Artificial Intelligence in the Automotive Industry

Artificial Intelligence in the Automotive Industry Artificial intelligence (AI) is the way of the future for the automotive industry. While AI is being rapidly deployed in other sectors, it has been relatively slow to enter the automotive industry.

In 2015, just 5 to 10 percent of vehicles were estimated to have some form of AI system installed. This has increased in the last five years, thanks to the adoption of AI features like parking assist and cruise control. However, it’s predicted that the automotive industry will follow the path of other industries, like financial services and healthcare, and ramp up their adoption of AI technology. In fact, by the end of 2030, one can expect that 95 to 98 percent of new vehicles may feature AI technology. So if the automotive industry is currently considered a “new adopter” of AI technology, it’s likely going to be moving into the “matured industry” category in the decade to come.

This marked increase in its usage is no mistake, especially when considering all that artificial intelligence has to offer the automotive industry. The field of car manufacturing in particular has much to gain from the implementation of AI technology. Already manufacturers across the globe are using AI in all facets of the automaking process. From robots assembling the initial nuts and bolts of a vehicle and onboard vehicle sensors that alert drivers to potentially dangerous situations, to an autonomous car using machine learning to safely navigate its way through traffic, artificial intelligence has already changed the way cars are made and operated, and it’s only going to continue. 

Adoption of AI in the Automotive Industry: Is It Worth the Effort?

The integration of any new technological innovation in an industry typically begs the question: “Is it worth the effort?” or similarly, “Is it really necessary?” When it comes to artificial intelligence in the automotive industry, the answer to both of these questions is a resounding yes. 

Artificial intelligence has already proven itself to be a worthwhile endeavour in the automotive industry, and as its usage continues to grow, it’s only going to continue proving this. First, consider its many uses within the automotive industry. In the last decade alone, AI has played an invaluable role in automotive manufacturing, driver risk assessment, predictive maintenance, and of course, self-driving cars. Let’s take an in-depth look into some of these uses. 

  • Automotive Manufacturing: Artificial intelligence is starting to be adopted in many areas of car manufacturing, including design, supply chain, production, and post-production. Currently, some automakers like Hyundai are having robots work with humans and learn automotive manufacturing skills (like part manufacturing, assembly, and design) with the help of artificial intelligence. This is done by humans wearing Hyundai’s Chairless Exoskeletons, a wearable robot powered by artificial intelligence. However, in the future, the goal is for Hyundai’s entire North American plant to be operated by AI-powered robots. In fact, the company has already stated that they intend to use robots to charge electric vehicles and sell vehicles moving forward. Further, in terms of auto manufacturing, AI is being used to identify defects in car parts and alert quality control teams, allowing engineers to make key adjustments on the fly (in the past, failing to recognize defects until later in the process or after the vehicles were on the market could cost automakers millions of dollars in repairs or recalls). Artificial intelligence is also being used in assembly-line production, auto painting, automated welding, and driverless transport vehicles inside factories. The adoption of AI in automotive manufacturing has the power to bring a never-before-seen level of efficiency, flexibility, and safety to the auto manufacturing process.
  • Driver Risk Assessment: Another way automakers have leveraged AI in the automotive industry is driver risk assessment. Artificial intelligence can evaluate data about risky habits or behaviours and, using an algorithm, identify patterns of behaviour related to past incidents, creating a set of risk predictors. Using the example of a vehicle, if a car is equipped with such AI-powered technology, it will be able to calculate the real-time risk assessment of the driver, alerting the driver and helping them avoid a potential emergency situation, such as a traffic accident. NEXYAD is one example of a company harnessing the risk assessment capabilities of AI by introducing software that computes risk an impressive 20 times per second.
  • Self-Driving Vehicles: One final example of how artificial intelligence is being leveraged by the automotive industry is self-driving vehicles. Self-driving or driverless vehicles are often viewed as the pinnacle of AI in the automotive industry. AI is already playing a crucial role in driver assistance technology thanks to thousands of onboard sensors built into cars, altering drivers to dangerous situations. Beyond helping drivers avoid possible emergency situations, today’s driver assistance technology aids drivers in other ways as well, such as driver-assisted steering or adaptive cruise control. Already these AI-powered driving features are making cars safer and more efficient to drive. The next logical step is self-driving vehicles. Tesla is the prime example of a company aiming to revolutionize the transport sector through self-driving cars. In 2015, they introduced autopilot capability for their model S. This Autopilot Driver Assistance System continues to be updated and advanced by the automaker, improving its self-driving capabilities. At this point, Tesla’s AI can even be used to monitor the driver’s eye, identifying whether someone is tired or sleepy. Another company leading the charge for artificial intelligence in the automotive industry is Motional, a collaboration between Apertiv and the Hyundai Motor Group. Motional is dedicated to designing autonomous driving technology that makes self-driving a reality. They have developed a technology that utilizes three types of sensors – cameras, radar, and LiDAR, where safety is the top priority. This innovative technology led to the launch of the world’s first robotaxi pilot and an operational fleet of commercial robotaxis that has provided over 100,000 self-driven rides with a track record of zero at-fault incidents. While the arrival of driverless cars on our roads is still likely a decade or more away, there’s no denying that the innovation has caught the attention of some of the biggest automakers in the world. Toyota, Volvo, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz have all begun exploring and investing in AI applications for driverless cars. The hope for self-driving vehicles is that they will reduce the number of auto accidents, as well as limit emissions and traffic congestion.

