While the flying cars of 1982’s Blade Runner may still be a ways away, the seemingly impractical, if not impossible, futuristic visions of automobiles dreamed up by filmmakers and engineers alike are becoming more of a reality with every passing day. Technology is changing the face of the automotive industry, and with the dramatic shift in the products and features that are available to consumers — and the very way people drive — the need for innovative software development services becomes all the more pressing every day.
What trends, devices, and products are shaping the automotive industry today and in the future? And how can software development providers meet these demands?
1. Artificial intelligence (AI)
AI is a transformative resource for software development providers across numerous industries, and the automotive industry is no different. It’s responsible for powering features and products including:
- Self-driving cars
- Blind-spot alerts
- Voice-controlled systems
- Driver monitoring systems such as sensors and cameras
Some of these devices, including cameras and sensors, allow automotive companies to gather data on driving behaviors. They use these data to improve their automobiles, making them safer and more comfortable for drivers.
For example, Affectiva’s Automotive AI monitors and alerts users to dangerous behaviors such as closing their eyes while driving. Tesla, meanwhile, equips all its vehicles with autonomous-driving devices, including cameras, sensors, a radar, and a GPS — which together enable the driver to tell the vehicle where he or she wants to go and let the car take over.
Software development providers are also honing features that personalize the driving experience, from remembering frequented routes to adapting to a driver’s comfort, meaning that automobiles will become more responsive to the user’s needs.
For example, a car might have a feature limiting speed in a specific area, blocking the driver’s ability to use the vehicle in hazardous conditions, or automatically adapting the temperature and climate to the driver’s preferences.
“Today, you’ll find an intense focus on how we stay connected with the world outside when we’re behind the wheel — that is, while we still need steering wheels,” a Wired article entitled “How Connectivity Is Driving the Future of the Car” notes. “Our vehicles were once our cocoons, insulating us from the world outside, but now we demand vehicles that include a host of new experiences and connectivity features — and we’re all along for the ride.”
Drivers can control their environments through voice-activated navigation systems. They can also unlock doors remotely via their mobile devices. And that’s only the beginning.
The Internet of Things (IoT) facilitates connectivity between automobiles, devices, and special features. Bluetooth, virtual assistants, telematics systems such as GPS, Wi-Fi, and more are all current or future features of vehicles, which are becoming “smarter” every day.
4. Improved safety features
Many automotive manufacturers are turning to software development outsourcing or engaging software development services to enhance the safety features on their vehicles. These features include:
Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) facilitates the transfer of data, enabling vehicles to receive information about and communicate with their surroundings, including pedestrians and other vehicles. It is a key feature in promoting safety and efficiency.
Advanced driver-assistance systems
Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) improve safety through features that alert drivers to road obstacles and hazardous conditions, sometimes taking over control of the vehicle through features such as adaptive cruise control, pedestrian crash avoidance mitigation (PCAM), and more.
5. Increased use of mobility data
With big data come big opportunities. As vehicles become increasingly connected, they are producing more and more data — data that could potentially become a huge source of revenue for automotive companies. The industry is turning to software development companies to create solutions for managing and storing large quantities of data.
This data could fuel future trends such as subscription services. Forbes predicts that by 2025–26, vehicle subscription services might be responsible for 10 percent of all new vehicle sales across the United States and Europe. A subscription service essentially means that customers have the ability to access automobiles via a monthly plan, rather than having full ownership of them.
Cars of the future
AI, personalization, connectivity, improved safety, and increased usage of data are just some of the trends transforming the automotive industry. As the capabilities of software development services continue to grow, we’re likely to see even more innovations on the horizon. And in order to remain competitive in the industry, companies will need to employ developers who can help them stay ahead of the curve, whether that means the outsourcing of software development to onshore or offshore providers or training in-house personnel.
What’s next for software development in the automotive industry? It looks like 3D-printed cars may be heading into the mainstream market, and license plate recognition (LPR) software has the potential to improve security and the flow of traffic. As machines get smarter across industries, the possibilities for the future of cars are only increasing.