Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, according to a study by PwC. AI is one of the biggest commercial opportunities in the modern world’s fast-changing economy, with hundreds of use cases spread across multiple industries. One of the industries that will benefit the most from using AI is the automotive industry. The auto industry is currently going through a period of rapid digital transformation thanks to the advanced capabilities of AI and shifting consumer preferences. Use cases of AI in the auto industry will cover the entire driving experience and impact vehicle manufacturers, owners and service providers in many ways.
AI driving features
There are two levels of driving functionality that vehicles with AI offer; driver-assist and full self-driving mode. Before the auto industry gets to a point where it’s comfortable letting AI take full control of vehicles, it wants to try it out in the co-pilot’s seat first through driver-assist features. Most new vehicles coming out of production lines are equipped with driver-assist features such as emergency braking, blindspot monitoring, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, pedestrian monitoring, and adaptive cruise control, all of which are powered by AI. AI continually monitors dozens of sensors to identify dangerous situations before alerting the driver or taking emergency control of the vehicle to avoid an accident.
Beyond the basic driver-assist features, tech giants like Google and auto manufacturers are working hard to make autonomous driving a reality. For example, Google is already looking to dominate the autonomous production vehicle market through Waymo. Waymo uses powerful AI software to crunch data from a vehicle’s lidar, GPS, high-resolution cameras, radar, and cloud services to produce various control signals needed to operate the vehicle. Tesla is also making huge strides in the autonomous driving world through its AutoPilot feature. Tesla vehicles come equipped with eight cameras, sonar, forward-facing radar, GPS, and an array of ultrasonic sensors that feed data into an AI program, which then generates vehicle control data.
Changing the car-buying process
AI is changing the car-buying process both from a customer’s and an automaker’s standpoint. For the automakers, AI is proving to be an invaluable tool in their sales and marketing efforts by helping them learn about their customers in ways that were not possible before. Advanced data techniques enable automakers to harvest and manage vast amounts of consumer data, which they use to deliver a more personalized, customer-based selling approach, helping them to build stronger relationships with their customers.
Consumers also have a lot to gain from AI during the car buying process. Choosing the right vehicle is getting harder, with so many options available and car prices going up. This is where AI comes in: customers can use AI-powered platforms to find the perfect vehicle for their unique needs, or at least narrow down the options from hundreds to just a few. For example, Cars.com’s Matchmaking Experience offers a simple way for consumers to find their perfect car by helping them navigate the more than 50 automotive brands, 450 models, and thousands of trim options that often make choosing a vehicle overwhelming. Users answer questions on 15 different lifestyle preferences, after which Cars.com’s proprietary machine-learning algorithm makes up to 20 personalized car recommendations.
Reducing running costs of vehicles
AI has the potential to make vehicle ownership and operation cheaper in various ways. One way is through maintenance; thanks to AI, the concept of vehicle maintenance is shifting from corrective and preventive to predictive. In addition to historical data, AI can monitor hundreds of sensors and contextual data like weather or geographical details to detect and alert vehicle owners of problems long before they start affecting vehicle operation. This allows them to catch potential problems early when they are easier and cheaper to fix. Another way AI can reduce the running cost of vehicles is by boosting fuel economy. A good example of this is Ford’s All-Wheel Drive Disconnect , which is an AI-powered system designed to boost the fuel economy of SUVs . The system continually monitors road conditions, vehicle speed, outside temperature, traction control, and anti-lock brakes to adjust the amount of torque being sent to the front, rear, or both sets of wheels. This ensures that all wheel drive is only engaged when needed, helping drivers save on fuel costs.
Improving auto manufacturing processes
AI is transforming how vehicles are manufactured from the design stage to the end of the production line. Automakers are using AI to design vehicles that look better and have improved safety and dependability ratings in a faster and less costly manner. Automakers are also using AI-powered robots to improve efficiency in their production lines. The robots can work independently or together with humans to handle various tasks in the production line. Automated guided vehicles have also become essential in production facilities, helping to move heavy materials around without human intervention. AI also plays a key role in quality control, as it can detect defects 90 percent more accurately than humans.
The benefits of AI in the auto industry can already be seen in many of the new vehicles available today, and its potential is endless. Whether it’s making vehicles safer, predicting maintenance, making the car-buying process less stressful, or improving automaking processes, AI is undoubtedly one of the most important technologies in the automotive industry.