MWC 2018

Top 4 Auto Trends: “Cars Are Starting To Lead Digital Lives”

When it comes to unique car designs and innovative vehicles, many think of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the Geneva Motor Show in Europe as the premier showcases. Mobile World Congress (MWC), however, didn’t disappoint as it brought several show stoppers like a new Mercedes and a shiny and fierce Formula 1. With all the new tech surrounding automobiles, we interviewed Jeff Jury, General Manager of Automotive at Xperi, to see where the automobile industry was heading. #mwc18

First things first: autonomy. This is a macro trend – the shift in our and carmakers’ interest has been palpable for a while now – but why then is the industry moving so slow? When will driverless cars be the majority?

“The cars that are on the road now were designed four years ago,” Jury explained. This means there’s at least a four year delay between having the tech and bringing it to the market. Given that fact and people’s attitudes about cars, it might be a little while until we see full automation: “A lot of people keep their car for 10 years. Thinking of that and how often you can upgrade everything, it’s going to be a while until we get to [full] autonomous level.” 

While an entire autonomous universe won’t happen very soon, the benefits of it could spur the industry and drivers to continue pushing for it. After all:

The more autonomy you’ll have, the safer [driving] will be

A second trend we talked about is safety behind the wheel. Until we get to Level 5 – full autonomy where a car can operate at any conditions a human could – of autonomy, companies will do their best to monitor drivers and keep them focused on the road. “A car is really a big cellphone on wheels. You can do everything you can do on a phone although there are some fundamental differences. Some of them have to do with safety,” added Jury, referring in particular to companies’ attention to the DMS (driver monitoring system). With cloud networks and DMS, carmakers and software companies are “able to monitor the driver, use that information and play it back.”

Speaking of networks, connectivity was perhaps the most talked about automotive trend at MWC. The industry talked about 5G connectivity not only for mobile devices, but for cars as well. Jury told us Xperi is riding this trend: “It’s [all] about driving connectivity [today]. Be it connected radio or even our DMS, there are a number of things we’re doing to enable a richer consumer experience in the vehicle. Radio is an old technology but when you digitize it, you create a bigger data pipe.”

Talking about the automobiles he had seen at MWC, Jury said there have been some great examples of the progress of digitization: “Byton has a new car that’s really about the digital life and Mercedes is showing some of their new dash screens… it’s all about creating a better experience for the consumer”.

Finally, customization appears to be the fourth trend in the automotive industry. In the future, Jury believes that “instead of using the car […] to get somewhere, people will get in the car and enjoy that experience, however they want to customize it.”

What do you think of these emerging developments within the automotive industry?

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