Before Self-Driving Cars: Four Tech Challenges the Auto Industry Faces Today
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This revolution is still young. As technology seeps into every facet of a vehicle’s makeup and production, the industry faces new and unprecedented challenges. Today’s auto-industry executives must bridge the divide between Silicon Valley and Detroit. They must address entirely new dimensions of safety concerns, such as how to protect their customers’ privacy and data. Detroit moved beyond traditional assembly-line manufacturing a long time ago. GM introduced OnStar, which provides a way to contact the police or fire department in case of an emergency and unlock your car at your request, in 1996. And it’s no longer just high-end cars that offer things like collision-avoidance systems, blind-spot warnings and automatic braking. Cars like the 2014 Chevy Malibu and the 2014 Mazda 3S come with high-tech safety features and price tags just under $30,000. It’s rare to see a new car on the market today that doesn’t feature Bluetooth technology to let drivers make calls and stream music through vehicle speakers.
The technological revolution has been a boon to the auto industry. The market for smart vehicle systems is expected to reach $22 billion by 2020 as consumers increasingly demand—and expect—their cars to be sophisticated tech hubs. “About 55 percent of people won’t buy a car if it doesn’t have the technology they want in it,” says Scott McCormick, president of the Connected Vehicle Trade Association. “That’s a big change.”
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