Automotive industry is undergoing disruptive transformation driven by the need for increased connectivity, autonomous driving, utility and flexibility.


It’s hard to believe that only 100 years ago, humans traveled by foot to reach every destination. This significantly limited how far they traveled to work and how they lived. The shape of society back then was much different than what it is today.  


Significant changes in society have occurred since the invention of the automobile - from design and manufacturing of cars to the development of software that is installed in every vehicle with the emergence of the Connected Vehicle. More changes are awaited on the horizon with the invention of Autonomous Vehicles.


Smart automobiles, a solution to decongestion?


The Connected Vehicle didn’t emerge from a singular disruptive force. A range of environmental, sociological and ecological factors have contributed to its development. It also emerged from the heuristic nature of automotive companies – constantly searching for new innovative ideas to help retain current customers and to conquest owners from the competition, thereby gaining market share.


The global economy and fairly recent focus on ecology and improving the environment, has led automakers to search for other methods to power vehicles. They have moved from providing traditional gas-powered vehicles to vehicles powered by other forms of energy such as electric vehicles, natural gas, and more.


Over populated cities and the ‘one-adult-one-car’ syndrome is forcing automakers and auto fleet owners to explore new avenues to create revenue including ride sharing, offering other types of transportation and monetizing data streams being transmitted from vehicles.   


Connectivity will propel the auto industry to a whole new level. It will be exciting to see how vehicle-to- vehicle (V2V) communication will allow the driver to view information about the speed, direction and traffic conditions, thereby creating a synaptic, inter-dependent ecosystem. This could help to prevent the serious collisions that are caused by the inability to detect other vehicles located in the driver’s blind spot or along the road.    


Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication could be the next possible way to free us from traffic congestion. Allowing vehicles to be connected to traffic lights and highways to receive precise traffic updates and navigation, might also give the driver a macro level view into the extraneous conditions that could lead to city wide traffic jams.


The Solution - Less drivers or driverless?


The last five years have seen a growing trend in consumers who are moving away from personally owned and driven vehicles to shared mobility. The low cost of cabs and shared services such as Uber and Lyft, provide consumers the option to choose the backseat while not having to incur the wrath of maneuvering through traffic daily. While consumers may not be driving themselves, a spurt in the increased adoption of shared services has still launched a new generation of cars on the road and opened the opportunity for fleet owners to capitalize on this rising trend.  


So where are we in the process of transformation? Automotive companies are swiftly moving from the experimental phase of its smart mobility plan to implementation. Positioning at automotive events like CES and Auto Shows, indicate subtle changes in the way automotive companies are positioning themselves – moving from automakers to mobility companies. The industry is adopting to intelligent and holistic solutions. Such rapid advancements of smart and connected technologies will make cars more connected, sustainable and exciting than ever before.


Companies are deriving smart mobility programs to meet the changing consumer attitudes and priorities. Many companies are expecting the future mobility to include ride sharing and autonomous cars, remotely controlled cars and even consumer car sharing. This shows the breadth of the transportation models in the industry – and how it will vary from the industry as we know it today.


The decrease in automotive ownership will mean growth in the number of fleet services. Huge investments are being made in developing electric and hybrid vehicles as well. Electric vehicles are inevitably going to play a greater role in future transportation needs.


Automakers have not always been technology and mobility companies, but they must adapt to the changing environment to survive. It is also true that for such a varied and global effort, automakers need to collaborate with all types of partners, in different markets and across the globe. The future of transportation is open and is ripe with opportunities. 


HARMAN believes that the future of mobility will present a revolutionary landscape where automobiles will connect with people more than ever before. As self-driving capabilities are increased in vehicles, and they are combined with emerging mobility solutions, there will be a whole new market created for entrepreneurs of every type. The emerging trends in the mobility services will influence the future of transportation.


We believe that the evolution of mobility will not eliminate drivers from the driving experience but instead will force consumers to think of vehicles as their partners, making them feel more connected and confident about the whole driving experience. It will create an atmosphere with zero fatality and more efficient use of time each, and every day.   


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