The rise of digital technology and the associated increase in demand for customised products has created a new challenge. Organisations need to increasingly focus on innovative, differentiated ideas to stay ahead and yet handle the pressure at the back end for a tight control on product cost. The future, as I see, would be driven by three factors: increasing application of electronics for enhanced user experience; technology migration for a greener and safer tomorrow; and a high degree of reliance on virtual validation and use of high end prediction tools for reduction in overall product development time cycle.
Today, a vehicle is an extension of its owner’s personality. Customers are becoming increasingly aspirational and are ready to shift towards purchase of new products with unique and innovative features. Advancement in electronics has opened up several avenues for bridging the gap between the product and the user. Vehicle connectivity has become a buzz word in the automotive space. With this changing ecosystem, vehicles will be increasingly connected to the customer through their gadgets. It can be aptly defined as a vehicle using telematics and artificial intelligence technologies to interact with the environment for greater safety, comfort and importantly, a “connected-life” experience.
In the quest for a greener and safer tomorrow, we are definitely seeing an increasing shift to electric and hybrid vehicles. Thus, we face the challenge of developing efficient energy storage devices and advanced motor control technologies for automotive application at a rapid rate. With stringent emission and safety norms likely to be enforced, electronic fuel injection, superior exhaust after treatment devices and safety devices like ABS would be seen as a standard fitment in future vehicles. Fuel efficiency will continue to remain the most important trigger when deciding to purchase a vehicle. Hence, use of lighter materials will be a focus area for manufacturers. Considering the congested traffic conditions, vehicles with automatic and variator transmission will be preferred by the consumer due to the convenience of drivability. However, the challenge is to explore new technology options for improving the fuel efficiency in these applications.
With increasing competition, there will be more pressure to deliver products at a faster rate and first time right. This would necessitate design through front loading and use of simulation tools in the area of NVH, vehicle dynamics and engine performance prediction. Manufacturers would also be required to migrate to a platform strategy for deployment of technology aggregates across the product range, thereby ensuring optimum utilization of assets and quick development of variant models. The future belongs to those companies who continuously dare to innovate. Cutting edge R&D would be the key trigger for creating path breaking and successful products in the market place.
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