Automotive trends will continue to focus on research and development of autonomous vehicles, and while it’s still a few years away from practical application, both traditional automotive and tech companies are racing forward. At the same time, advanced driver assistance systems are already being designed in cars in small ways to improve the driver experience and enhance decision making and overall safety. With all this enhanced connectivity, data security and driver authentication will remain a top challenge. Blockchain technology and the encryption safeguards provided with a public ledger system could improve digital security by authenticating drivers, data transmissions, along with both cars and their parts.
Based on policies to improve safety, the DOT has proposed rules requiring that all new cars talk to one another digitally by 2020. The connectivity and computing power has been available for some time, but the introduction of in-vehicle artificial intelligence (AI) will soon be an important next step in auto technology. Companies are further courting millennial buyers with smart car designs that allow multiple users to connect devices for music, video, and content sharing. And, both voice and face recognition technology will allow the car to adjust preferences for individual passengers.
The pressure from industry disruptors will remain strong. As the popularity of ride sharing continues, more and more automotive companies are investing and partnering with ride-share companies, proving that legacy automotive companies must continue reinventing their role in the industry. Automakers have identified the need to better understand and enhance the customer journey as they travel from research, to purchase, to delivery. Aiming to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, OEMs are considering strengthening direct-to-consumer sales to gain critical customer insights and create a more seamless experience related to financing, delivery, and ongoing sales and service.
As interest in efficient, eco-technologies coincides with a drop in the price of batteries, more hybrid and fully electric cars will hit the road, particularly as overall prices begin to align with conventional vehicles. Ensuring a strong market for these cars will require a continued focus on the infrastructure to support them (such as readily available and convenient charging stations) and consumer education.
The industry will need to be agile, open, innovative and able to adapt quickly to fast-changing trends. With so many initiatives evolving simultaneously, having effective incentive strategies for sales, parts and service staff will be critical to meeting new business goals.
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