We are doing away with a common misconception: the automotive industry is not about to face the greatest challenges in its history.... It has long been in a fundamental and extremely exciting process of change. Those who follow the developments in the automotive industry closely are already seeing these mega trends up close. Let us explain exactly what we are talking about.
Relief for the environment: Electromobility
At the moment, there is no other topic that is as polarised as electromobility. Some may see electromobility as a saviour, others are very critical of it. But what is clear is that all large manufacturers are focusing on it. Although Germany is still considered a leading country in developing electric cars, if you look at the international market, you will see that electromobility is developing rapidly around the world. By the end of 2018, the number of electric vehicles around the world had risen to 5.6 million. This equates to an increase of 64 percent compared with the previous year. In Norway, electric vehicles reached a staggering market share of 49 percent in 2018.
Relief for the driver: Autonomous driving
Another mega trend is automated or even autonomous driving. Over the past few years, news in this area has been almost euphoric: sit in your car, fold the steering wheel away and simply turn to your passenger for a chat. Does that sound exciting to you? Unfortunately, it's not quite as easy as that. There are still legal and moral questions to resolve before systems will be used in practice on the roads.
More safety with assistance systems
But the industry is working on it. Until that day comes, existing assistance systems are being honed to make them even safer. This means that they will minimise the impact of human errors when driving and improve the driver's awareness in specific driving situations. For example, in future, vehicle mirrors will be replaced with cameras and monitors in some vehicles. They will expand the driver's field of view and will also be a lot more intelligent. In order to continue to upgrade the features of driver assistance systems, information from the camera, radar and ultrasound systems are being combined using sensor fusion. Monitoring drivers with cameras will also play a greater role in future.
Mobile network standard 5G necessary for comprehensive autonomous driving
It's anyone's guess when car drivers will really be able to take advantage of automation level 4 or 5 (fully automated and real autonomous driving) on the roads without legal or moral implications. The new mobile network standard 5G will represent a large step towards autonomous driving. That's because, without comprehensive, fast and powerful Internet, there will be no autonomous driving. Although 5G has been rolled out in some countries already, the new 5G frequencies will not be available in Germany until 2021 at the earliest, and, in reality, probably not until 2026.
Just like your smartphone, your vehicle will always be linked to the outside world in future, whether that's for car-to-car communication (cars communicating with one another) or for the more complicated car-to-x communication (networking with infrastructure). This will avoid traffic jams, for example, because vehicles can adapt the traffic light controls to the volume of traffic. This means that "smart driving" will become the standard in the future. Your car will also be networked with other vehicles and communicate with the cloud or passengers on the roadside as well as with infrastructure. Thanks to V2X innovations (vehicle-to-everything), networking will become much greater.
Individualisation of vehicles
Cars are becoming more and more unique. New vehicle owners can individually configure more and more equipment features and details, and can create their dream car. Among other things, this includes personalised, dynamic light features for the vehicle interior — something which HELLA is working on as well. For a long time now, individualisation has not only been available for luxury vehicles. On the contrary: in future, you will be able to configure completely individualised cars in every vehicle class.
What electromobility means for the independent aftermarket
The relevant developments in the automotive sector will flow into the replacement part business with a bit of an offset. The same may also be said for electrification and autonomous driving. HELLA's combination of OE and diagnostic expertise forms the basis for new, strategic products that can help workshops to master vehicles that are becoming increasingly complex and to improve their efficiency at the same time. Using our technological know-how and innovative services, we support workshops throughout the entire process, making it quicker and more profitable.
Are you intrigued and do you want to delve deeper into the automotive industry's revolution? Here, we describe future trends in more detail:
None of it will work without assistance systems, electrics and electronics: https://www.hella.com/techworld/za/Technical/Car-electronics-and-electrics-205/
Nor without sensors and actuators: https://www.hella.com/techworld/za/Technical/Sensors-actuators-204/
We hope you have a pleasant journey. Now, and in the future. ;-)