Zintro experts discuss Auto Industry trends

titlephotoThe auto industry is always changing one way or another, but it is being faced with some serious challenges, from greater regulation on emissions to addressing its role in the climate crisis. We asked our Zintro experts to explain what the next three to five years hold for the industry and in what direction does it seem to be moving.

John Kua, a consultant in electric vehicle technologies, says that even before the recent global economic recession and its impact on demand, the global automotive industry was undergoing significant restructuring and changes that fundamentally were transforming its traditional industry model.

Kua says that there are three key driving forces that have been in play for the auto industry for some time now:

1. Emerging markets and competition, specifically new emerging markets and manufacturers from China, India, Russia, Brazil and Mexico. “To survive with lower profit margin and demands from more discerning and sophisticated consumers, industry players are now actively consolidating, in terms of mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, and increasingly adopting globalization of the entire automotive supply chain, especially to these emerging economies,” says Kua.

2. Technology impact, both a newer technology push from research labs and technology pull from the need for higher governmental environmental emissions, fuel efficiency standards, and safety regulations. “This results in new emissions control technologies, collision avoidance systems, increased use of embedded electronics/firmware in the car, and a growing consumer trend for wireless connectivity on wheels by leveraging technology innovations from the IT industry,” explains Kua. “Also, to reduce cost and increase competiveness, technological innovations are impacting manufacturing by using more automation and robotics into the process.”

3. Increasing introduction of disruptive technologies, especially alternative power train technologies, such as electric and hybrid vehicles that can potentially upset the business model of the traditional automotive industry based on the 120-year old ignition/diesel engine. “This is forcing a re-examination of the industry paradigm to be more inclusive and horizontal, thus opening up to players from other industries with lower entry barriers like IT, electronics/software, and new materials industry for composite auto and body parts,” Kua says.

Ashoka Kumar Vemala, an expert in vehicle electronics design, says that information, connectivity, and features related to safety and fuel economy will be the key growth drivers; however, implementation of any new feature must be done with a focus to provide competitive price performance point. “For example, a simple tire pressure alert in case of low pressure will result in improved safety and fuel saving. However, cost of offering this feature is to provide better value to customer. One can look to integrate
this with cluster so that not much additional electronics is required except for a sensor,” says Vemala. “It is very important to sense context and driver/user preference to provide what info is required rather than too much of information which can lead to driver distraction. Cloud based information management can provide travel plans and highlight journey risks like known hazards such as road works, dangerous intersections, diversion, bad roads, traffic updates, and other relevant information that may provide value based feature at low cost.”

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By Maureen Aylward


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