Remember when even having air conditioning in your car was considered to be a sign of luxury? Well, while air conditioning has become an essential, it its only one amongst a multitude of features once considered as luxurious that have become commonplace in the automobiles of today. Like, for example, power steering or the use of airbags.
And while policy and regulations seem to have been behind the regularization of certain features (such as in the case of the Electronic Control Module to monitor emissions), the growing consumer demand seems to have affected most of the innovation.
Just the amount of tech incorporated in any hyper car far outdoes the kind of technology used in most commercial aircrafts these days, given how demand hasn’t had much of any effect on the tech employed in them. With the growth and proliferation of technology, the entire automobile market seems to have had to adapt to the changes brought forthwith. The use of real time data services in cars, including telematics, sensors and on-call assistance, has led to the employment of different specialized services such as software engineers, data scientists, and large research and technology divisions. The car itself has come a long way from how it was used only as a means of travel from one place to another, to how integrated it has become with our lives today.
One of the first major changes to be brought in was through the use of digital dashboards. With the use of smartphones becoming all-pervasive in our lives, all those large, unwieldy dials and knobs on the dashboard came to be replaced by touchscreens that could be clicked upon, swiped right or left and a few, operated using voice controls as well. With over half a dozen cameras and close to a hundred sensors being employed in any high end car, apart from the navigation and infotainment systems in use, there is at least 20 GB of data being processed in a car, with millions of lines of code being employed in the line of work just about every day.
Not only does the car connect you with the outside world, you yourself are being slowly introduced to and integrated into every aspect of your car. Every aspect of your car’s performance, capacity and comfort level is being put through to you through the use of sensors and signals. With artificial intelligence coming into the picture these days, all of that data is now being employed to make the driving experience particular to the person driving the vehicle.
Data being the new oil, a number of automobile giants have begun to partner with developers of hardware and software, including names such as Microsoft, Cognizant, SAP, Infosys and IBM, apart from beginning to raise their own in-house IT divisions. All of the data being collected and analyzed by automakers gets integrated with the cloud, so as to keep the company informed and alert them in case any assistance is deemed necessary. As the technology in use begins to get increasingly specialized, the older market system comprising of roadside car mechanics and technicians is starting to become outdated and obsolete, even as newer jobs in these specialized fields are being created. The Indian automotive market is now at the cusp of a new age and how we grow into it will largely depend on how well we adapt to it.