Driverless cars have already gotten component suppliers re-evaluating their product designs and functionality. However, it’s the growing global trend of shared mobility that will spark another significant product design rethink.
EZ10 driverless shuttle from EasyMile
A recent ABI Research report predicts that trends toward shared mobility will transform the vehicle interior, and as result, compel car manufacturers and suppliers to adjust, tweak or overhaul product offerings. ABI Research forecasts that there will be more than 11 million shared driverless vehicles operating on the roads globally by 2030, serving an average of 64 users per shared driverless vehicle.
In short time, as cars become more fully driverless and private-car ownership car-on-demand shareability, car interiors will require greater configurability to change to the individual needs and preferences of whoever is using the vehicle at the time, according to ABI Research.
“Car OEMs and other automotive newcomers have been imagining the interior of the driverless vehicle for some time, usually focusing on the fact that fully autonomous operation will do away with all of the usual driver distraction concerns and enable the occupant to fully engage in other tasks,” said James Hodgson, ABI’s industry analyst, in a statement. “But they now must consider how they can deliver a personalized in-vehicle experience for consumers who will not own the vehicles that they are using.”
Well-known design firm IDEO has a take on what “Moving Together” may look. In its video presenting the future of automobility, IDEO’s redesigned car features individual pods to meet passengers’ needs for privacy, productivity and relaxation. Other features include swivel chairs that can turn inward towards the center of car’s interior or outward to the individual passenger’s door, which opens and closes automatically; embedded personal screens; noise cancelling technology, and ways allowing passengers to ride in social or private mode.
Image courtesy: IDEO
As Wired reported in February, future cars--envisioned by IDEO and many others in the car industry-- will switch the notion of a car being a private vehicle for an individual or a family into a public resource shared by strangers.
ABI Research noted that concept cars, including the Volkswagen I.D. Buzz, the Rinspeed Oasis and the Chrysler Portal, are moving in this direction. They all featured physically and digitally reconfigurable interiors which allow passengers to use the features in different ways.
ABI Research’s Hodgson added, “Delivering a seamless mobility service, with an adaptable interior space that can accommodate the consumer’s unique needs, tastes, and preferences will increasingly become the objective of OEMs as they transition from car sellers to service providers.”
For auto industry suppliers --already under pressure to deliver products meeting stricter environmental and safety standards, manage risks and liabilities, and control costs-- these trends pose new challenges and opportunities.
In many cases, it will mean even more electronic components in cars and, obviously, devices that can interact in the world of the Internet of Things and machine-to-machine compatibility.
And, as Deloitte University Press points out customization for these new driverless and shareable cars may happen closer to the time of sale. This would shift car production even more towards a build-to-order, just-in-time model, requiring different inventory planning and logistics strategies.
How are you rethinking your supply chain practices for the changing auto industry? What design changes are you considering, and what features of the future car need the most attention?