Auto manufacturers are no longer calling themselves “automotive companies.”
With advances in autonomous driving, vehicle connectivity, electric vehicles and shared/micromobility transportation, yesterday’s automotive companies are becoming today’s mobility companies. And to live up to this new moniker and take advantage of the new opportunities, they must transform significantly.
In my recent blog, Four Steps to Building an Automotive Factory of the Future, I discussed how this transition to mobility will affect the manufacturing operations of automotive manufacturers. They must now focus on creating flexible, software-driven architectures that can adapt to the industry’s ever-changing trends. To do so, they must modernize their applications, uplift their infrastructures, and standardize and consolidate ways to extract intelligence from data and deliver actionable insights. Realizing the goal of seamless mobility means that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) must create uniform technology platforms and protocols that integrate with and connect to smart city infrastructures, such as traffic systems, as well as to in-vehicle lifestyle systems.
However, making the mobility dream real presents some challenges. Through our work helping OEMs optimize their mobility investments, Hitachi has identified four actions you can take to overcome the challenges you face and accelerate your mobility transformation.
1. Standardize your systems across the value chain.
As we shift away from hardware-defined vehicles and toward software-defined mobility devices, vehicle software platforms are becoming increasingly complex. There are in-cabin components related to advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), telematics and lifestyle applications for comfort and safety. These components often have human-to-machine interface overlays. Each of these elements is typically developed by a specific provider and has its own operating system (OS) and hardware. As an OEM, you must bring these disparate pieces together into a uniform architecture so that the vehicle delivers the total customer experience and builds competitive advantage. You can resolve this issue by developing a standard OS for your vehicles and their associated services. Then, work with suppliers to ensure that their components use that system.
2. Strategically modernize applications to reduce your technical debt.
Many OEMs are burdened with back-office systems and software that can’t keep up with evolving mobility demands. Your technical debt will mount if you continue to implement short-term solutions. To modernize your applications and reduce technical debt, start with a strategy that’s driven by business goals and objectives that define the mobility services you plan to offer to the marketplace. After you’ve defined these, you can identify the right technologies to accomplish your application modernization strategy. With multiple divisions specializing in mobility technology, Hitachi is uniquely positioned to help you evolve your strategy, using application modernization as a key enabler, so you can meet market demands.
3. Mine your data for actionable insights.
You have an abundance of data at your fingertips: data from the vehicle itself, from driver behaviors and even from some of the in-vehicle applications. You also have access to data generated by online users who are similar to your customers. You must ingest and manage this data skillfully and thoughtfully to get the greatest value from it. With actionable insights and intelligence from your data, you can improve your products, services and experiences for your customers. What’s more, these insights can assist you in responding to demographic shifts and changing opinions by creating new business models and a more seamless in-vehicle-to-online-user experience.
Prepare for regulatory and industry changes.
The automotive industry is about to enter a new regulatory landscape as autonomous and electric vehicles become more commonplace. By participating in consortiums working to address new regulatory requirements, OS standardization and hyperconnectivity, you can be better prepared to adapt to these changes. These partnerships can also help you develop a plan to compete with emerging transport systems and business models.
The Time to Act is Now
The benefits you can gain from these actions are abundant. When you’ve successfully transformed your company into a mobility company, you can:
1. Increase customer loyalty by improving the quality of in-cabin products and services, delivered through a well-integrated solution set and a standardized platform. For example, you can help customers instantly download additional products and services to their vehicles.
2. Spin up multiple business models that address your customers’ needs, based on actionable, data-driven insights. This will allow you to transform the vehicle service experience and save your company money with over-the-air updates and upgrades.
3. Reduce after-sales warranty costs by conducting software-driven simulations well before you release a product to market. The steps you take today will determine your competitive position in the mobility marketplace in the future.
Co-creating Your Mobility Transformation
At Hitachi, we’ve helped hundreds of manufacturers across dozens of industries transform to become factories of the future. For example, we’re working with one OEM to migrate 2,000 applications to the cloud so that the OEM can be more effective in the mobility space. And we’re helping another OEM integrate its in-cabin platform so that it can offer more services to its customers both within the vehicle and in the cloud.
We can help you execute the right strategies to meet the mobility demands of the marketplace. Hitachi spans the entire automotive mobility value chain, bringing you the expertise you need to drive your mobility transformation, leapfrog ahead of the competition and gain tangible benefits for your business.
Contact Our automotive practice team to start a conversation about where you are in your mobility journey and how Hitachi can help.
Sa’d Kanan is Senior Vice President and Global Lead Automotive, Hitachi Vantara.
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