How technology has changed the automotive industry?

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February 8, 2021

# Technology , OTA

How technology has changed the automotive industry?

"Science can amuse and fascinate us all, but it is engineering that changes the world.� - Isaac Asimov

 

Yes! Engineering has definitely played a major role in the evolution of science and it is majorly possible due to advancing technology. Our world is being transformed and upgraded with outstanding technology that brings widespread change and immense satisfaction to the lives of people. While coming onto automotive industries, technology is creating huge impacts with the introduction of AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML( Machine Learning), blockchain technology, and many more advanced technologies.

How about checking on some of the major trends and applications of technology in the automotive industries? Ready to explore? Let's go!

 

1. Reshaping Automotive Industry with Artificial Intelligence

AI plays a vital role in the development of the automotive industry � manufacturing, research, design, supply chain, production, and post-production. This is one of the technologies through which we can achieve the utmost comfortable user experience. Automotive success is achieved by high-performance computing and Artificial Intelligence.AI concentrates on a wide variety of updations; from personalizing the driving experience to enabling proactive maintenance. The personalization of automobiles is achieved by sending the data from onboard sensors to manufacturers, advertisers, and insurance companies.

The latest data clearly illustrates that the market size of artificial intelligence was valued at $27.23billion in 2019 (Fortune Business Insights, 2020). This figure is estimated to reach $266.92 billion by 2027 �a nearly tenfold increase in just eight years in addition to a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 33.2 percent. With advanced technology, the expectation of people also reaches a maximum peak, which has certainly paved the way to a period of digital transformation! Excited to check out some of the applications of AI in the automotive industries? Here you go!

 

Autonomous Vehicles

In the world of automobiles, autonomous vehicles are considered as the �apple of the eye� of the customers. Studies show that there are around 1,400 self-driving cars on US roads today. An autonomous vehicle is a fully automated driving system that responds to external conditions as a human driver does. This system holds in a wide variety of technologies of AI, which satisfies the user interaction. These cars utilize sensors, actuators, complex algorithms, machine learning systems, and powerful processors to execute software.

Autonomous cars can generate and maintain a map of the surroundings based on sensors situated in different locations of the vehicle. Radar sensors help in monitoring the position of nearby vehicles. There are also video cameras, that detect traffic lights, read road signs, track other vehicles, and look for pedestrians. Lidar (light detection and ranging) is used to measure distances, detect road edges, and identify lane markings by the emission of light. Ultrasonic sensors help in the detection of other vehicles, which comes in handy during vehicle parking.

 

Augmented Reality (AR) Dashboard Displays

Ever dreamt of improving your driving experience by the implementation of Augmented Reality Dashboards? Now it's possible! AR displays will provide you the information about the car, the speed you are maintaining during your drive, and many more suggestions regarding ways to avoid collisions. These displays come under the category of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), which deals with assisting the driver with driving and parking functions.

Features like Automated Parking Systems and Automotive Human Machine Interface (HMI) are also implemented with the help of AI. HMI technology assists in keeping a real-time communication with vehicle system to interact without distraction while driving a vehicle.  The latest artificial intelligence statistics show that as of 2019, 62% of consumers are willing to use AI to in order to improve their experience (Salesforce, 2019).

AI holds a wide variety of applications and is truly one of the greatest innovations of all time. It welcomes boundless possibilities and a promising future.

 

2. Electric Vehicles

An electric vehicle (EV) is a vehicle that makes use of one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. An electric vehicle may be powered through a collector system by electricity from off-vehicle sources, or maybe self-contained with a batterysolar panelsfuel cells, or an electric generator to convert fuel to electricity.No doubt, our future beholds the immense possibility of usage of electric vehicles! This is because, the battery prices are falling down by 73% since 2010, and thus, it is excepted to be much cheaper in the upcoming decades. The International Energy Agency mentions that by 2020 up to 20 million electric vehicles will be in usage by the nation, a number that is expected to go up to 70 million by 2025. Under the Make In India program, the manufacturing of e-vehicles and their associated components is expected to increase the share of manufacturing in India�s GDP to 25% by 2022. While analyzing the foreseen impact of electric vehicles in the case of economic sectors, large-scale adoption of electric vehicles is estimated to create a profit of $60 Billion on oil imports by 2030. In a nutshell, we can affirm that the introduction of electric vehicles in the automotive industries will create a mind-blowing advancement in the field of technology.

 

The battery management system is of great concern when it comes to electric vehicles. A BMS is defined as an electronic system that manages a rechargeable battery (single cell or battery pack) by analysing its state, calculating secondary data, reporting that data, protecting the battery, controlling its environment, and/or balancing it An ideal Automotive Battery Management Systems (BMS)are able to meet features such as voltage, temperature and current monitoring, battery state of charge (SoC) and cell balancing of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Some of the features of BMS are as follows:

 
  • Battery protection

The safety of lithium-ion batteries is one of the major concerns when dealing with the automotive industry. The rate of accidents that involved battery but without any dangerous reaction of the battery is only reported to be about 25%. This shows that the implemented safety systems of the vehicle and the protection of the battery system worked very well.

