The future of our cars will change, whether you’re ready or not

How the automotive industry will transform

The automotive industry is not only one of the world’s most important economic sectors by revenue, it also takes up a leading role in terms of quality expectations, product variety and process complexity.

Driven by globalization and increasing customer requirements, car manufacturers are forced to offer a large range of different vehicle models with an even higher amount of configurations. Or did you know that an average upper-class car model of a premium automobile brand can reach far over one thousand possible different variations? But what will the future bring, which amenities will the car of tomorrow hold ready for us and will we be ready to adapt to all that?
The automotive sector faces enormous changes with far-reaching effects on the whole industry and its customers. With several rapidly developing digital technologies and profound research in the field of acceleration, mobility behavior will change constantly.

Electrified cars, going ‘all in’ and the absurdity of certain kinds of power generation

Given the essential environmental challenges our planet is facing because of global warming, the transition to emissions-free individual mobility would hardly be possible without the electrification of the acceleration unit. Even though there are still alternative concepts like hydrogen-powered cars, this idea seems to be the most advanced. The chance that these cars could be capable of emitting very low levels of harmful substances, dust and noise would be a big and positive factor - not only in urban areas, but even beyond that. Considering the fact that electric mobility would need a completely new approach in terms of infrastructure, including aspects such as charging stations and specialized mechanic workshops, going ‘emissions-free’ should be a global initiative and not only limited to local actions. Somehow, it seems it’s about going ‘all in’, especially on the part of governments. The sooner a government provides the public with the appropriate technical infrastructure and facilities, the sooner the population will switch to electrified cars. Norway has successfully demonstrated that with determination from the government – less taxes on e-cars, no highway fees, proper network of recharging units – the people are quick to adapt. In 2018, the share of electrified and hybrid cars reached over 30 percent of new registrations.  
Last but not least, it should be clear that the electricity used to charge the vehicles will have to come from renewable sources to ensure CO2-neutral mobility. Charging e-cars with power produced by coal power stations or nuclear power plants would reduce the positive aspects of this new form of mobility to sheer absurdity.

Autonomous cars with motion sensors versus humans of flesh and blood

The rapid technological progress made in areas such as AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning and sophisticated algorithms makes it possible to reach goals that seemed utopian 20 years ago. For example, the development of autonomous vehicles, which require no human intervention even in complex traffic situations, was a look into the future at first – everyone knew it would happen, but most people were surprised how fast this could be achieved. In fact, there are already numerous initiatives, startups and also big companies like Google or Tesla (a famous e-car producer – can you spot a pattern here?) working extensively on autonomous cars. Even though the development of this technology thrives and has advanced a lot, there is still a long way to go. But without a doubt, self-driving cars will become reality in the next few years and who knows, humanity might soon get used to being driven by artificial intelligence patched up with motion sensors and cameras instead of a driver of flesh and blood.

Connected cars, medieval armory and booking tickets with one screen tap

Another big step in the development of new mobility will be the networking of cars with the outside world. This can be summarized by the concept of the ‘Connected Car’. This term actually represents two concepts at once. On one hand, it applies to inter-car communication or communication with external items in transport infrastructure (such as traffic lights). If the car approaches a traffic jam at a blind corner or simply red lights, this interconnectivity makes it possible to notify you (or the autonomous car, to add the next pattern to get spotted) right on time. Or another good example: your e-car’s battery (pattern, no pun intended) is low and the user interface not only notifies you, but offers a list of potential recharging stations within reach – and even reserves a slot at the chosen charging unit.
On the other hand, the term also covers the networking of vehicle occupants with the outside world. In the future, they will be able to communicate, work, surf the internet or access multi-media services during the journey because – you guessed it – the cars are moving autonomously. Imagine a drive through spectacular landscapes where you search for information about the waterfall on the left side of the road or the fortress in the distance. You won’t only be provided with the historical data or artistic details, but will also receive information about the upcoming renaissance fair or ongoing armor exhibition there. Booking entry tickets will cost you a simple tap on your screen, all while moving to your destination.

Would you share a car with your romantic love affair?

In the past years, many big cities have offered car-sharing facilities. Many providers of those services offer uncomplicated and cheap access via smartphone apps, and the success of ZipCar, DriveNow, Car2Go and the like proves the viability of this concept.
While these endeavors often started as pilot projects or citizen initiatives many years ago, sharing concepts will become even more economically successful with the introduction of autonomous vehicles. It will no longer be necessary to search for a shared vehicle in the surrounding area. Instead – thanks to ‘connectivity’ (there you go!) it will be an easy task to order the chosen car to wherever you want it to be. Potentially there will be also an ‘on demand’ service – you could order the car of your choice for 7 PM with an extra wide screen and special streaming service for romantic comedies to get in the right mood for your date by the sea. Anything seems possible…

Mobility will change, but will the people be ready to adapt?

With a lot of changes coming along the way, the take on mobility will change from the traditional views of the last century as a status symbol and an expression of individuality. But are the people ready to adapt to the aforementioned innovations?

Do you remember the introduction of the smartphone over a decade ago? Despite the new interfaces and rather complex operation in comparison to simple key-operated cellphones, it has become clear that customers are quick to adopt highly complex and expensive technology as long as it makes their lives easier. Consumers value convenience and comfort, so in the long run, these automotive trends will establish themselves for sure.

New trends are a challenge to the international automotive supply chain

As we pointed out in the beginning, the enormous product variety-induced complexity and the pressure of tough international competition make it a challenge to ensure efficient logistics. The developments in this area will lead to faster innovation intervals and model cycles of five to eight years will be a thing of the past. Instead, software updates or the integration of the most recent hardware will become more common. That is why the efficient use of digitization plays a major role throughout the entire automotive supply chain. Whether it’s the storage of raw materials or millions of different components for production lines or the time-sensitive delivery of spare parts: the already complex automotive supply chain will become even more comprehensive and the first trends are already crystallizing – but this is definitely a completely different story worth an own article.

Automotive & Spare Parts

We offer flexible solutions for just-in-time (JIT) and just-in-sequence (JIS) delivery, spare parts services, freight optimization, dangerous goods transports, various packaging options and dedicated automotive warehouses with a range of value added services. Our highly trained teams provide speed and 24/7 service for time-sensitive automotive shipments.

READ MORE