Embracing new automotive technologies to meet consumer demand

As manufacturers look with hopeful expectation to 2021, the automotive industry finds itself at a figurative fork in the road: veer one way and OEMs are diving deeply into new technologies to reach a wider range of customers with optimized product lines. In the other direction, some automakers find themselves falling behind the technology curve and losing ground to competitors. To ensure success in the great potential of the automotive market, consider the role of three areas of technological advancement in the marketplace: autonomous vehicles, alternative drives and IT-centric/robotic processes.

Autonomous vehicles

The headlines have screamed of successful tests, reality checks and backstrokes of self-driving cars … yet their continued influx into more and more markets is inevitable. For those attempting to fulfill the 5-stage model of autonomous driving, the technology continues to develop around pattern recognition, real-time capabilities and intelligent control. Realistically, Level 3 can be reached by 2021.

Level 3 (conditional automation) means that the driver must be ready to take control of the vehicle at all times with notice. Related applications of these advances include expansion of vehicle/product architecture and traffic regulation driven by new usage scenarios and increasingly individual mobility. These changes come with the demand for related new services such as parking availability or maintenance and repair. These changes also come with connectivity and interaction with the drivers’ surrounding traffic infrastructures, supported by real-time IT operations, machine learning and traffic optimization software (among boundless other possibilities).

Alternative drives

As manufacturers seek responsible ways to reduce harmful byproducts and lessen human causation of climate change, innovative minds have been at their drawing boards to keep our environmental carbon footprint at a minimum. (See the next blog in this series for a discussion on decarbonization regulations facing the auto industry.)

A primary focus in this effort is the reduction of vehicle emissions — both CO2 and noise — that spotlights the development of alternatives. This is where we’re seeing electrical drives, hydrogen cell technology and breakthroughs in hybrid drives that efficiently blend the use of fossil fuels with battery power. And the frontier for new alternative modes of transport is broad with more inventive solutions popping up every day.

The changeover to alternative drives is tantamount to a revolution in the automotive industry, which is changing almost every area of the value chain and forcing us to rethink our most basic processes. The development and production of the combustion engine fall into this area. The design of an electric drive is fundamentally different from that of a combustion engine. However, electrically powered vehicles have to contend with other challenges such as range, charging times and safety aspects due to the batteries they carry. Hydrogen-powered vehicles also require further research and development which, similar to electrically powered vehicles, has a fundamental impact on all further process steps such as production, sales and after-sales. Alternative drives open the door to new, different mobility concepts that are continued in autonomous driving.

To take full advantage of alternative modes of travel, OEMs must seek out technologies that improve these aspects of the product life cycle:

    • Improve product and BOM architectures
    • Design and support recharging infrastructures and power supply options
    • Bring mobility concepts for cities from the idea phase to the market
    • Drive the adoption of supply structures and manufacturing processes
    • Monitor lifecycle adjustments and recycling
    • Develop platforms for horizontal and vertical product integration (e.g., onboard charging station locators and how to process the recharge payment)

IT centricity/bot economy

This area is undergoing increasing levels of technological feasibility in the development of intelligent, connected processes and services driven by analytics and automation. As these technological wonders are deployed, customer support must be provided to simplify the increasing IT complexity.

New tools, front ends and improved input options need to be developed to support customers in the jungle of technological services, to keep new services exciting and useful, and to avoid frustration in operation and controllability.

New tools, front ends and improved input options need to be developed to support customers in the jungle of technological services, to keep new services exciting and useful, and to avoid frustration in operation and controllability.

New applications of IT and the bot economy will be evident in product (IT) architecture (e.g., control units), new services/architectures/operations, and the out-tasking of highly repetitive and linear tasks along the whole value chain by bot solutions. Increased predictive decision-making will allow resource optimization along the value chain and in the continuous development planning of the workforce.

Technology is on a never-ending march to future innovations to serve customers better. Make sure you steer your organization into transportation’s bright future promised by these tech developments.

For a more detailed discussion of the primary challenges and solutions relevant to the automotive industry, please download the Atos white paper “Who needs to own a car? Changing mobility needs and their impact on the automotive industry.”

Share this blog article

About Matthias Böhmer
Co-Head of Global Manufacturing Consulting and Head of Manufacturing Consulting Central Europe

Matthias has held several positions for Atos Consulting and gained his practical experience in many different projects in the automotive industry, in discrete manufacturing and in the energy and utilities sector. Among others he has been a driving force behind projects with Daimler (Mercedes-Benz), Bosch, ZF Friedrichshafen, and the Daimler European Data Center.
Follow or contact Matthias

About Steve Cockerill
Vice President and Consulting Partner, Global Manufacturing

Steve is an experienced business technologist with over twenty-five years of technology and digital consulting experience gained in the Manufacturing, CPG, Automotive and Telecoms sectors. He has held several international consulting and blue-chip roles, leading multi-country consulting and programme delivery teams to support clients across the UK, Europe and the US. Steve is an Atos patent holder for his work upon real-time analytics in the Rail industry.
Follow or contact Steve