If John Volkonowicz of IHS Global is to be believed, it takes anywhere from $1 billion to $6 billion to develop a new car. This is because automobile manufacturing has not changed much since the times of Ford Model T. A concept model is created, followed by research and development on engines and other mechanical components. A final prototype is then created and, based on this, factories are upgraded. The process has become more efficient over time but has stayed basically the same for over a century now. It needs an overhaul.
Technology is evolving at a faster rate than ever. For an automaker to be future-proof, the need is to embrace current technologies to reduce costs and time in developing and making vehicles. Some automakers have already begun this adoption and are well-poised to step into the future. Here are some examples of technologies being used by different automotive companies:
Virtual Reality (VR) – BMW
BMW uses VR to develop its cars, both inside and out. Since VR immerses a user in a different reality than the one he/she is currently in, its benefits for BMW become quite evident. BMW reproduces the interior and exterior of the car as realistically as possible. It uses mock-ups of car cabins and tests them for wind noise with fans and traffic with TV screens around the cabin to simulate oncoming/ongoing cars. This affects the exterior design of the car, where BMW can tweak aspects such as A-pillar’s rake and outside rear-view mirror size.
Augmented Reality (AR) – Ford
Ford has partnered with Microsoft to reduce car development time and cost using AR. Its engineers and designers use HoloLens to collaborate on designing a prototype. As a result, new parts are designed and tested virtually on a live clay model. Back and forth on the viability of new parts is reduced as both engineers and designers can collaborate simultaneously. Once done and satisfied, only the parts that have been approved are ordered for production. The resulting cost and time reductions help Ford invest in other projects such as electric cars and new engines.
Internet of Things (IoT) – Local Motors
Local Motors is a low-volume 3D printed car maker. It does so by using microfactories where it designs new parts using CAD and prints them directly! It currently makes an electric bus called Olli. A rider can use an app to book a ride on the Olli. However, the bus is connected via cloud to the service provider and sends crucial information pertaining to maintenance, charging and customer management. Olli uses the cognitive computing capabilities of IBM Watson. If the rider asks it about a good diner, it tells them about it and takes them there too. The vehicle’s movements are continuously monitored to ensure safety of riders on-board.
Increased adoption of AR/VR, IOT, AI, and 3D printing technologies will eliminate the need to upgrade factories every time a new vehicle is developed. This will result in the making of vehicles that can be updated/upgraded over time, increasing their lifespan. All it will take is a player willing to go the distance in this regard.
If you’re ready to lead your industry into a new future, reach us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to know about our work with AR, VR, IOT, and other technologies, in different industries – including Automotive.