An IBM study says more intelligent cars will be commonplace by 2025, while self-driving cars may not.
With the emergence of the IoT, our world is becoming increasingly more connected. Not only is it our kitchens and living rooms, but smart “things” are beginning to infiltrate our garages and roads as well. Today, it is more apparent than ever before that consumers are more engaged, meaning they will demand a more seamlessly-integrated, personalized experience inside their ride. As more cars go online, IBM points out that the lines of the automotive industry will blur and the ecosystem will expand to include electronics and telecommunications enterprises.
According to the company’s Automotive 2025 study — which was based on interviews from 175 automobile industry executives spanning 21 countries — 38% expect at least partial autonomous cars over the next 10 years that will be able to drive themselves in certain designated areas. While these cars will be far more digitally-savvy and connected than anything we have today, only 8% of the executives predicted entirely driverless automobiles. That isn’t to say they wouldn’t welcome them.
In fact, a vast majority (87%) of those surveyed claimed that they believe partially-automated driving, such as an expansion of today’s self-parking or lane change assist technologies, will enter a state of ubiquity in the coming years. Meanwhile, 55% said highly-automated driving, where the system recognizes its limitations and calls the driver to take control, if needed, allowing the driver to perform some non-driving tasks in the meantime, will also be adapted by 2025.
The study found that nearly one-fifth (19%) of the business leaders felt that their companies are fully prepared for the challenges of the next decade, while one-third (33%) believed their organizations are adaptable to facing those obstacles.
The IBM study goes onto reveal that by 2025, vehicles will be intelligent enough to configure themselves to a driver and other occupants. In other words, cars will be able to learn, heal, drive and socialize with other automobiles, and their surrounding environment through vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Indeed, nearly 80% of the execs believe these cognitive technologies will be a key component of how vehicles learn and reason to provide a better experience for the occupants and optimize their own performance. With the rise of V2V communication, next-gen cars will be equipped to monitor drivers with heart conditions for signs of heart attack or even repair itself without human intervention.
Soon, our vehicles will be able to take on their own “digital personas” and join car-to-car “social networks,” an area in which 57% of respondents felt would come to fruition over the next decade. This would enable vehicles to share not only traffic and weather conditions, but information specific to a given automaker. The study also indicated that nearly two out of every three (63%) executives saw mobility services or ride-sharing as an area for greater collaboration with consumers, while more than half (59%) cited product design, marketing campaigns (54%) and service/after-sales (52%) as areas that the industry could tremendously benefit from working directly with drivers.
Whatever the future holds, IBM encourages that “automotive enterprises must adapt to how consumers can access vehicles in new ways and use them in their digital lives — and how cars now fit into an increasingly complex web of transportation options. Looking toward 2025, those enterprises that welcome the openness transforming the business are setting the stage for success.”
While we await 2025, Reuters has recently published their latest report on The State of Innovation in the Automotive Industry 2015. According to the global news agency, GM, Toyota and Hyundai are all making a huge investment on self-driving cars. Though Google may have gotten the lion’s share of the headlines when it comes to autonomous vehicles, a number of today’s biggest carmakers are filing the most patents in this space. GM, in particular, has shown an astonishing increase in interest with the most documents published in 2013, as the chart below demonstrates.
So, what’s next for automotive market in the forthcoming years? Whether it’s sensor-laden vehicles or flying cars, a much smarter, safer and secure future is in store. Without question, today’s drivers make demanding customers for carmakers, so automotive electronics will remain a demanding application area, an area in which we know quite a bit about. Buckle up, we’re driving the Internet of Things in the fast lane!