IAA Cars 2017: IT Aspects in Automotive Industry
IAA (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung) is the largest European auto show held in Germany every year in the middle of September. On odd-numbered years, a passenger car trade show, IAA Cars, takes place in Frankfurt-am-Main, while on even-numbered years, a cargo transport fair, IAA Commercial Vehicle, sets in Hanover. The organizer of the event is the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).
This year, IAA Cars runs for the 67-th (!) time. The auto show started on September 14 and will continue till September 24. Over 1,000 companies from 40 countries are represented at the show. World auto groups present their latest car models as well as new vehicle concepts, which will appear on the roads of all continents in 2020 – 2025.
The target audience of the auto show includes automobile manufacturers, IT and technology companies, and other businesses along with about a million of tire kickers, who came on foot, by car or by plane to eye the cars: to snuggle down in Maserati seat, personally test leather chairs in Mercedes-Benz S-Class, turn the wheel and put audio at top volume.
I’ve spent at IAA Cars four days, September 14 to 17, Denis Nerushev, PM at automotive projects, joined me for the weekend. The choice of dates was conditioned by New Mobility World forum held in terms of the auto show. The forum featured companies creating various solutions for the automotive industry. Our aim was to establish business relations in the industry, network with new and existing partners and clients as well as check out the trends in the automotive industry.
These topics are trending this year:
- Connected Cars
- Automated Driving
- Urban Mobility
- Embedded Systems
- Real-time Mapping
Automotive industry undergo a great change in these days. I'll tell about some trends prominent at IAA Cars 2017.
Connected Cars are vehicles complete with Internet access and a wireless local area network. It allows cars to provide Internet access to other devices both inside and outside of a vehicle. It helps select an optimal route, maneuvering.
Another root cause of this trend is the need to boost safety of traffic, because just last year over 3 thousand people died at the road of Germany. In this case, safety boost means informing the driver and driving control by the onboard computer. We could see firsthand how it works.
The following use case was shown to us: you drive in the city, while a bus is parked in front of you. A pedestrian behind this bus is going to cross the road. Of course, you can’t see the pedestrian, but a car moving towards you can, becasue it is not blocked by the bus. If Connected Cars technologies are implemented, the driver will be informed in advance that there is a pedestrian in front of him and he needs to brake. And this is just one example of many possible.
Autonomous driving (also known as a driverless car, self-driving car) changes both the approaches to car driving and requirements to a car interior. There is no steering wheel and pedals. Interior can be tailored to changing driving situations so that the driver and passengers could work or rest. The car can autonomously follow the predefined routes, for example, visit a charging station or drive kids from school.
According to forecasts, by 2030 autonomous vehicles will replace traditional transportation and will become a part of smart infrastructure combined by artificial intelligence.
We had an interesting meeting at Harman company station focused on autonomous technology, Including smart sensors, machine vision, artificial intelligence, high performance computing, connected car solutions, safety solutions for vehicles.
A representative of the company told us about 5 levels of driving automation:
- Drive Assistance - steering or acceleration/deceleration using information about the driving environment
- Partial Automation - both steering and acceleration/deceleration using information about the driving environment
- Conditional Automation - all aspects of the dynamic driving task, a driver intervenes when requested
- High Automation - all aspects of the dynamic driving task even if a driver fails to intervene
- Full Automation - all aspects of the dynamic driving task under all roadway and environmental conditions
There are more details about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_car. At present, we haven’t risen upper than the second level.
Most of the cars presented at the show were hybrid, but more and more car manufacturers plan producing all-electric cars. We saw car concepts at stations of BMW. In 2016, BMW sold over 100,000 electric cars, and is going to double this figure in 2017. By 2025, the line will include at least 25 models with electric engines, 12 of which will be all-electric.
Honda stays abreast with its electric hatchback Urban EV Concept shown below.
Information about a car and traffic situation is transmitted to a huge interactive screen settled above the control board. Production version of this car is prepared to conveyor in 2019.
Tesla’s Fame Keeps Everybody at Heels
Besides cars, E-Mobility trend spread over other city transportation means: electric scooters, bikes, hyroboards.
The need for battery charging induces infrastructure deployment.
Walking around Frankfurt we saw dozens of electric charging stations, so E-Mobility is objective reality.
AR/VR came into the automotive industry and actively evolves. Almost all car manufacturers stations offered an opportunity to take a test-drive using AR/VR devices. For example, Skoda developed a concept car, serial production of which is planned for 2021.
It was not allowed to come and touch this car you could easily drive it along the seafront, spend some time in a traffic jam and then get around it – you just had to sweat a line out and put on HTC Vive and hand-tracking VR-gloves.
Moreover, in addition to driving you could pilot a plane. PAL-V International BV develops prototypes of flying cars and offered to try one’s hand in piloting.
It’s not a coincidence that one of the show sponsors was Facebook presenting Oculus devices and solutions based on them. In addition to richly presented solutions for simulation of car driving and training, a promising AR/VR use seems 360-shooting for video-content broadcasting: videos of extreme travel, sport events, auto races. A short format of TV and promotion clips also becomes popular.
In addition to the show, we took part in https://www.auto-vision.org/en/
AutoVision is the international festival for corporate films, commercials, TV programs, websites as well as interactive and multimedia productions in the automotive industry. The festival’s prestigious OttoCar trophies are awarded biannually to the most creative works in the industry.
Designers and other creative people, visit their web site, there are nice videos about cars there.
The demand for software and computing resources in automotive industry significantly increases. Some cars already have full-scale onboard computers installed in their trunks (a box of a size of a system unit), because there is a necessity in substantial resources to process, visualize information and support the driver in the vehicle driving. This is a new growing market for IT companies.
I’d also like to recommend brilliant infographics CARS 2025: Cleaner, smarter, cheaper: Learn about technologies and trends that are reshaping the automobile and the auto industry, prepared by Goldman Sachs, international finance and consulting corporation: http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/technology-driving-innovation/cars-2025/index.html
Many thanks Denis Nerushev, most of wonderful photos presented here were made by him.