The Future of Automotive Has Arrived
Innovations in the automotive industry are, at first glance, reminiscent of a futuristic Hollywood movie: Cars that can think autonomously — and that are designed to become better and “smarter” the more they are used — will hit the roads and drive themselves. However, the future of automotive, which will change the landscape of road travel as we know it, is right around the corner. According to Gartner, a leading information technology research and advisory company, connected car production is growing rapidly and won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
The transformation the automotive industry is undergoing is due to advances in technology, urbanization and globalization. An autonomous car takes over all driving tasks from its human driver, but with the added ability to connect with its driver, other cars on the road and the city infrastructure around it. These types of advances have the potential to change not just how we drive, but how we live. On a personal level, drivers are given the freedom to decide how they want each driving experience to be. For instance, a driver can elect to spend time engaging with family on a car trip, or to avoid the frustration of rush hour. After all, as Dr. Werner Huber of BMW explained, “There are many situations where you don’t feel any joy in driving.”
On a global level, the automated car seeks to ultimately solve problems related to safety, traffic and pollution. Most notably, they eliminate human error, which is to blame for over 90 percent of collisions. Unlike a person, an automated car cannot be distracted, drive while impaired or merely use poor judgment.
Described as “learning machines” by Olivier Sappin, vice president of transportation and mobility at Dassault Systémes, automated cars are equipped with sensing technologies, including GPS, cameras, and complex scanners and sensors, which allow them to map out and detect their surroundings and communicate wirelessly with other vehicles. This has the ability to reduce traffic congestion which, in turn, will lower pollution levels.
Producing such an advanced, complex vehicle is a balancing act: Industry leaders must meet the thresholds for safety standards while also remaining cognizant of how interconnected and embedded systems will function in unison. At the same time, in order to remain competitive, cost and time efficiency are also factors in this equation.
Dassault’s Smart, Safe & Connected 3DExperience (SSC 3DEXPERIENCE) platform, which offers simulation capabilities, is leveraged by many manufacturers and suppliers in the design and development of automated cars. Creating physical prototypes of products throughout the design process is both labor-intensive and costly. However, SSC 3DEXPERIENCE allows the unique ability for industry professionals to build dynamic, three-dimensional models in a highly-realistic, fully immersive environment. This enables the validation of functionality at the conceptual stage of the process.
Similarly, developing electronics/electrical (E/E) and embedded systems can represent up to 40 percent of total development costs. SSC 3DEXPERIENCE’s simulations and automated manufacturing documentation allow for end-to-end management of the electrical engineering process. The ability to simulate how different features interact with one another ensures that vehicles are error-free before production, which drives down costs, reduces the likelihood of delays and contributes to more sustainable business models for user companies.
Industry strategy consulting firm Roland Berger predicts that the greatest changes to the automotive industry will take place over the next 15 years. The future of vehicular transportation is just beginning and the possibilities for advancement are incredible. Technologies that drive this type of innovation are, at their cores, all about improving the lives of people.