The automotive industry is entering a period of intense change. Over the next few years, what has been known as the automotive industry will come to be known more broadly as the mobility industry — the next generation of products and services enabling the transportation of people and goods, combined with new technologies in material and digital sciences, and business models such as ride-sharing and shared ownership.
Any one of those trends is disruptive enough to warrant adjustments to business models. But when taken together, they add up to an outright transformation. And not just for existing players. New, non-traditional players are emerging from the technology space. The transformations coming are so broadly disruptive that companies that don’t move fast enough will find themselves permanently behind and unable to compete–which could force a huge shift in the landscape, players, and power dynamics of the industry.
The New Emerging “Mobility” Industry
The mobility industry involves thinking more broadly about how consumers will engage their vehicles. There are four distinct, observable technology areas driving this shift, and in 2016, they moved from the future into the now.
- Connectivity: Connectivity has the benefit of the longest involvement in the vehicle, and is most familiar to the consumer. An example is On-Star, GM’s popular “help button, that provides directions to emergency services.
- Redefined mobility: Driven by the success of ride-sharing services like Uber, the very nature of what we consider “mobility” is shifting the definition of consumer engagement in a vehicle. Most major manufacturers are considering how these trends will impact new development and design. This will result in changes in the physical development of vehicles and the software that’s inside them.
- Autonomous vehicles: As 2016 unfolded, industry observers and consumers became more aware of the safety issues and technological challenges involved in AV, and the political realities around the likely regulations and necessary standards in the space.
- Electrification: 2016 saw significant movement toward the mainstreaming of “EVs,” with improved battery technology, emissions standards becoming tougher, and consumers demanding better clean technology. The growth has been steady, but slower than proponents of the technology would prefer to see.
What Does 2017 Look Like?
Continued overall growth is projected for 2017, fueled by micro markets and the new mobility advances. Trends suggest that between ride-sharing and the rise of autonomous vehicles, the concept of individual ownership may decline in appeal over the next decade or so. So, how can this new mobility embrace the shifts in consumer vehicle engagement?
Integration of mobile information to a vehicle is key. Think personalized preferences like Sirius, Pandora, etc., to future services like “predictive maintenance” options to monitor and warn consumers about operational performance of the vehicle. With this type of integration, personalization takes on an element of productivity. A user in any vehicle would be able to check emails, make calls, work on presentations, or otherwise gain back time for productivity that has been traditionally lost to the commute.
With the heavy media attention and high levels of consumer fascination around autonomous vehicles and the connected car, the automotive industry will continue to have a high profile as it tackles the issues surrounding personal data security, privacy, safety, and more.