The Internet of Things (IoT) is already changing the way in which we live, with no signs of slowing down. In fact, in the coming years, it’s expected that IoT will transform every industry on the planet, shifting the very core of business operations across all sectors. The auto industry is certainly one of the most important markets within IoT, as connected cars have already become relatively commonplace on our roads. These IoT-enabled vehicles utilize a multitude of integrated devices to provide many benefits, including improved safety and security, a highly personalized user experience, and an entirely new way to view the concept of owning a car.
Technology research company Gartner predicts an astonishing 250 million connected cars on our roads by 2020, with accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers projecting the connected car market to be worth a staggering $149 billion in less than three years’ time. Undoubtedly, the auto industry is undergoing a massive transformation, and it’s primarily due to the explosion of IoT technology in our communities.
Many auto industry experts agree that we are on the cusp of seeing fully-autonomous cars becoming available commercially. Tesla’s Model S is already pretty close, as its Autopilot feature allows the car to accelerate, decelerate, change lanes, merge with traffic, and overtake other cars without any input from the driver. At the same time, the company makes it clear that drivers of the Model S must remain alert at all times with their hands on the wheel, in case of a sudden need for human intervention. Unfortunately, there has been one death and several other accidents resulting from Model S drivers who were relying solely on the vehicle’s Autopilot system, and it’s important to remember that this technology is not yet ready to allow drivers to ignore the road completely.
Self-driving technology developments and innovations roll on at a rapid pace, but how long will it be before fully-autonomous cars are prevalent on our roads, with passengers able to safely be completely uninvolved in driving the vehicle? Although the answer varies depending on whom you ask, the majority of experts believe that self-driving cars will be commercially available within the next 3 to 5 years.
Another significant effect of IoT on the auto industry is the increased blurring of the lines between tech companies and car manufacturers. There’s no question that technology companies have already become an essential component of the auto industry, and this integration is expected to grow dramatically over the next couple of years. Some believe that technology companies may eventually manufacture cars, while auto manufacturers will transform into tech companies, as the expansion of IoT comes to the forefront throughout these industries.
Tesla’s Model S also provides an excellent example of the transformation of the approach to buying a car. The reality is that many consumers are reluctant to pay upfront costs for technology that they don’t fully understand, but the connected car is changing what’s possible in a profound manner. Tesla allows new car owners to either add the Autopilot feature when they purchase the vehicle, or to pay for an upgrade at a later time. With over-the-air updates, consumers can just add software at any time after the purchase without ever stepping foot in a store or showroom, which opens up a whole new world of business opportunities for the auto industry moving forward.
IoT is making the auto industry rethink its entire framework, from the products they offer to the core fabric of how companies develop, manufacture and sell vehicles, and the future of this technology is likely to create additional changes that can’t even be imagined yet.
It may only be a few years until you’ll be able to sleep or work in the back seat while your car safely drives you to work, plays your favorite songs, and adjusts the temperature of the vehicle based on your personal preferences. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?
Please share your thoughts about IoT’s impact on the future of the auto industry with me on LinkedIn.