The State of Automotive Only Starts with Autonomous Driving
Saying that the Internet of Things is revolutionizing industries is an understatement. However, change within the automotive industry is moving at a breakneck speed.
The shift towards autonomous driving is changing the solution set requirements for design engineers. Adaptability and scalability are needed to address the various stages and levels of autonomous driving.
Changing requirements aren’t the only things shaping the industry. From changing regulatory requirements to the expanding capabilities of AI-enabled platforms, engineers contend with many factors to utilize existing processing capabilities across different applications and end-use scenarios in a variety of contexts.
Why? Because the state of automotive spans a variety of applications:
Autonomous driving and ADAS
Think of the 8 million autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles projected to be on the roads by 2025. They’ll rely on a variety of technologies to move from a human monitoring the environment to the automated system doing the work.
However, the space is seeing a gradual transition from computer vision under the current process to something much wider — with AI for collision avoidance, object detection, and tracking using edge sensors, cameras, RADAR and LiDAR.
Considering all the other technologies moving autonomous driving forward— from data aggregation and pre-processing to sensor fusion, 4D radar, and mirror replacement systems — the adoption of conditional vehicle automation to full autonomous vehicles will change driving to something more like Transportation as a Service (TaaS).
With Daimler selecting Xilinx to power all the AI in its new automotive lines, the business potential is just beginning.
Normal algorithms will not help when it comes to the short-latency, high-compute needs of the future. That’s why machine learning, neural networks and AI will change the automotive industry.
AI drives all kinds of features — from personalizing the driving experience with customized comfort level or recognizing changes in facial expressions to throw-on safety features. AI can revolutionize the entire driving experience through technology like driver monitoring systems and gesture recognition.
Remember, though, that AI can also wildly shift the experience for passengers by utilizing similar monitoring systems for those not behind the wheel. Design engineers and automotive innovators are making great strides in head-up displays and occupant monitoring systems, as well.
From a business perspective, the expectation is that automotive electronics will become the next big technology market driver. A major factor: trends that point to the automotive semiconductor market exceeding overall industry growth, as semiconductor content expands with added features and functionality.
With cars and trucks connecting to the cloud and other vehicles, in-cabin AI is poised to be one of the many reasons electronic functions will proliferate and spread from premium models to lower-priced, high-volume models.
Instrument cluster, infotainment and display
Engineers are mimicking what is available to consumers from the rest of their devices available in cars — to the tune of $37 billion by 2025. From voice control and Bluetooth connectivity to real-time updates about directions or traffic, displays are rich in features — and also rich in SBCs, LEDs, transformers, MCUs, regulators and transceivers to power infotainment displays and other dashboards.
As infotainment is becoming an expectation in most new vehicles, it’s driving higher and higher demand for portable and in-care consumer electronics, audio players and video display screens. Currently, the aftermarket segment is contributing a much larger share to this field than automobile makers themselves — meaning transportation application providers in mid-range and luxury automobiles have an opportunity to win over price-sensitive customers to higher-priced vehicles.
Beyond North America, this same opportunity exists in Germany and the United Kingdom as well as China, leading a more than 11% CAGR across Asia.
Electric vehicle adoption is on the rise, thanks to a blend of increased government regulation and also increased OEM attention, echoing the technological advancement that has powered greater customer acceptance.
From sophisticated electric and/or traction motors to some combination of off-vehicle power sources and self-contained sources such as batteries, solar panels, charging station infrastructure or electric generators, technology leaders have stepped up to offer solutions for charging systems, electric motor control and power-efficient compute.
However, to truly see a more widespread adoption of EVs, we’ll need more than just the announcements of the release 340 BEV and PHEV models in the next few years or the tight emissions targets set by legislative bodies from Europe to China. We’ll need companies to seize the opportunity to provide solutions with many of these automobiles depending on sophisticated electric or traction motors along with batteries, solar panels or electric generators.
What’s more, vehicle electrification can span less obvious applications — including air conditioning systems, steering, braking, start/stop systems and electric propulsion engines — providing even more opportunities to deliver innovative automotive applications.
The technology driving automotive’s future
So, where can design engineers go from here?
While automotive goes deeper than meets the eye to be sure, it also offers more support than most designers expect. From system-level design services to help customers get to market faster to experts who help with production-part approval processes, failure analyses, international material data systems considerations and more, organizations need an end-to-end partner with the resources and network to launch innovation — and the connection to technology that leads the industry in its adaptability.
That means the same technology that enables starting with a development platform and moving to a chip design — while never hitting a roadblock for the engineers — allows for the flexibility that line-of-business managers need to convince the C-suite that their technology choices are in it for the long haul.
Learn more about the future of the technology driving the automotive industry.