From connected to self-enabling vehicles: What's next in automotive

Automotive Marketing Leader, IBM Analytics

The long-awaited realization of widespread vehicle connectivity is here! With this connectivity comes a new set of challenges (as well as challengers) for new auto-related revenue:

  • The challenge: The complexity of complex connected technology can cause substantial confusion and discourage adoption with consumers. The consumer electronics industry has lived this for years and already some automakers have had to rethink how they deploy new services.
  • The challengers: In IBM’s recent study Automotive 2025: Industry Without Borders, 75 percent of executives interviewed expect non-traditional industry participants to have a key role in the automotive ecosystem by 2025. Connected vehicles are inviting new, nimble and innovative competitors looking to stake their claim to revenue from consumers who want to extend the use of their smartphones into their cars.

The next step in the maturity of connected vehicles will be to switch from easily configured electronics to fully self-enabling vehicles. Over the next decade vehicles will be sophisticated enough to configure themselves to a driver and the world around them. A self-enabled vehicle will be able to take care of its occupants, take care of itself and also work with others in the transportation ecosystem as needed.


Self-enabled vehicles will have six key capabilities

Self-enabling vehicles

  1. Self-integrating. Like other smart devices, vehicles will be an integrated component in the Internet of Things. They will collect and use information from others concerning traffic, mobility, weather and other events associated with moving around: details about driving conditions, as well as sensor-based and location-based information for ancillary industries, such as insurance and retail.
  2. Self-configuring. Individual mobility personas and other personal data will be managed by consumers and contain the necessary digital information about an individual to provide the desired vehicle experience: for example, personal preferences on configuring controls and seats, multimedia preferences, driving habits, financial information for making purchases from the vehicle or medical information about the driver or its usual occupants.
  3. Self-learning. 74 percent of industry executives expect that vehicles will have cognitive capabilities to learn the behaviors of the driver and occupants, the vehicle itself and the surrounding environment to continually optimize and advise. As the vehicle learns more about the driver and occupants, it will be able to expand its advice to other mobility services options.
  4. Self-healing. Vehicles will be able to fix and optimize themselves based on certain events or situations without intervention or inconvenience. Analytics capabilities will help vehicles identify and locate issues, schedule fixes and even help other vehicles with similar problems with minimal impact to the driver.
  5. Self-driving. Vehicles will become highly automated with some areas of limited autonomous function in controlled environments. Automated vehicle safety is another area that can differentiate a brand: 68 percent of interviewed executives consider this a key consumer differentiator.
  6. Self-socializing. By 2025, 57 percent of interviewed executives say vehicles will connect with other vehicles and the infrastructure around them to share information and solutions, and 64 percent of OEMs anticipate it. These vehicle social networks could extend beyond mobility as the vehicle connects into the greater IoT and socializes with devices from other industries.

Many capabilities in this next advance for intelligent vehicles will open new opportunities for automakers as the embedded functionality of the vehicle will be key to realizing these sophisticated features. They may put automakers is a stronger position to attain brand loyalty and gain an upper hand in differentiation the experience in their cars.

Let the race toward self-enabling vehicles commence!