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On the road to a “self-driving car” reality
Hitachi and Frost & Sullivan’s recent whitepaper on mobility found that, with, 65.7 million road accidents a year, 7 million deaths from air pollution worldwide and congestion supressing global GDP by 2%, there are huge challenges for organisations looking to effect change in the transport industry. However, this also means the opportunities to provide innovative solutions are numerous. For example, advanced cars can provide higher levels of efficiency by enabling drivers to determine not just the fastest route but also the most fuel-efficient. They help tackle the issue of safety as they are able to reduce accidents with systems that monitor drivers’ vital functions to alert them to potential problems. Safety is coupled with personalisation, as connected systems are able to alert third parties, such as insurance companies and fleet owners, with detailed information about the car’s performance.
A number of businesses and manufacturers have the opportunity to have a stake in this exciting advancement, by tackling three key areas where development is needed:
Vehicle management systems: Information on the car’s status will aid the driver in reducing operating costs and improving ease of use.
Navigation: Up-to-the-minute traffic information and optimal routing will help drivers reach their destinations faster, more reliably, and more efficiently.
Driver assistance: Driver assistance and safety systems will let the car take over driving in traffic jams and on the highway, reducing risk of human error.
However, there are challenges that still remain to be tackled before this can all be achieved. Automakers need to integrate their IT efforts much more tightly with the customer-facing parts of their business than they do now. In addition, they need to make technology much more user-friendly as prototypes currently remain too technical for the general public. However, the headline grabbing issue remains security, as myths surround the capabilities of the power of self-driving vehicles, for example the threat of car-hacking. Although security concerns around the connected car are being tackled, 42% of car manufacturers already offer security services, such as tracking a stolen vehicle.
Despite the challenges, there is a significant prize at stake: the manufacturer that can create and sell the first fully self-driving car will have a considerable competitive advantage in the marketplace. The global opportunities for this sector will soon be realised if the industry is able to collaborate to bring the components together, while clarifying to the general public what they are doing to ease security fears. This then translates to market value where $50 billion in costs could be saved globally by 2030, from reducing accidents alone.