The automotive industry has evolved a lot and undergone a drastic transformation throughout the years, witnessing the impact of rising innovation in the field of technology. If we turn the pages of history, we'll see how far the automotive industry has come, from steam-powered vehicles to gasoline-powered cars and now, electric-driven and self-driving vehicles.
Whenever we are talking about the automotive industry in the 21st century, we cannot miss the concept of self-driving cars. The automotive industry is witnessing a golden period owing to the revolution brought by self-driving and smart cars.
Digitalization has played a significant role in providing the necessary boost this industry needed to reach its zenith. And, the technology that has been at the forefront and responsible for the disruption of automotive industries is Artificial intelligence(AI).
AI is helping automobile industries in making vehicles that are safer, able to make decisions on their own, and sturdy. It assists automobile manufacturers in designing compact, light, and less complex vehicles that require minimal components. Moreover, the technology is helping manufacturers detect faults in various parts of automobiles while they are still in the assembly line to mitigate the possibilities of reassembling or any severe consequences once the vehicle is deployed.
Today, almost all the significant sectors use artificial intelligence technology to deploy smart, robust, and efficient solutions. Travel and transportation, education, entertainment, cybersecurity, healthcare, Ecommerce, etc., are some of the industries that have experienced a significant shift due to artificial intelligence.
In this post, we will be discussing artificial intelligence and its profound impact on the automotive industry. Before moving to the main topic of discussion, let's briefly discuss artificial intelligence technology and why it is the most hyped technology of this decade.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial intelligence, aka AI, is a powerful technology that empowers machines to think and perform like humans. For example, assume that there is a fire in your house; what necessary steps will you take at such a moment? Some will choose to run, while others might try to confine it using fire extinguishers or other relevant things that can help. There will be some percentage of people who will call the fire department and report the incident.
But using AI, a system can be created that not only senses the fire and takes the necessary action to control it but also sets the alarm to let the people know that there's a fire in the house and at the same time notify the fire department. Do you see the difference between both the cases mentioned above; a human's perspective and a machine powered by AI that thinks like humans?
While a human can take different actions depending on his condition and presence of mind that may or may not help in the situation, an AI-powered system ensures that all the precautionary steps are taken to extinguish the fire. Hence we can say that artificial technology gives machines the ability to think, make decisions, solve problems, reason, learn, and much more such skills that humans possess.
Graphical Analysis of Impact of AI on Top Industries
As per the data provided by PwC.com, healthcare and automotive are the industries that have been impacted the most by implementing AI technology. In terms of time saved by investing in AI solutions, the two mentioned industries come at the forefront.
Now, let's move forward to discuss the main focus of our post; how AI is disrupting the Automotive industry?
AI and the Automotive Industry
The automotive industry has been subjected to many changes throughout these years, but recent advancements brought by breakthrough technologies of the 21st century stand out.
Today AI technology is used in almost every operation that takes place in the automotive industry. Whether designing, developing, and manufacturing to after-sales services and transit, AI plays a chief role in improving the efficiency of these critical tasks in the automotive industry.
Whenever I hear about AI in automotive, the first thing that comes to mind is a self-driving car and Tesla co-founded by Elon Musk. Tesla is an electric vehicle manufacturing company that also provides clean energy or, say, renewable energy solutions.
Tesla uses AI technology in its electric vehicles to make them smart, accept and respond to voice commands, and make decisions by themselves. The autopilot feature exclusively provided by Tesla motors is a most hyped and sought characteristic of Tesla cars that attract buyers and has made it the fastest-growing brand globally in 2021.
Tesla also emerged as the leading electric vehicle brand thanks to its highly efficient and environmental-friendly AI-powered cars. We'll learn more about AI-powered vehicles, especially Tesla but before that, let's discuss other areas in the automotive industry where AI is finding its use.
Artificial intelligence technology has found its use not only for improving the driving experience once the vehicle is deployed but also in its design and manufacturing process. Let's learn more about how AI plays a role in automotive R&D, design, and manufacturing processes.
AI in Research and Development Process
Artificial intelligence is a ground-breaking technology, and besides its numerous features and benefits, its ability to think like humans and mimic their actions makes it more fascinating to industries. This ability of AI is being used in leading sectors like healthcare, automotive, education, pharmaceutical, and many more in their Research and Development(R&D) departments.
Automotive companies such as General Motors use AI and machine learning algorithms to carry out faster research for deriving unique solutions and create high-tech and environmentally-friendly automobiles.
According to Capgemini, General Motors has started using AI and Machine learning to design solutions in less time and cost. General Motors used the AI and ML system to generate a seat bracket design, a part of automobiles that fixes the seat-belt fasteners to seats and seats to floors.
And as expected, this system proved to be worthy and produced 150 designs, out of which GM opted for a design that provides 40% lighter and 20% stronger seat brackets. The best thing about this design is that it is made of only one stainless steel piece, whereas traditional seat brackets are made up of eight bits. This way, AI is being used heavily by industries to produce sturdy and efficient solutions.
AI in the Manufacturing Phase
AI has emerged as a boon for industries; it helps them find the best solutions by offering multiple choices to choose from. General Motors is setting an example again for industries by adopting AI and ML for manufacturing processes.
