The Connected Car of the future, made of self-healing materials, social media connected and communicating, Wearable and IoT compatible is more or less already here. IBM released a study, “Automotive 2025: Industry without borders,” amassing interviews with 175 executives from automotive OEMs, suppliers, and other leaders in 21 countries and found that by 2025 cars will be able to learn, heal, drive and socialise with other vehicles (V2V) and their surrounding environment (V2I).
“By 2025, the industry will not only recreate our highly personalised and digitised lives inside our cars, but also give consumers a bigger role in defining that experience, whether as a driver or passenger.” said Alexander Scheidt, Global Automotive Industry Leader of IBM’s Global Business Services in a statement.
Some of the study’s interesting observations included: By 2025, The Connected Car will be sophisticated enough to configure itself to a driver and other occupants. Fifty-seven percent believe vehicle “social networks” would be in place where vehicles would communicate with each other, allowing vehicles to share not only traffic or weather conditions, but information specific to a given automaker. For instance, if the Connected Car was experiencing some type of problem not recognised before, it could communicate with other vehicles of the same brand to seek help on what the issue might be. Constant real time analytics capabilities will help the Connected Car identify and locate issues, schedule fixes and even help other vehicles with similar problems with minimal impact to the driver.
Like other smart devices, the Connected Car will become an integrated, connected component in the Internet of Things (IoT). It will collect and use information from multiple sources concerning traffic, mobility, weather and other events associated with moving around: details about driving conditions, as well as sensor-based and location-based information for ancillary industries, such as medical, insurance and retail.
Seventy-four percent of respondents said that the Connected Car will have cognitive capabilities to learn the behaviours of the driver and occupants, the Connected Car itself and the surrounding environment to continually improve, optimise and advise. As the vehicle learns more about the driver and occupants, it will be able to expand its advice to other mobility services options for example.
The report also underscores considerable skepticism about fully autonomous vehicles, where no driver is required and the vehicle is integrated into normal driving conditions. A mere 8% of executives see it becoming commonplace by 2025. Moreover, only 19% believe that a fully automated environment, meaning the driving system handles all situations without monitoring, and the driver is allowed to perform non-driving tasks, will be routine by 2025.
Eighty-seven percent of the participants felt partially automated driving, such as an expansion of today’s self-parking or lane change assist technologies would be commonplace. Moreover, 55% said highly automated driving, where the Connected Car recognises its limitations and calls driver to take control, if needed, allowing the driver to perform some non-driving tasks in the meantime, would also be introduced and widely available by 2025.
Obviously, not everybody agrees with IBM’s report. Some find it shockingly optimistic while others find it too conservative.
Thomas Müller, the engineer leading the development of the brand’s driverless sports car at Audi thinks that autonomous vehicles in urban areas could be up to thirty years away. “Despite the hype about driverless vehicles, it would take 20 to 30 years before they could co-exist with existing vehicles in cities. People driving old cars in the middle of cars that are more intelligent and highly autonomous would be a mess” he said.