Lithium-ion batteries are used in drive trains for these vehicles for energy storage reasons. Of the various technologies available, lithium-ion technology is the preferred technology. According to recent studies, the amount of technical malfunctions that end later in accidents, in Germany is below 10 % (most of which are tire defects), while accidents due to human error are over 85%. The implication of this is that, in the case of an accident, the protection of a battery in a vehicle is of utmost importance.

 
  • Battery Monitoring

Here, the battery pack state of charge (SoC) and state of health (SoH) are thoroughly checked and are notified with precautions, if the battery happened to malfunction. This motivates people to depend on EV and experience its ultimate features.

 
  • Battery Optimization

 

One of the specific features of battery management system in electric vehicles is the possession of cell balancing feature that promotes the battery life and capacity and hence plays a major role in optimizing the driving range for hybrid (HEV), the plug-in (PHEV), and full electric vehicles (BEV). Electric vehicles generally use battery banks containing series-parallel combinations of several small units to meet the high power demand of the drive system. However, in the case of Li-battery packs, it requires external power balancing circuits for its protection from getting damaged by overcharge and deep discharge. The BMS provides a safety feature to prevent over-discharging any cell during balancing in the event of a defective or dead cell. A minimum balancing voltage threshold is set up in order to allow the programmer to specify a voltage threshold at which the BMS is not allowed to remove energy from a cell. While the rest of the cells will continue to balance, the BMS will not place a load on any cell which is below this threshold, even if a cell below this threshold is needing to be balanced. The main purpose of this feature is to protect the cells from over-discharging situations and to prevent a possible condition in which the BMS removes charge from alternating cells. When a cell in the battery pack exceeds the Start Balancing voltage, the BMS will start implementing the balancing algorithm for all cells. The BMS will look for the lowest cell, then place a load on all cells which are more than the maximum difference in voltage above the lowest cell. These features of BMS add up to the user's convenience and accounts for its reliability of electric vehicles in the automotive industry.

 

3. Blockchain Technology

When dealing with blockchain technology, you might not be surprised to know that there are already a handful of companies investing in this particular technology. According to a study by IBM published at the end of 2018, 62% of automotive executives are convinced that blockchain will be a groundbreaking innovation in the auto industry by 2021. The same study also found that 54% of so-called Auto Pioneers plan to implement their first commercial blockchain network at scale within the next three years.

No doubt, blockchain technology is gaining momentum in this modern era. The launch of MOBI (Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative) in May 2018, brought together major automakers (BMW, General Motors, Ford, and Renault) and leading blockchain and technology startups and premier organizations such as IBM, Accenture, and ConsenSys.

 

Some of the notable features are as follows:

Vehicle Financing

With the help of this technology, we could optimize vehicle leasing and financing system. For example, if a car�s leasing rate hasn�t been paid yet, it is possible to prevent it from being used by deactivating the unlocking system.

 

Carsharing

This technology could also promote a secure digital identity at carsharing. Personal settings can be saved in the car and exposure to unnecessary parties can be restricted. This could also enable P2P carsharing. Meanwhile, blockchain could facilitate the carsharing procedure for users as a single registration in the blockchain ecosystem is good to be used for all carsharing offers from different service providers in the ecosystem.

 

Assistance to car rental companies

Blockchain technology assists rental companies to monitor the cleaning and maintenance of cars. Ever heard of odometer fraud? It refers to the illegal practice of rolling back odometers to make it appear that the vehicles have lower mileage than they do. Here�s a glad tiding to the Volkswagen users! Volkswagen is building a blockchain-based tracking system to prevent odometer fraud that is widespread in the automotive industry. This will also ensure the expansion of Volkswagen Company and help the buyers to save money.

 

4. 3D Printing

Optimizing production, streamline supply chains and logistics are achieved through 3D printing techniques. This technology has extensive application in rapid prototyping apart from the manufacturing of tools. The 3D printing market is expected to grow by 21.2 percent year-on-year to reach 13.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2019. The market for 3D printers is estimated to reach 5.3 billion U.S. dollars.

Volkswagen prints parts for high performance. Ford Motor Company is one of the earliest adopters of 3D printing. Virtual design testing is one of the important parts of the design process for a high-performance vehicle. By using this testing, more than 500 cooling and aerodynamic 3D designs were analyzed to enable the team to reach its downforce, braking, and cooling targets. Even though prototyping is considered as the primary application, using the technology for tooling is also! Usage of 3D printing for tooling is said to have saved Volkswagen nearly �325,000 in 2017, whilst improving ergonomics, productivity, and operator satisfaction.

