In the past, innovation has played a crucial role in pushing the automotive industry, and today things are no different. Manufacturers worldwide are adopting new technologies in their operations to stay ahead of the competition while strengthening their positions. Some of these innovations, such as AI and electric vehicles, have existed for a long time. In contrast, others, like blockchain, are quite new but have found multiple valuable applications in the industry.
1. Autonomous Vehicles
Autonomous or self-driving vehicles have been a part of our collective imaginations for decades. From Herbie, the Love Bug, to K.I.T.T., from the Knight Rider franchise, autonomous cars have been a fantasy for generations. However, they are now a part of our everyday reality. Several companies, most notably Google, have developed autonomous vehicles that will transform transportation as we know it.
One of the critical advantages of self-driving vehicles is safety. Though some are skeptical about letting a computer do their driving for them, autonomous cars reduce the number of accidents caused by negligence or driver fatigue. Many vehicles come with advanced recognition technology that uses AI to spot obstacles or dangers much faster than a human can. Autonomous commercial vehicles are also on course to transform the transport industry. The Tesla Semi and Udelv both employ AI to provide round-the-clock deliveries without the usual dangers of trucking.
There are multiple applications for blockchain in the automotive industry. Companies like Codenekt use distributed ledger technology to store vehicle data on a secure and inalterable blockchain. The Codenekt app allows drivers to store all vehicle data in one location, including tax, MOT, and service information. This data is then tokenized, meaning that the vehicle can be sold as an NFT, giving all potential buyers access to the vehicle’s entire history. Owners can also use the app to pay for vehicle-related services, e.g., insurance, tax, and parking.
The Codenekt app also makes driving more efficient and sustainable. The app can analyze your journey and advise you on how to drive more efficiently to reduce your carbon footprint. Overall, the app gives drivers more autonomy, makes selling a second-hand vehicle easy, and can help drive sustainable driving.
3. Vehicle Connectivity
Many vehicles have unique identities to help differentiate them from others on a network. This feature allows data tracking for use in insurance, safety, and on a commercial level, fleet management. V2V or vehicle-to-vehicle communications are especially useful for autonomous vehicles and allow them to share relevant information in real-time.
Another exciting example of vehicle connectivity comes from EGVs, Electric Vehicle Grids. Battery capacity is an issue with many electric vehicles. EGVs allow cars to share power with the grid, optimizing battery usage. Many energy providers, including EDF and OVO Energy, already offer vehicle grid solutions.
4. Shared Mobility
The shared mobility sector has transformed from its bicycle-sharing origins to a global industry. These days there is an array of vehicles available, from apps for sharing electric bikes and scooters to peer-to-peer car sharing. Ride-sharing apps are becoming more popular thanks to their cost-efficiency and eco-friendliness. Uber allows users to share trips, while alternative apps exist in many large cities.
The future of shared mobility looks bright, thanks to the development of autonomous vehicles. “Robo-taxis” and shuttles could replace current taxis and e-hailing apps by removing the need for a human driver. They could run 24 hours a day and save companies considerable money in wages. There is plenty of investment in this sector, and there are plans for autonomous flying taxis that transport passengers between dedicated stations.
5. Electrification Innovations
The electric and hybrid vehicle market is growing rapidly. For example, in 2021, more battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were sold in the UK than over the previous five years combined. The number of affordable models available is a significant factor in the increase in sales. Ford, Nissan, and Tesla all offer relatively low-cost plug-in models, while Audi, Jaguar, and Mercedes-Benz have more premium offerings. Many of these companies also sell commercial electric vehicles utilized by businesses of all sizes.
The increasing number of electric vehicles on the road causes a demand for better power solutions. The USA currently leads this field as home to almost half of all electric vehicle charging startups. Developments such as EGVs (electric vehicle grids) and the growing number of available pop-up charging points indicate that the electric vehicle market will continue to expand.
The potential for impact in the industry means that automotive companies must constantly develop new ideas to keep up with their ever-evolving nature. They have invested vast funds into research and development for decades in attempts to outdo other manufacturers in a highly competitive environment.
Currently, advancements in electric vehicle technology are catalysts for many innovations in the area. Although blockchain is relatively new, its potential to completely revolutionize many facets of the automotive industry is recognized by many. Undoubtedly, we will see many blockchain-based solutions pop up in the coming years, whether for the manufacturing process, vehicle ownership, or sales.
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