How High-Tech And Automotive Industries Propel The Future

Uli Muench

Automotive is historically a traditional industry focused on manufacturing and sales – creating vehicles and selling them. Now, through successful use of new technology trends such as Big Data and machine learning, industry lines are blurring hard into the high-tech industry. The focus is beyond the vehicles and now on consumer experience and outcomes.

What’s driving change in this industry is the combination of technology, people, and data. Let’s take a look at how these factors are working together to digitally transform the automotive industry.

How technology is advancing vehicles and the consumer experience

The automotive industry is changing immensely. In some respects, the industry leaders are creating the changes, for example, by prioritizing development and commercialization of autonomous cars to create and enable a completely new mobility experience. On the other hand, consumers are driving transformation as well. For instance, the increased demand for options like ride-hailing or car-sharing and connectivity within vehicles are causing leading automotive companies to change their business models.

Technology is creating connections that allow for new ways of using vehicles. Vehicles can now share information almost in real-time through connection to other vehicles, infrastructure, and databases. This is made possible through advanced sensors, IoT, and high-tech communications systems.

Machine learning can help technology and people work together to make the most out of data. It can find patterns and develop models for the large and varying datasets typical of the automotive industry, explains Martin Prescher in a Venture Beat article. He notes that it could also help car buyers find the vehicle that best fits their needs out of the many options available to them.

Vehicles are expected to have further connectivity through the Internet of Things (IoT). Through this connectivity, the driver can receive services like GPS and music streaming through the car rather than another device. In a short amount of time, vehicles are expected to have many embedded, connected services, e.g., remote diagnostics, infotainment, safety measures, etc. Value-added services improve the consumer’s experience and provide new business models for companies across various industries. For example, vehicle manufacturers may warn that a vehicle part is failing and schedule preventative maintenance and repair at the consumer’s convenience. Restaurants and gas stations may advertise to the driver when they are nearby or looking for the service in the area.

These technologies also support the advancement of autonomous driving. We already have semi-autonomous features in vehicles and are working toward more advanced versions. Vehicles already collect data through sensors and other means. Through IoT, autonomous vehicles connect to each other and their environments. A wealth of Big Data is collected from an abundance of autonomous commercial vehicles and passenger cars, which will advance IoT even more.

The interplay of people, data, and technology

For the industry and our world to move forward, solely adopting new technologies is not enough. Automotive companies need a culture of innovation that encourages new ways of doing things. Teams within these companies need to adapt as methods change. Data is another part of the equation. The team needs to be able to “manage and gain value from massive amounts of real-time data, sourced (and shared) throughout the organization,” explains a Futurum white paper titled “Accelerating Digital Transformation in the Automotive Industry.”

Automotive companies and aftermarket service providers can now track real-time data through the Internet of Things. They need to focus on this data to make decisions, but excess data and the lack of a system to keep up with it prove challenging. Organizations need to find meaning in the data instead of just collecting it. Technology is the key to collecting and using the data in an effective way that drives decisions and moves the company forward. Technology like machine learning helps people learn from data. Companies can use data to better understand customers and provide experiences and outcomes to fit their needs.

Automotive companies must pay attention to customer experiences and changes within the broader world. For example, companies have focused on what consumers would want to experience while driving. Automotive companies have been adding features that make the driving experience more convenient, safe, and comfortable. They have incorporated features that include Bluetooth and Internet connectivity, wireless charging, and backup cameras.

The automotive industry is making tremendous strides and is expected to continue doing so. With advances like connectivity and autonomy, the industry will transform entire societies. For example, high-tech changes will improve driving safety, reduce congestion, and connect vehicles with broader IoT capabilities. While these changes require technologies like the IoT and machine learning, they rely on a balance of the technology with data and people. Each of these factors will need to work together to move this industry and our world forward.

Learn how to innovate at scale and drive tangible business value by reading our latest white paper, “Accelerating Digital Transformation in the Automotive Industry.”

Uli Muench

About Uli Muench

Uli Muench is Global Vice President of the Automotive Industry Business Unit at SAP.