Many companies are dreaming of the transformation of 3D printed cars to reality. Local Motors is one such company that is looking forward to making it into a reality. Two years later, Local Motors unveiled Olli, a 3D-printed, autonomous electric shuttle that was designed for local, low-speed transportation; finally into reality! The shuttle was designed for use in urban centers, businesses, hospitals, university campuses, etc. Local Motors is not the only company pursuing 3D-printed cars. Similarly, the Italian automaker, XEV, is developing a low-speed electric LSEV car with the help of 3D printing.

 

5. Machine Learning

Technologies like machine learning are implemented and utilized to form new intelligent products and optimized ways of thinking. In the automotive industry, machine learning (ML) is basically associated with product innovations, such as self-driving cars, parking, and lane-change assists, and smart energy systems. ML also holds a significant effect on the marketing function, from how marketers in the automotive sector establish goals and measure returns on their investments to how they connect with consumers. Machine learning for automotive boosts data processing and allows cars to make decisions faster than drivers, which helps in eliminating human error and avoiding 90% of crashes. Predictive maintenance, quality control as well as improved safety are also some of the highlights of machine learning. Let's have a glance through each of them:

 

Predictive Maintenece

Cars generally have a system of alarming the user with alerts and signals, when it deals with checking engine or oil status. Machine learning monitors all the sensors detecting the existing problems before they occur and drivers can get a prescriptive alert of what is going on with their vehicles. Machine failures can also be predicted using this technology! The global predictive maintenance market size is estimated to grow from USD 4.0 billion in 2020 to USD 12.3 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 25.2% during the forecast period.

 

Quality Control

Image recognition and anomaly detection are types of machine learning algorithms that can be easily used to detect and eliminate faulty parts before they get into the vehicle manufacturing workflow. Parts manufacturers can capture images of each component and automatically run those images through a machine learning model. Highly-accurate anomaly detection algorithms can even detect issues that are down to a fraction of a millimeter.

Predictive analytics helps in evaluating whether a flawed part can be reworked or needs to be scrapped. Eliminating or re-working faulty parts at this point is far less costly than discovering and fixing them later. It saves on more expensive issues and reduces the risk of costly recalls. It also helps ensure customer safety, satisfaction, and retention.

 

Improved Safety

Safety is one of the major concerns of people regarding autonomous cars. They have to ensure that their vehicles are entirely safe on the road. Machine learning in the automotive industry helps vehicles to define obstacles on the road, whether trees, other vehicles, or pedestrians. With the help of machine learning algorithms, we will be able to create multiple vehicle behavior models paving the way in helping cars to recognize the surroundings around them and react to the ever-changing environment. 

 

6. Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrid electric vehicles are those vehicles that have an alternate source of energy. They are powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, which uses energy stored in batteries. The entire world is concerned about the conservation of fossil fuels and other valuable resources. Hybrid vehicles are of great use these days as they play a major role in conservation.

Hybrid vehicle sales began in the year 1999 and plug-in electric vehicle sales began in 2010. Hybrids captured 3.2% of the light vehicle market in 2013 but were at 2% in 2019. Plug-in hybrids and all-electrics combined accounted for 2.1% of the light vehicle market in 2019. Hybrid Electric Vehicles holds a vast possibility for its rise in the upcoming years. The presence of the electric powertrain is intended to achieve either better fuel economy than a conventional vehicle or better performance. There are a variety of HEV types; the most common form of HEV is the hybrid electric car, although hybrid electric trucks (pickups and tractors) and buses also exist.

 

The main difference between a hybrid car and an electric car is that the hybrid combines an internal combustion engine and an electric motor to send power to its wheels. However, the electric car draws power from a single source of the electric motor to propel the vehicle. To extend the range and life of a battery, it can be interfaced with an ultracapacitor (UC) which permits a longer life cycle, a higher rate of charge/discharge, and lower internal resistance which results in lesser heat loss and better reliability. Ultracapacitor (UC) helps in improving the efficiency of the cycle to around 90% from 80%. The emergence of solar-driven HEVs (PHEVs) leads to the continuous charging of batteries using solar energy, which minimizes the usage of gasoline and hence reduces environmental pollution.

 

 

It is the technology that rules over the decade rather than the human beings. With the accelerated digitization of the world, the automotive industry is gearing up for an enormous change in 2021. With the help of technologies and new innovations in the automotive industries, the world is yet to discover remarkable transitions in standards of living! Technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain technology, 3D printing, and the introduction of hybrid and electric vehicles are playing a vital role in the progress of the automotive industries. These technologies elevate our life socially as well as economically. Electric vehicles will account for about 10 percent of new vehicle sales by 2025. Hybrids will reach a 40 percent share. Through these insights, we can conclude that with the help of technologies, the automotive industry is a definite promise for a bright future. The coming generation will experience the era of technology, brimming up with many opportunities ahead. While looking at the automotive industries, we can foresee a future with many upcoming technologies and will surely grab the attention of the decade.

Excited to see what's coming up next in the automotive sector? We are there for you! Do let us know your suggestions and interests in the comment box!

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