Not a day goes by without us using some form of transportation. Whether it's public transport or personal vehicles, the automotive sector plays an important role in our lives. Technology continues to make huge strides across all sectors, and the automotive industry is no exception.
According to Global Market Insights, the value of artificial intelligence in the automotive sector exceeded $1billion in 2019 and is expected to grow by 35% every year until 2026. There are many reasons for such astronomical growth.
The automotive sector offers many areas that are ripe for optimization and enhancement through AI. Here are four areas where the most exciting developments are currently taking place.
Ever since the first electronic control unit was installed in a car back in 1981, computers have increasingly taken over many functions in road cars. The earliest forms of AI or computer assistance were rudimentary. These days, drivers can expect vehicles to monitor their actions and alert them of possible dangers.
For instance, driving assistance technologies routinely scan the road ahead and warn drivers of possible impediments. Some car manufacturers such as Cadillac offer systems that monitor the driver's eye movements and posture to determine whether they're focused on the road ahead.
If the driver is unfocused, the system alerts the driver repeatedly and waits for a response. In case no response is detected, the system brings the vehicle to a halt. Such systems are present in even more sophisticated technology such as the Autopilot driving systems.
While these systems aren't ready to assume control of a vehicle right now, there's no doubt that the cars of the future will use machine learning algorithms to guide themselves. Companies such as Waymo are leading the way with their Waymo One service.
As the amount of data collected by these services grows, AI algorithms become more experienced in handling the roads, and in turn, we can expect better driverless cars shortly.
Vehicle Maintenance and Upgrades
The average vehicle has always been treated like a piece of hardware. After being driven for a certain number of miles, the owner needs to head to a mechanic and have the vehicle's systems serviced. As software increasingly takes over vehicle functions, owners are discovering that vehicle maintenance is becoming increasingly automated.
Most cars these days have cloud connectivity built into them and routinely transmit usage data back to manufacturers. AI only enhances this process by bringing the power of analytics to data collection. A good example of this is the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud project that is being trialed by Volkswagen and Microsoft.
Volkswagen aims to provide a seamless experience by integrating smart home technology with driver assistance and maintenance to vehicle owners. Tesla is another manufacturer that delivers vehicle software upgrades over the cloud without requiring owners to visit the dealership for software maintenance.
The potential for AI in preventive maintenance is massive. Right now, vehicle owners and manufacturers have no way of knowing the optimal time at which a vehicle requires servicing. Thanks to everyone driving their cars differently, the maintenance milestones will naturally differ for each vehicle.
Analytics can pinpoint usage trends and possible issues before they even occur, thereby lowering the cost of vehicle maintenance for owners. In turn, manufacturers receive data that helps them understand product weaknesses and mitigate them in future model releases.
Marketing isn't the first place you'd look at when it comes to AI use cases for the automotive industry. However, AI promises to give early adopters a massive lead in a crowded space. Car dealers operate in extremely competitive environments and have always struggled to tailor campaigns to their prospects.
The typical car advertisement features a carousel of cars that the person might be interested in and not much personalization. This picture is changing quickly thanks to dealership marketing support software that simplifies digital marketing efforts.
Currently, a dealer's marketing employees spend a ton of time uploading ads to digital channels and measuring ROI on them. Instead, AI-powered software analyzes a consumer's behavior pattern, their prior engagement with the dealer and publishes a tailored ad at the right time.
As a result, the prospect is provided with a customized listing that precisely fits their needs. Visitors to a dealer's website receive tailored recommendations that further increase the impression that a dealer is talking to them directly.
With dashboards and reports integrated into these platforms, analyzing data and measuring ROI is also a breeze.
Insurance Risk Assessment
AI is increasingly used in the financial sector, and the automotive industry is feeling the effects in the shape of car insurance premiums. An insurance underwriter's primary goal is risk assessment, and AI is helping them tailor individual quotes.
The legacy underwriting process took a driver's age, health, sex, car type, and other relevant factors into consideration before issuing them a quote. The problem is that underwriters had no way of knowing how many near-misses the driver had or how often they got lucky and avoided a major incident despite dangerous driving.
IoT sensors are one way in which AI is helping to deliver more accurate insurance risk assessments. Emerj states, "IoT sensors allow insurance carriers to price coverage based on real events, in real time, using data linked to individuals rather than samples of data linked to groups."
The Future of Everything
Self-driving vehicles were once thought of as a distant dream, but they're now a reality. AI has the power to transform the automotive sector, and it's only getting started. Computers already power everything we do, and they're becoming more intelligent as the days go by.