The Future of Automotive Services: Technologies and Trends to Watch in 2021
The automotive industry is rapidly turning sci-fi concepts into reality. Until relatively recently, concepts as electric vehicles (EV), driverless cars, and contactless service stations were the stuff of fiction and speculation. However, consumer demand and technological advances have provided automakers, aftermarket players, and tech companies with substantial opportunities to make these and other ideas a reality.
Saving the planet and saving our time
Sustainability and convenience are two of the biggest drivers of innovation in the automotive sector. As a growing number of companies outside the sector develop solutions to meet growing consumer interest in trends like EVs, driverless cars, and contactless car service are growing in popularity, big automakers and aftermarket players need to accelerate their efforts to remain relevant. For instance, with Waymo, Google is making huge advances in the driverless car space1, and in February 2021, the company signed a partnership with Ford for connected vehicle technology.2 One month prior to this, Microsoft made a major investment in self-driving car company Cruise, the majority of which is owned by GM.3
Auto companies of all sizes, as well as companies outside the vertical, are also building applications, devices, and services for drivers with progressive technologies such as
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
- Big data and analytics
- The Internet of Things (IoT)
- Blockchain technology
- 5G and other high-speed networks
- Augmented / Virtual / Mixed reality (AR/VR/MR)
No business that wants to succeed in the auto industry can afford to ignore these technologies.
Ongoing and upcoming automotive trends
We're seeing several exciting trends in the auto industry that are going to have a massive impact on the way we buy, rent, service, and drive our cars, including
- Digitalization — a growing number of automakers are integrating progressive tech like AI, 5G, and VR/AR/MR in their vehicles, both in partnership with tech companies and via proprietary solutions.4
- Electric power — e-vehicles continue to gain a greater share of the automotive market thanks to global efforts to curtail climate change and cut carbon emissions. This year, we are likely to see EV sales grow by 50%.5
- Usage-based insurance — more insurers are leveraging tech like AI and telematics6 that collect a wide range of driver data, including speed, hard-braking frequency, and areas driven through most often. This enables them to offer drivers rates based on their driving habits and mileage rather than set premiums. Allied Market Research predicts the usage-based insurance market will grow to over $149 billion by 2027 at 25.1% CAGR from 2020 to 2027.7
- Car connectivity — The main draw of vehicle connectivity is the enablement of over-the-air updates (OTA). An IDC report indicates that 90% of all new vehicles in the US, along with 70% of light-duty vehicles and trucks globally, will be embedded with connectivity capabilities.8
- Vehicle interfaces — To improve safety and comfort, vehicle manufacturers are experimenting with AR and MR features, such as projections of traffic and navigation information onto the windshield, and interactive driver monitoring and health tracking.9
An agile mindset is a must
With a 95% failure rate10, innovation is a challenge that every business must overcome, even those operating in industries as progressive as the automotive industry. One of the biggest challenges could be adopting an agile approach to product and service development. Sustainability, shifting consumer preferences, and continuously evolving automotive technology are reshaping the auto sector – businesses that cannot anticipate and adapt to these changes in real-time will have a hard time growing, let alone surviving.
An ever-increasing number of companies are rising to these challenges and meeting market needs with innovations that are revolutionizing the way we drive. Let’s look at some of the highlights.
Using predictive technology, Carmen identifies potential vehicular problems in advance. Carmen’s three-component package features a dongle to plug into your car, a mobile app, and an analytic web dashboard. The app collects data while you are driving, transmits that data to the driver’s smartphone via Bluetooth, then uploads the data to the cloud for analysis. If Carmen finds problems, the app alerts you and your service center.
Bosch has developed predictive diagnostics software that continuously monitors, analyzes, and reports on a vehicle’s component and system conditions. The solution can alert you to potential issues in advance to save you money on repairs and operating costs, and prolong your car’s roadworthiness.
Another tech-powered diagnostic tool, CARFIT’s solution measures and analyzes your car’s vibrations and alerts you to its current and future servicing requirements — all without tracking your location. Simply put the CARFIT Puls vibration monitor in your car, download the app, and get informed whenever your car needs attention.
Robotire uses robots to change tires. The company’s CEO Victor Darolfi told TechCrunch, "We can do a set of four tires, put in to pull out, in 10 minutes. It normally takes about 60 minutes for a human operator to do a set of four. Some can go faster, but they really can't do that eight hours a day."11
In addition to predicting fleet maintenance needs, Pitstop collects insights from unstructured data such as historical service records and driver complaints. The solution helps businesses manage, service, and update their fleets more efficiently and cost-effectively.
PACE is an award-winning IoT solution that provides drivers with a Bluetooth dongle and mobile app that enables them to transform their cars into smart cars. Car performance monitoring, mechanical and system failure prediction, and traffic monitoring are just three of PACE’s 10 innovative features.
SHIFTMobility seamlessly integrates automotive data into mobile solutions and communication hubs — and not just vehicle data, but data from automakers, parts suppliers, and service centers. The company’s apps and hubs leverage demand, commerce, connectivity, and service intelligence data to help companies in the automotive industry identify and capitalize on opportunities for business growth.
Contactless and convenient, Sharebox runs a network of 24/7 service stations that meet customer demand for quick, hassle-free car maintenance and repairs. At the same time, the solution ensures dealerships and service centers retain control over the customer experience. You can use Sharebox to check your car in, pay for servicing, and pick up your car at the times that are best for you.
WayRay develops customizable holographic AR heads-up displays (HUD) for cars. Drivers and passengers can interact with the displays in conventional and self-driving vehicles.
Naturally, Apple has its finger in this digital pie, providing the seamless Apple CarPlay service, which enables iPhone owners to use their devices safely while driving. With car keys, you can unlock and start your car with a few taps on your iPhone or Apple Watch.
Fleetio’s fleet management software and applications help organizations track, analyze, and improve their fleet operations efficiently and cost-effectively.
Wrench is a full-service mobile auto repair shop, meaning it is also 100% contactless. The company offers all the services you can get from regular auto service centers, including oil changes, brake jobs, and tire rotation. Wrench’s ASE certified mechanics do their work in the location you request (provided it’s legal to do so, of course).
U+ can help drive your automotive innovations to success
The U+ Method can efficiently and effectively lead the development, implementation, and improvement of innovations in any sector. To date, we have used this method to bring 80+ products to market, creating over $1 billion in value for Fortune 1000 companies, including businesses in the auto industry. Our success stories in this space include driverless car fleet management software that we developed for Škoda Auto and an online used car sales platform we created for European Auto Group.
Our four-step product development methodology focuses on executing the risky stages of product development before initiating large build–outs.
We conduct initial idea validation and market testing, during which we evaluate whether an idea satisfies the wants and needs of a specific market and target demographics.
When we find a market-verified value proposition, we define the product and determine ways of taking it to the market. During this stage, we build prototypes, run smoke tests (a software testing process that determines the stability of a software build), and evaluate launch channels and features.
Our developers and designers build a minimum viable product (MVP) as we simultaneously move to launch with early adopters.
When the MVP launch goes well, we scale up the product based on market feedback. This stage typically includes support for internal operational processes and product modifications based on early customer feedback.
Contact us to learn more about how U+ can drive your innovation projects to success.