The automotive industry is changing gears. While aesthetics, power, fuel economy, and safety are always essential, the industry’s overall focus is shifting towards developing greener, more sustainable vehicles and optimizing the automotive customer experience.
And it’s all being driven by a complex mix of national regulations – from the eventual banning of fossil fuels and supply chain laws that focus on human rights and the environment – technological advances, and a fundamental change in consumer demands for more sustainable, efficient, and connected vehicles.
Sustainability with e-mobility
Importantly, the growing number of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations (and other alternatives, such as eHighway’s use of overhead cables or embedded EV charging equipment directly in roads) is fueling the answer to sustainable transport, e-mobility (any vehicle with an electric drive-train installed).
Such electrification is booming everywhere. Between 2019 and 2021 alone, the global sale of electronic vehicles grew from 2.5% to 9.0%, and with charging infrastructures improving and spreading, and EVs able to travel further, the adoption of pure-battery EVs is set to surge. Especially when used with hydrogen fuel cell technology to reduce costs (hydrogen is nearly everywhere), increase driving distances, and produce zero emissions (especially once power grids become largely decarbonized).
Electrifying the automotive experience
Naturally, driving needs still determine whether you use a traditional fuel-powered car, a hybrid, or an EV, but the number of electrified options is growing, and in many ways, they are causing a fundamental change in the driver experience.
While some may miss the old days of loud, powerful engines and sound systems that vibrated the car to its limits, the advances within today’s vehicles are turning them into a full automotive experience. Though quickly, speaking of power, some of the top-end EVs are extremely fast – the Polestar 2, with its dual-motor variant and Performance Pack, has a system total of 455 horsepower. Things may be going green but that doesn’t mean there’s any compromise in quality and features.
When talking about features and that all-important experience, the industry isn’t holding back. Of all customer experience trends in the automotive industry, it’s smart mobility that leads the way.
Focused on low-to-no emissions, smart mobility is all about three things:
- Connected technology powered by the super low latency of 5G wireless.
- Autonomous driving that optimizes driving efficiencies while boosting the need for more entertainment features.
- Smart cities that use 5G networks, artificial intelligence, and big data to link with connected cars (especially autonomous ones) to better optimize traffic flows, automate car parking, search for potential incidents, and alert emergency services, etc.
Create the ultimate in-car digital experience
Discover how you can ensure your digital solutions provide a great in-car experience, or watch how crowdtesting with Testbirds helped BMW Motorrad validate, test, and optimize their apps and digital services with their customers.
Smarter solutions driving your experience
Getting this right is seeing a huge uptake in the development of car-specific operating systems, apps, and middleware. As cars become more like driving computers, the need to safely manage, integrate, and upgrade the features that consumers expect – from onboard assistants to driver assistance systems – is vital. Especially as complexity grows and multiple systems are incorporated throughout a vehicle. To ensure each system works individually and that everything does as a cohesive whole, automotive software testing can’t be ignored.
There’s a reason why automotive conferences are putting software concerns well in advance of more traditional, hardware-related ones!
Today’s automotive experience is more than getting from point A to B. Just consider the digital cockpit. From infotainment to control, it’s the prime (and combined) focus of all in-car connected experiences and the one area that requires robust automotive software testing. Particularly because it, and any connected third-party device, interacts with a growing range of digital e-services:
Need a service or repair? Your after-sales e-service is on the way. Renting a car but need to upgrade? Mobility-as-a-Service has you covered.
It’s all part of the industry’s ongoing automotive digital transformation.
What we’re now seeing is the development of a fully interconnected mobility solution that’s beyond just a ‘car’. It must match the expectations of drivers (and passengers) and deliver an automotive experience that balances novelty, personalization, cost-saving efficiency, and sustainability. Next-generation digital services and solutions will take this even further.
Want information about the attractions you’re driving past? Augmented reality (AR) windshields will display the facts as you go by – plus your speed, navigation data, route guidance, pedestrian detection, and more!
Headlights blinding you? An AR windshield will auto-dim.
Not sure what color you want your car to be? That’s fine, your ‘E Ink’ coating lets you change it at the touch of a button. And that’s just the start.
Taking the high road: The rise of the smart green machine
Powerful. Safe. Efficient. Connected. Entertaining. Sustainable. Environmentally-friendly.
That’s what today’s vehicles are all about.
A driver is now more likely to brag about how far their EV goes on a single charge than the size of its engine. Cars can scan our face and tell us to have a break, guide us to the nearest charging station, play movies for the people in the back, let everyone go online, even automatically book us into our next service.
The potential is limitless – and this digital transformation even extends into the manufacturing process (where efficiency is essential) with the use of AR, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, digital production assistants, and other connected technologies.
One clear example is BMW’s Regensburg plant where they created a ‘smart factory’ using an Internet of Things platform and a range of technologies from smart data analytics, robots, and 3D printing – which has seen them cut new application deployment times by 80%.
The horseless carriage, and the industry that’s developed it, has certainly come a long way!
But as vehicles become more intertwined with digital solutions and greener technologies, the industry must ensure complexity and a lack of testing doesn’t ruin the experience and drive customers up the wall.