AI in the Automotive Industry
Artificial Intelligence is getting more and more important in the automotive industry. The value of AI in automotive is expected to approach 10 billion Euros in 2024. When talking about Artificial Intelligence and cars, most people are just thinking about self-driving cars. Despite the fact that AI is a key technology to enable cars to drive autonomously, there are a lot more AI-powered services available in modern connected cars.
All Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) like emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and lane keeping systems also depend on Artificial Intelligence. These systems are not only providing more safety and more convenience on the road, they are also helping customers, automakers and regulators to build trust in AI. This trust will play an important role when AI takes over the control of the vehicle in self-driving cars.
But Artificial Intelligence is not limited to driving features. It has the potential to optimize every process along the automotive customer journey. Some processes are already relying on AI and would not be possible without it.
Artificial Intelligence is not just able to monitor the road and surroundings. It is also improving the safety by keeping an eye on the driver. AI is able to analyze if the eyes are on the road, how distracted the driver is and if the driver is getting tired. Depending on the status it could inform the driver to keep the eyes on the road, propose a small break at the next gas station or even safely stop the car when the driver is not reacting because of a serious medical problem.
Another example for improved safety could be the use of AI during accidents. Artificial Intelligence is able to change the seat position to a better position and how the airbags are going off depending on the position, height and weight of the driver milliseconds before the impact.
AI is also able to detect if there is a driver in the vehicle, which driver is in the car and if the driver is actually allowed to drive the car. This feature is especially helpful when different members of a family are sharing one car. The car recognizes the driver and automatically adjusts the seating position, mirrors, ambient lighting, default temperature, favorite playlist and many more. Artificial Intelligence will be one of the key factors of vehicle personalization in the future.
AI Cloud Services
Connected vehicles need a lot of data for delivering all the services. AI powered platforms ensure that this data is available to the services all the time.
Artificial Intelligence is especially useful for analyzing a lot of data in a short time. AI powered traffic forecasting is taking traffic data from the past and predicts the future traffic situation based on data from similar days, time and conditions. It also helps with faster options for avoiding unexpected traffic jams.
Traditional cars are alerting their drivers with check-engine lights, oil lights and other combinations of lights in the dashboard when the damage has already happened. Sometimes this is just too late and accidents occur because of faulty parts. Connected vehicles are already monitoring all sensors with the help of AI and detect problems before they affect the driving. Artificial Intelligence is also able to monitor the wear and tear of critical parts based on the driving style, road conditions and mileage. This monitoring could also inform the driver that a specific part is going to break soon and should be replaced before something happens. In addition to hardware maintenance, automakers can also provide over the air (OTA) software updates for fixing bugs in the software, improving the functionality of the ADAS or changing the design of the infotainment without the need to visit a dealership first.
But the applications of AI in automotive are not limited to the vehicle itself. Artificial Intelligence also has the potential to optimize different processes during the manufacturing of the car.
Assembly Line Robots
While assembly line robots were already used in the 1960s, they are now also helping the humans and working with them instead of alongside them on different steps of the process. Assembly line robots are not only shortening the time a car spends in the assembly line, they are also improving safety and helping to avoid injuries like back problems due to heavy lifting. Robots are already automatically moving materials, different car parts and the car itself between the assembly lines in a lot of factories. With the further development of AI, these robots will be optimized even further.
Another important part during the manufacturing process is the quality control. AI is not only able to detect irregularities in materials, it is also able to identify faulty parts before they are used in a car and predict if it is cheaper to repair or replace the part completely. Image recognition also helps with identifying flaws during the manufacturing process like scratches in the paint job or small damages in the bodywork.
Supply Chain Automation
Artificial Intelligence also allows automakers to improve their supply chain management. It is able to predict the materials needed for the upcoming production based on the orders, optimize storage in the warehouses and even check the quality of the delivered parts and determine if they are good enough for using them in a car.
Automotive Insurance / Insurtech
Insurance companies are also starting to use AI for risk assessment. They are creating risk profiles based on personalized data from previously owned and rented cars, driving style and accidents. Based on this risk profile Artificial Intelligence is able to predict how safe the driver is going to be and give every driver a personalized offer. This process could significantly lower insurance rates for safe drivers, while others may have to spend more than they are spending now.
AI will also help with filing claims after an accident. A special app could guide drivers with detailed instructions after an accident and explain exactly which videos, photos and descriptions will be necessary to process the claim as fast as possible. Correctly created claims could even be processed by AI again and give an immediate response about the next steps. It would even be possible that AI analyzes the videos and pictures of the damaged car and tells the driver which repair shop is able to fix the problem, how long it will take and what’s covered by the insurance.
AI and In-Vehicle Infotainment Systems
In-vehicle infotainment systems (IVI) are also known as in-car infotainment systems (ICI) and provide an unique combination of information and entertainment. These systems are the only digital component of a car and are therefore also getting more important. Infotainment systems in modern cars include audio and video content, games, social media, navigation, phone calls and even in-car office features. Despite this range of features, only 56 percent of car owners are currently satisfied with their IVI.
In-car infotainment systems are also a major factor when drivers are purchasing a new car. Modern vehicles have already evolved from hardware-driven machines to software-driven electronic devices. Because of this shift, AI is also becoming more important for ICI.
Voice and Gesture Recognition
AI-powered personal assistants like Siri and Alexa have already changed the way people are interacting with technology in their homes and on their phones. These voice-controlled assistants are now also shifting the automotive industry. Voice and gesture controlled interfaces allow an easy and intuitive interaction with in-car infotainment systems. With the help of these systems drivers are able to interact with their car, without taking their eyes off the road.
MBUX (Mercedes Benz) is a good example for a voice-controlled in-car personal assistant which can change nearly every setting of the infotainment. The AI behind this system learns the drivers habits and preferences and is even able to improve from time to time. MBUX is also capable of indirect command recognition. That means that it is able to recognize sentences like “Hey Mercedes, I’m cold” and automatically changes the temperature.
In-vehicle infotainment systems can also be used for individual marketing. With the help of Artificial Intelligence, drivers and passengers could even get personalized offers or suggestions based on their preferences, needs and habits – displayed directly on the in-car infotainment. Companies could even target potential customers when they are driving by their shops – The possibilities of AI in the automotive industry are endless.
Resources | part 2