Automotive industry

Four trends that are transforming the automotive industry

Companies that dive into digital supply chains, enhanced digital experiences, sustainability and connected vehicles will be in the best position to grow in the future, says Dominik Wee

The past two years have been incredibly difficult for the automotive industry. So it’s no surprise that car manufacturers and suppliers are eager for 2022 to bring them better fortunes. The year ahead promises a future of digital supply chains, enhanced digital experiences, pressure to prioritize sustainability and connected vehicles.

Players will realize the need for digital supply chain management

Industry-wide supply chains have been strained over the past two years. However, the global automotive supply chain has been one of the hardest hit. With the industry lacking key materials and parts such as semiconductor chips, many factories were forced to close. To face these challenges in this new year, companies need to have greater visibility into their supply chain. Better understanding, forecasting and collaboration are needed to identify and avoid bottlenecks as soon as possible and to solve the problem in the long term.

Companies need to have greater visibility into their supply chain

Digital twins, virtual representations of a company’s physical supply chain, are becoming increasingly popular as a way for companies to simulate various aspects of their work. By bringing together data from disparate sources in one place and modeling their entire supply chain, companies can get a more complete view of suppliers, inventory, and other information. For example, companies using Google Cloud’s Digital Supply Twin for better data collection and sharing have achieved much faster analysis of supply chain data, with processes that previously took more than two hours and are now executed in minutes. The support module, Supply Chain Pulse, provides real-time dashboards, advanced analytics, and flags potential issues.

In 2022, we will see more use cases of companies leveraging Digital Twin supply chain management products as they help bridge gaps between systems and better understand the factors affecting supply chains. sourcing, so businesses can adapt accordingly.

Vehicles will be designed to provide 360-degree experiences for customers

The automotive world is learning that it must meet customer demands for an enhanced digital experience throughout the lifecycle; from discovery, to purchase and finally, to ownership. So what happens when a customer can’t see a product in person before buying it? Using the power of the cloud, virtual and augmented reality allows customers to see and experience 3D car models without having to set foot in an automotive showroom. For the ultimate immersive shopping experience, potential customers could take a 360-degree look inside and out, and even try on different colors of the model.

When it comes to ownership, automakers are making progress by closing the gap between a vehicle and its owner. Last June, we wrote about the rise of “empathic devices,” experiential machines rolling off their production lines fully designed, ready to go, and yet, in a critical sense, incomplete; they expect interaction with their owners to fully exist as products. Since then, we’ve seen manufacturers design products and customer experiences with this built-in learning cycle. For example, with the smart user manual we created with Toyota, the search for car information is personalized based on the car’s identification number, so that the car can explain itself to its owner via a voice-activated digital owner’s manual experience.

With the power of the latest graphics and the scalability of cloud technology, we will see the entire life cycle of a vehicle taken to the next level.

Players will be pressured to identify and act on the size of their carbon footprint, as well as other sustainability issues

While sustainability has been on the agenda of automakers for some time now, pressure is mounting from customers, business partners and shareholders demanding positive action. In 2022, manufacturers will be under increasing pressure to identify and act on the size of their carbon footprint, as well as other sustainability issues. The gap between this fast-occurring problem and manufacturers’ knowledge is bridged digitally, usually through powerful analytics and AI.

ZeroLight Configurator
With the ZeroLight Configurator, a digital vehicle is created and configured by the customer, and the salesperson then gives a virtual presentation of the product

One of the most exciting things about AI is how it is increasingly able to model and act on large-scale systems. For example, we’re seeing huge gains in quality control accuracy, which means manufacturers can standardize and reduce the size of the training sets needed to create models, and apply computer vision not just to parts individual, but to groups of parts, and ultimately to the overall system. AI can also help alleviate last-mile delivery issues, which account for more than half of all shipping costs. The ability to optimize routes using real-time weather and traffic data, as well as deploy ML models to predict where new pickups are likely to come from, will allow businesses to minimize the time to operations and expenses while maximizing services.

This systems approach will be key to addressing sustainability. A few years ago, Google Cloud used deep learning to reduce the amount of energy used by our data centers by 40%. Companies like Renault are now bridging the gaps between manufacturing processes even further, creating more impressive system designs.

AI will see a huge uptick, especially in the connected vehicle experience

We also fill the “pilot vacuum” in AI, which occurs when companies pilot a project, but cannot cost-effectively drive results at scale. Google Cloud’s multi-year deal with Ford has many AI elements and will involve bringing thousands more engineers into AI-powered engineering.

The automotive industry has struggled this year, but the trends we see emerging in the new year will help companies see and optimize systems at scale in product creation, delivery and use. .

Throughout history, technology can only work at scale when it solves the human component, bridging the training gap so that new technology can work in large markets. Together with Ford, we are introducing enjoyable, safer and more efficient connected vehicle experiences designed to minimize driver distraction and keep customers on the cutting edge with over-the-air updates. From 2023, Ford and Lincoln customers around the world will begin to enjoy unique digital experiences built on the Android operating system and with integrated Google apps and services, which include world-class map and voice technology. The new data streams generated by the connected vehicle market will lay the groundwork for advancements in automotive technology, such as autonomous driving and the software-defined vehicle.

The automotive industry has struggled this year, but the trends we see emerging in the new year will help companies see and optimize systems at scale in product creation, delivery and use. . We have no doubt that the industry will face new challenges, but this is the basis for progress. Companies that dive into digital supply chains, enhanced digital experiences, sustainability and connected vehicles will be best positioned to grow in the future.


About the Author: Dominik Wee is Global Managing Director of Automotive, Manufacturing and Energy at Google Cloud