Graphic of connected vehicles driving on the highway

Four Automotive Technology Trends Driving the Industry Forward

By The Beta District


Driving a Jetson’s-style flying car may not be in the immediate future, but getting a text message from your car when someone is walking in the street just ahead? Or your car slowing to avoid a collision without you, the driver, ever touching the brake? That kind of innovative automotive technology is well within reach, thanks to research and development programs across the automobile industry.

“Similar to the late 1800s,” wrote Jim Davis, director of software giant SAP’s automotive business unit in a Forbes op-ed, “the automotive world stands to completely transform in the next two decades.”

Here are four major trends in automotive technology to keep an eye on as that transformation unfolds.

Big Data Drives Automotive Innovation

Auto manufacturers, municipalities, and highway managers have access to more data than ever before thanks to the technology and connectivity capabilities available in today’s vehicles and roadside infrastructure. That data makes all kinds of automotive innovations possible, Davis writes, from predictive maintenance to efficient fleet management to faster emergency response times. For manufacturers in particular, the depth and breadth of data collected can optimize supply chains and shave anywhere from 10% to 15% off research and development costs. These analytics can also inform strategies to reduce delivery times, speeding the introduction of new automotive innovations to the market.

Learn how Goodyear and EASE Logistics are collaborating in The Beta District to collect data for technology pilots.

Connectivity Enhances Automobile Safety and Longevity

You’re likely familiar with a lot of the automotive technology currently available in connected vehicles, such as Bluetooth connections for voice-activated instructions and in-car WiFi for entertainment systems. But the future of connected vehicles lies in their ability to communicate with devices outside the vehicle. Manufacturers and highway managers are working on ways connected vehicles can help improve safety – for example, detecting when a driver accidentally goes the wrong way on a one-way road or encounters unexpected fog or ice. Traffic management centers and dispatchers can use this data to alert emergency responders or caution other drivers about dangerous conditions.

Fleet managers and manufacturers are working to perfect how connectivity improves vehicle diagnostics, alerting them to potential issues in their cars, trucks, and vans before they become costly problems to repair.

Learn how Honda demonstrated the benefits of smart intersection technology in The Beta District.

Self-Driving Vehicles Inch Closer to Reality

We’ve been told for at least a decade that driverless cars are nearly here – so it’s been disappointing  to see only partial automation arrive in the marketplace so far. But manufacturers, logistics companies, and the like remain bullish on this automotive innovation. In April, Vox outlined a number of reasons for optimism where autonomous vehicles are concerned, including the ever-increasing power and affordability of computing technology, as well as the growing availability of 5G cellular networks. And GM CEO Mary Barra said just two months ago that she expects the company will have driverless cars on the market for consumers within the next decade.

Demand Increases for Shared Mobility

Reducing the environmental impact of motorized transportation will continue to be a massive challenge for the automotive industry. Improving sticker price, performance, and maintenance costs of electric vehicles is one potential solution. The rise of shared mobility solutions, which offer consumers an alternative to car ownership, is another. In addition to giving individuals more options for personal transportation through subscription services, shared mobility platforms are also being developed to help fleet owners, such as delivery companies and government entities, to more efficiently manage their vehicle assets.

Start Testing Automotive Innovations in The Beta District

Before any of these innovative automotive solutions become the norm, they must be rigorously tested. But testing is an expensive enterprise for any one company to undertake, particularly startups.

“Bringing these disruptive technologies to market comes with a significant investment, which is why leaders are now beginning to work together instead of competing alone,” Automotive Testing Technology International noted earlier this year.

The Beta District offers companies an ideal proving ground for automotive technologies, including Living Labs in the cities of Marysville and Dublin, the 35-mile 33 Smart Mobility Corridor, and the Transportation Research Center’s 400+ SMART Center, the largest independent automotive testing facility in the US. In The Beta District, connected vehicles, and infrastructure are just one example of public and private partners coming together to empower innovation.

To learn more, follow The Beta District on LinkedIn or contact us today.