The automotive industry is one of the most dynamic and rapidly evolving sectors in the global economy today. In recent years, automation has played a major role in shaping the industry and driving innovation. From manufacturing and supply chain management to vehicle design and operation, automation is transforming the way cars are made, sold, and used. 

Technavio, a market research company covering 800 technologies and spanning across 50 countries, estimates that the automation market size in the automotive industry will increase by USD 1.95 billion between 2021 and 2026. Additionally, the market’s growth momentum is projected to accelerate at a CAGR of 3.89% during the forecast period with an infographic of the predicted growth below. They cite APAC will account for 42% of the market's growth during the forecast period, which is greatly attributed to government initiatives foreseeing the need and ROI for automation in the automotive industry.

Source: Technavio

In this written piece, I will briefly discuss eight key areas in the automotive industry as a whole—from vehicle design concepts and manufacturing to automotive sales and repairs—and how these areas are being impacted and forever changed for the better by the multi-touchpoint automation innovation. 

Source: The Simple Way
  1. Manufacturing Process

    One of the most significant changes brought about by automation is in the manufacturing process. Automated assembly lines and robotics have greatly increased the efficiency and precision of car production, resulting in a reduction in costs and errors. Automated systems can work around the clock without breaks, increasing the overall output and reducing downtime. Additionally, automation has made it possible for manufacturers to produce cars with more advanced features and technologies, such as electric and self-driving cars.

  1. Supply Chain Management

    Automation is also revolutionizing supply chain management. Automated systems can keep track of inventory levels and reorder parts when necessary, reducing the risk of stockouts and delays. Additionally, automation can help to optimize logistics and transportation, resulting in cost savings and faster delivery times. This also helps in reducing human error and increasing the accuracy of inventory management. With the help of automation, manufacturers can also track the entire supply chain process right from the sourcing of raw materials to the delivery of finished goods to the end customer.

  1. Vehicle Designs

    In addition to manufacturing and supply chain management, automation is also changing the design of cars. Automated systems can perform simulations and testing, allowing engineers to try out different designs and configurations before building a physical prototype. This can lead to new features and technologies that improve safety, performance, and fuel efficiency. With the help of automation, engineers can test and optimize various design elements, such as aerodynamics, weight distribution and suspension systems, to enhance the overall performance of the vehicle. Also, it allows engineers to test the car's performance in various driving conditions, weather and traffic scenarios, resulting in a safer and more efficient vehicle.

  1. Electric Vehicles

    Another area where automation is having a significant impact is in the development of electric vehicles (EVs). With the growing focus on sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, EVs are becoming an increasingly important part of the automotive industry. Automation is playing a key role in the development and production of EVs, from battery production to assembly and testing.

    Automated systems can be used to optimize the design of batteries, improving their energy density and reducing their cost. Additionally, automated systems can be used to monitor the performance of batteries and diagnose issues, improving the reliability of EVs. Automated assembly lines and robotics can also be used to increase the efficiency of EV production, reducing costs and improving quality.

    Another trend in the automotive industry that is being driven by automation is the shift towards vehicle electrification and connected and autonomous mobility. These trends are transforming the automotive industry, creating new business models and opportunities for innovation. For example, the rise of ride-sharing and on-demand transportation services is creating new demand for vehicles that are optimized for these types of applications, such as self-driving taxis and electric shuttles.

  2. Autonomous Vehicles

    Moreover, automation is also impacting the way cars are operated. Self-driving cars, also known as autonomous vehicles (AVs), are becoming increasingly popular and are expected to become a major part of the automotive industry in the near future. Self-driving cars use a combination of sensors, cameras, and other technologies to navigate the road, reducing the need for human intervention. This not only improves the safety and efficiency of transportation but also offers new possibilities such as ride-sharing and on-demand transportation services. With the help of automation, self-driving cars can adapt to changing traffic conditions, avoid accidents and make real-time adjustments to optimize the driving experience.

  1. Automotive Sales

    Automation is also having a significant impact on car sales. With the increasing use of automation in the automotive industry, many car manufacturers are producing vehicles that have advanced features such as self-driving capabilities, smart sensors, and real-time traffic monitoring systems. As a result, many consumers are showing a greater interest in purchasing these vehicles due to the convenience and safety they offer. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years, which could further drive up the demand for automated vehicles and impact traditional car sales.

  1. Diagnostics and Updates

    Connected cars also allow for remote diagnostics and over-the-air software updates. This means that minor issues can be addressed without the need for the car to be taken into a dealership or service center, reducing the inconvenience and cost for the customer. In addition, automation is making it easier for service providers to access information about a vehicle's history and condition, improving the accuracy of repairs and reducing the time and cost required to diagnose and fix issues.

  1. Maintenance and Repairs

    Another area where automation is having a significant impact on the automotive industry is in the field of maintenance and repair. With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected cars, automakers and service providers can use sensors and data analytics to monitor the performance of vehicles in real-time. This allows for proactive maintenance, where issues can be detected before they become major problems, reducing the risk of breakdowns and increasing the reliability of the vehicle.

In closing, the automotive industry is undergoing a significant transformation as a result of automation. Automation is changing the automotive industry and shaping its future in many areas including the way cars are designed, manufactured, and operated. The technology is creating vast new opportunities for innovation and growth, increasing efficiency, reducing costs, improving the quality of cars, and is set to revolutionize the way we think about transportation.

With the increasing use of automation, the automotive industry is moving toward a more sustainable and efficient future, where cars are safer, more reliable, and accessible to more people. As automation continues to evolve, it is likely that we will see even more changes in new business models and other technologies that have yet to be imagined.   

The future of the automotive industry is bright, and automation is helping to drive this evolution toward a more sustainable and efficient future, which will continue to benefit both manufacturers and consumers alike.