With network advancements like 5G connectivity, AI, and self-driving cars blowing up across the automotive industry, the way we drive could change forever.

Manufacturers are using technology to make the driving experience safer, faster, and more enjoyable for everyone on the road.

Read on to learn some of the ways car brands are using tech innovation to transform the automotive industry.

5 Tech Trends Transforming the Automotive Industry

5G Communication

Most cars on the market come with some sort of sensor technology, like blind-spot tracking or rear-view cameras. But what if your car was able to predict a hazard in the road ahead of time?

5G in-vehicle technology could completely revamp the way cars communicate with each other and the surrounding environment in real-time.

Once a car is in close enough proximity to an upcoming threat, the vehicle could transmit a message to other connected vehicles within a limited range. This would give surrounding vehicles a warning about road delays, collisions, natural disasters, and more.

This extended “visibility” would provide drivers with more protection against:

  •     Black ice
  •     Erratic drivers
  •     Pending road construction
  •     Potholes
  •     Upcoming wrecks or other road hazards

Around the world, driving accidents account for more than 1.3 million deaths and 50 million injuries annually.

By providing drivers with added assistance in circumventing on-road dangers and unforeseen obstacles, 5G connectivity could potentially transform the way cars interact with one another on the highway, freeway, or even local roads.

Car Subscription Services

Many consumers are dropping the traditional “American Dream” of owning a car and instead opting for a higher sense of freedom and flexibility. With rideshare services like Uber and Lyft thriving in metro areas and growing cities around the country, car subscription services could become the industry’s next boom.

This trend is already growing in India, where millennials are more interested in instant gratification than traditional ownership. Rather than buying their own car to park in the driveway, they’re opting for transportation as a service instead.

Instead of signing over a loan and taking home a pink slip, subscription services allow the consumer to pay for the use of a specific vehicle over a short-term period. Renters pay a fee to drive the car on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Compared to a traditional lease, this option allows the client complete control over their travel plans. Plus, many servicers incorporate all-inclusive packages that remove the need to stress over routine maintenance and the cost of repairs.

Owning a vehicle comes with a variety of hidden costs ranging from wear and tear to asset-liability. Using a vehicle subscription service provides an unprecedented level of adaptability that is perfect for the growing digital marketplace.

5 Tech Trends Transforming the Automotive Industry

Autonomous Vehicles

With the growth of Tesla in 2020, we’re seeing a major uptick in the demand for self-driving cars within the mainstream market.

Similar to the global shift toward rideshare and subscription services, self-driving cars provide more flexibility than traditional transportation methods. Drivers are looking toward similar high-tech integrations to increase their safety and freedom from their driveway to their final destination.

For example, self-driving integration is expected to enter the trucking industry in the near future. This will allow individual trucks to travel together seamlessly in interconnected digital caravans. This has the potential to impact delivery times, which will help companies and drivers save money over time.

Autonomous cars use sensitive sensors and digital mapping to gain a higher level of awareness of static physical surroundings and dynamic elements, such as:

  •     Animals
  •     Pedestrians
  •     Erratic drivers
  •     Road workers

Improved computing and machine-learning capabilities will give cars a higher level of “knowledge” about the road, other drivers, and their environment as it changes around the vehicles.

5 Tech Trends Transforming the Automotive Industry

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

More people than ever are starting, and finishing, the car buying process online. Not only are the majority of consumers conducting more research beforehand, but COVID-19 has largely disrupted the in-person shopping experience. These market trends have catalyzed the growth of augmented reality and virtual reality in the automotive sphere.

Car dealers have found a way to make the shopping experience mobile using AR-enabled mobile apps and virtual test drive simulations. This means that potential buyers can digitally try out various elements of the car’s functionality while testing driving capabilities in realistic virtual environments.

Furthermore, consumers can use connected VR headsets to go for an even more realistic test drive through different types of terrain. No matter their lifestyle or goals, this allows every buyer to truly see themselves in their prospective purchase.

This, paired with readily available auto financing, has led to an influx of online buyers despite the ongoing market crisis. Shoppers can now go through the entire shopping process, from browsing to financing, in just a matter of minutes.

Virtual reality has also made it easier for auto manufacturers and producers to keep up with demand amid the Coronavirus crisis. With work-from-home ordinances disrupting nearly every global industry, car designers and producers have been able to work remotely with virtual reality. Now, workers can create realistic 3D models, inspect car details, and even build prototype testing environments from their home office.

Seamless connectivity and ease-of-use will likely make VR/AR tech staples in the auto industry, even after the pandemic passes.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Whether you’re in a self-driving e-car or a standard Bluetooth-connected vehicle, the Internet of Things makes it possible to take your life with you everywhere you go. Car manufacturers are taking this a step further by improving the way cars “talk” to each other and our mobile devices.

By this year, one Spanish manufacturer is planning to include this feature in 90% of new models throughout EU countries. This capability gives drivers the ability to use the internet seamlessly without taking their eyes off the road.

With a fully hands-free setup, drivers can ask for directions, find a nearby restaurant, look for the nearest gas station, and plan their next destination in a matter of minutes without taking their hands off the wheel. This is made possible with voice-activated connectivity between the car’s system and the driver’s mobile device.

The future of the automotive industry is largely rooted in the world’s growing dependence on the Internet and instant connectivity. This trend is making the driving experience easier, safer, and more fun for drivers across the board.

Whether you’re looking to buy, rent, or lease your next vehicle, these digital developments will be making waves in the next few years. Keep an eye out for these growing trends across the ever-changing automotive market.