These days, most automotive industries use robots to carry out repetitive tasks that are deemed inefficient when performed by humans. General Motors has come up with a new experiment using AI technology to detect and predict components or parts of an automobile likely to fail and at what time.
GM is using AI-powered image classification tools planted on approximately 7000 robots during the manufacturing and assembling process. Using the AI-powered tool on these robots, the company aims to identify the components about to fail in advance.
This so-called experiment proved to be successful and helped General Motors identify exactly 72 cases of component failure. This tool is especially important to detect loopholes in the vehicles before they are entirely assembled and deployed. Ignoring even the smallest of such errors can result in an unforeseen catastrophe that might be life-threatening for the customer.
AI for Improving the Driving Experience
When it comes to the industries using AI to improve driving experience and performance, no one can beat Tesla, which sits at the top of the most advanced motor manufacturers list.
By integrating AI technology, Tesla has manufactured approximately 500,000 cars equipped with auto-pilot mode powered by self-driving hardware embedded in the vehicles. The drivers can switch to autopilot mode whenever they feel dizzy or tired, mainly when covering a long distance. Once switched to this mode, Tesla says that the driver can relax and let the car drive its way to the destination safely and by following the shortest possible route.
Powered with AI, the autopilot neural network responsible for the Autopilot mode is one of the critical components of Tesla cars that makes it unique from other electric-driven smart vehicles. This neural network is responsible for everything, ranging from controlling and detecting objects on the path to path-planning. Using AI and other cutting-edge technologies, the neural network powering cameras on the car can identify entities on the way in advance to plan and avoid clashes and drive safely.
Moreover, in the autopilot mode, thanks to a robust neural network and its ability to foresee objects on multiple paths, the car can predict which way to follow that would be less busy, thus saving considerable time for the passenger and ensuring safety.
Isn't this the greatest discovery of humankind, the Self-Driving Cars? Tesla is still working on fully autonomous self-driving cars, but the concept of auto-pilot mode has created rounds amongst the population, thus giving the significant boost to Tesla Inc. Tesla has used AI, Big Data, and many cutting-edge technologies to make its cars stand and it doesn't come as a surprise to hear that Tesla joins the list of companies with a $1 Trillion market cap.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular and widely used AI solutions that are being now adopted by Automotive manufacturers as a means to improve customer experience.
How Popular AI Solutions Are Improving Customer Experience in Automotives
Since the introduction of AI technology, many AI-powered solutions have been developed that have become an integral part of human lives today. Voice assistants and facial recognition systems are one of the most common and widely used AI solutions, which till now were used to give commands to smartphone and smart home systems or for authentication purposes but have recently found their place in the automotive industry. Let’s learn more about why they are being adopted by popular automakers.
Siri, Alexa, and Google voice assistant are the best examples of AI solutions popular among smartphone users. These assistants are powered by Artificial intelligence and Machine learning to recognize the voice, check if it matches the registered one, and respond to their command. Machine learning and AI technology help smartphones comprehend human commands, decode them, and respond.
Voice assistants have specific use cases in the automotive industry too. Newly introduced range of smart cars have AI-powered voice assistants installed in them that respond to the driver's various commands. Such as accepting voice commands for navigating to a destination, finding free parking slots, playing a particular song, or asking for the nearest restaurant. BMW, MG motors, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, etc., are some of the many brands offering voice assistants to control the infotainment systems in their cars.
Facial Recognition System
A facial recognition system is yet another AI-powered solution common nowadays as a unique security feature available in smartphones and tabs. This authentication system is also being adopted in home and office security systems. The system uses AI technology to recognize the individual's facial features and decide whether to allow access or not.
Carmakers like Hyundai and Porsche have started using facial recognition systems for tightening security in their vehicles. By activating this feature in the cars, owners can restrict access to the vehicle to themselves and other authorized individuals. At the same time, Jaguar and Land Rover car manufacturers are using this system to control variables inside the car, such as temperature, music, etc., by sensing the driver's facial expressions.
Tesla and General Motors Revolutionizing the Scope and Scale of Automotive Industry
Out of all the industries being transformed by AI, the automotive industry is a prominent one. Today AI is involved in improving key areas like R&D, manufacturing, sales, and even customer experience within the automotive industry. This growing collaboration has brought about a smooth ride for both car manufacturers and buyers alike.
After reading this post, I hope the readers must have understood why AI stands at the forefront of the list of technologies that are reshaping lives. AI has transformed the Automotive industry for good and has helped automobile manufacturers to build high-tech cars that provide the best driving experience and are the safest.
Just as it keeps leaving its mark on the automotive industry, it's helping various other sectors transform and function with maximum capacity. Be it assisting the doctors in detecting diseases in advance or helping the architects to build a robust structural design.
Artificial intelligence is filling the gaps that sometimes humans might leave while doing a particular job. This post is aimed to help the readers understand how AI is not just limited to voice assistants, chatbots, and self-driving cars. Instead, it helps solve the most trivial problems with utmost precision and speed, which may not be possible by sole human handling.