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The automotive and mobility ecosystem has experienced several big waves. Recently – data and personalization has replaced diesel, software and digital architecture, the conventional interiors. Computing power has emerged as the driving force behind building vehicles of the future. Without a doubt, the future of mobility looks connected, autonomous and electrified.
Given this, I believe 2021 will reinforce and drive developments in three key areas: The Digital Cockpit, Autonomous Driving and the Electric Powertrain.
Most OEMs have very close mastery over mechanical engineering, production and design. Where they are building competencies to cater to the future is by developing software expertise – development, integration, validation capabilities or choosing to work with a strategic partner. This will help power extensive software-driven CPUs, NPUs, GPUs, multicore SoCs and OS. This clearly shows how automobiles will explode with millions of lines of code, hundreds of connected vehicle and autonomous features that will be available to consumers by 2025 across high-end vehicles.
With hybrid and all-digital clusters, digital cockpits will redefine mobility as a holistic in-vehicle experience. It will give right, distraction free access to information for drivers while passengers will be kept informed, entertained, connected and safe. Digital cockpits will consist of Heads-up Information Displays, significant Rear-Seat Entertainment, the Driver Monitoring Systems to check driver-alertness and other safety-critical features.
Going forward, the Hypervisor-based e-Cockpit will stay strong though the non-Hypervisor-based approach used by certain automakers will gradually gain ground. The SDKs (software development kits) from voice assistant makers will usher in additional automotive features in the offline mode. Subscriptions of various connected vehicle services will add to the revenue streams.
Self-driving cars have captured imagination for a long time and now, they’re set to become a reality with safety being the top priority.
We are already seeing how automakers are changing the course of their ads to showcase so many driver assistance and partial autonomy features car models will have. This will only gain steam and be furthered by regulations. It also appears adoption of autonomous tech may be faster in commercial vehicles than passenger cars. A clear business case will drive it.
Facilitating this will be partnerships between OEMs and Tech giants – for infrastructure, for connected-vehicle tech, to test autonomous parking, for sensing-software installations across product lines. ADAS technologies will also enter the e-Cockpit space as in-cabin development gathers speed. Increased focus in the connected vehicle segment will be a natural extension of the experimentation.
Electric Vehicle technologies have evolved over time. Growth of Adoption of EVs is much faster than it was anticipated is what many analysts say. EVs will adopt Integrated Power Electronics for many of their components. Advances in batteries, battery management systems, inverters and vehicle to grid will continue in 2021. In the next decade, as many OEMs shift focus to virtualization technologies and extend this framework seamlessly across the component and application layers to the system, vECUs will proliferate. Greater focus on the second edition of the ISO15118 stack, addressing wireless charging and bi-direction power flow communication will be key to surging ahead of competition. The Commercial Vehicle OEMs will also move ahead with well-defined high-power charging standards while creating momentum for low-volume CV ePT customers.
The accelerated adoption of software enabled features across segments is here to stay. The pandemic may have slowed down adoption a bit, but the trends are going nowhere. 2021 will be an exciting year for the automotive and mobility ecosystem.
Reading Time: 3 mins