Ultimately, artificial intelligence is a welcome addition to the automotive industry. Transforming how vehicles are designed and manufactured, not to mention expanding their capabilities, artificial intelligence has the potential to provide critical solutions to both manufacturers and drivers. The most important solution being keeping people safe and preventing the many traffic accidents and traffic-related deaths that occur each year.

How Car Brands Leverage AI in Automotive Manufacturing to Improve User Experience

As seen above, there are many different ways that automakers around the world are adopting artificial intelligence. From the manufacturing of parts and assembly line production to auto painting, AI is being used to make all aspects of the automotive industry safer and more efficient. While AI is being leveraged by automotive companies to make the production of vehicles more efficient, it’s also being leveraged by these companies to improve user experience. As consumers, we are most concerned with how artificial intelligence can be used to result in a better, safer, and more enjoyable driving experience – and there are many ways that AI is facilitating this. 

For example, vehicles are increasingly coming equipped with a range of AI-powered driving features that make driving easier and safer than ever before. Such features include blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, cross-traffic detectors, and driver-assist steering. This driver assistance technology, in the same vein as self-driving technology, is only becoming more capable, meaning it’s likely that vehicles will only become safer to drive as time goes on and the technology advances.

Another way that artificial intelligence is being used in automotive manufacturing to improve user experience is through predictive maintenance. Currently, many AI-powered applications are being used to predict problems relating to engine and battery performance. In contrast to the past, when vehicles only alerted drivers to engine, engine oil, or battery-related problems when they were happening, predictive maintenance uses thousands of sensors on a vehicle to monitor data and alert drivers to potential component failures before they happen. This offers a whole host of benefits to drivers as well as vehicle repair technicians. Palo Alto-based AI software company Predii is one example of a company that introduced an impressive predictive maintenance platform for vehicles. Predii created an intelligent platform for part replacement and repairs in the automotive industry that leverages historical service data such as technical manuals, service orders, and IoT data, for the repair and maintenance of vehicles. This means that when AI-powered platforms like Predii’s are used in vehicles, they can inform the driver of system-related issues that may occur in the future, allowing them to have their vehicle attended to before the problem becomes worse or it’s too late. This has the potential to save drivers time and money. 

There’s no denying that AI has already played and will continue to play a critical role in the capabilities, design, and manufacturing of vehicles. Whether making vehicle assembly more efficient, cars safer and easier to drive, or enabling vehicles to drive on their own, the automotive industry is moving forward thanks to the adoption of artificial intelligence.

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