. For example, inclement weather can cause an autonomous car to misinterpret its surroundings, which could be the difference between life and death for its passengers as well as other drivers and pedestrians who might be nearby.
5G technology is helping to mitigate against issues related to autonomous cars today, and 5G becoming more ubiquitous will hopefully help to solve these problems. 5G will provide lower latency speeds, enhancing vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity and lowering the risk of collisions. Increased connectivity will benefit telematics, which is the transfer of data to and from a moving vehicle. As tactile data flows more efficiently from bumps in the road and visual sensors, autonomous cars will become safer and wider adoption of the technology is expected.
Is the subscription model coming for cars next?
Tech and car manufacturing companies continue to look for ways to monetize autonomous technology. Today, Porsche has a program that allows customers to rent from a variety of cars on a regular basis. With this service, customers can drive the 911 this month and trade it in for the Cayenne next month. When autonomous cars are more mainstream at a future date, we can reasonably expect the subscription model to follow. One way that some companies may do this is through providing consumers with the ability to subscribe to an autonomous car service. Such subscription packages would likely be many years in the making, but with rapid changes in the industry, the next car you buy could be one of the last cars you ever own.
COVID-19 gives micromobility a boost
In the current pandemic environment, developers and lawmakers have an opportunity to rethink the design of their cities. As a result of the pandemic, communities like New York, Austin, and Denver have closed some streets to auto traffic, and it is possible that these streets will remain closed long term to make room for pedestrians and bicyclists. Short trips that use micromobility vehicles such as bikes and scooters account for 60% of the road trips in the United States, according to market intelligence company CB Insights. This has created an ideal opportunity for companies and innovators to change the way we travel in these short distances (typically up to five miles).
B2C and B2B applications
Last-mile delivery entails getting products to customers in nontraditional ways. Popular food delivery services such as DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats operate in this vertical. In the COVID-19 environment, the last-mile delivery concept is becoming increasingly popular with new mobile connectivity and platform technologies that allow users to get products delivered more efficiently and with less person-to-person contact than traditional delivery methods.
In the future, these on-demand options combined with autonomous cars will decrease delivery times. On our roads and highways, we might even eventually expect to see a lane for cars driven by humans, and a “slow lane” for the autonomous delivery vehicles driving 10 to 25 miles per hour.
Fleet management and telematics companies also use predictive analytics to increase efficiency in shipping speeds while increasing customer satisfaction. Advancements in fleet connectivity will also help increase efficiency in the delivery and ride sharing sectors while reducing costs.
How does your business prepare for the future of mobility?
Many companies in the industry have already adopted programs and initiatives around connectivity and autonomy. BMW, for instance, launched an innovation strategy called ACES that focuses research in the areas of autonomous vehicles and connectivity. Many companies are investing in innovative technologies such as automation and electric power to ensure that both their business model and product can continue to evolve to meet changes in customer buyer preferences.
Consumer demand for a more technology-enabled form of urban transportation shows no sign of slowing, and new 5G technology will allow for more possibilities for autonomous vehicles in the coming years. As telematics improves, the tech market opportunity in the automotive industry will continue to grow in areas such as car sharing, micromobility and public transportation.