How digital transformation is shaping the automotive industry

How digital transformation is shaping the automotive industry

The automotive industry is a downright exciting field and is always more innovative. In addition to its usefulness, this is particularly what makes it breathtaking. Here is a topic that will surely appeal to the greatest number. What are the four digital transformation trends that have very recently shaped the automotive industry? How do these elements impact the sector? We answer your questions.

How digital transformation is shaping the automotive industry

Big data and the Internet of Things have largely modernized communication.

To date, most car manufacturers have a website where customers can choose their dream car. Moreover, as a customer, you even have the possibility of personalizing them and requesting an appointment for a trial. You can do it quietly at home, with less risk and more satisfaction.

Added to this is a whole list of advantages:

  • secure purchase
  • time-saving
  • redemptions

The fact is that the Internet today allows you endless possibilities. In this sense, do not wait longer and redeem your broken-down car easily online.

For their part, manufacturers also have the chance to make much better decisions. Big Data and analytics are of great help to them. Then, note that the digital transformation has improved communication between manufacturers, dealers, and end consumers in several ways.

Automation: a real revolution for the automotive industry

From now on, all automobile manufacturers can only do with digitized and automated techniques. Speaking of which, electric and self-driving cars have undeniably shaped the automotive industry in recent times. They are low-polluting machines, and this equipment has more innovations.

We should also highlight the creation of digital collision avoidance and autonomous braking systems. This is explained by the fact that vehicle manufacturers are using 3D printing more to create parts. However, the latter greatly speeds up the production process. It will undoubtedly contribute to future sales of motor vehicles. Construction giants such as Google, Ford, Valeo and Tesla have already opted for self-driving cars.

Artificial intelligence: a key piece of the puzzle

Gartner, the global research and advisory firm, conducted a study. According to the company, 15% of all customer service interactions will be handled solely by AI this year. Therefore, this percentage represents an increase of 400% compared to the figures for 2017. Then, apart from optimizing services to customers, AI tends to improve the safety and efficiency of the car.

Blockchain: an essential technology for the automotive sector

The emergence of new technologies, such as Blockchain, has also shaped the automotive world. Indeed, the Blockchain is used today in the automotive sector to create and strengthen trust between dealers or manufacturers with customers. It should also be noted that this type of technology makes the automotive industry more competitive. More importantly, it contributes to the reliability and efficiency of operations.

Innovation in the automotive sector – do engine technologies still have a future?

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), the automotive industry devotes the most resources to research and development compared to other industrial sectors in Europe. The main objective of continuous improvement, technologies and discoveries in the sector is to change the “image” of transport and mobility more sustainably, using smarter solutions such as lighter cars, therefore, more ecologically.

The automotive industry is a dynamic, innovative and rapidly developing branch of the European economy. Among the ten key sectors of the industry, it allocates almost 30% of the global expenses for studies and development, leaving far behind the pharmaceutical sector and biotechnology. 

In 2018, the automotive branch spent almost 61 billion euros on this purpose, while the pharmaceutical branch spent 39.9 billion. The European automobile sector is considerably ahead of Japan, with investments almost half as large as the United States, whose investments go to studies and the development of “cars and car parts” in the order of 18 billion euros. The crises related to supply limits and the need to quickly adapt to increasingly strict emission standards in the European Union will certainly impact the sector’s future. 


Although the main development direction of the European automotive industry is electromobility, it should be noted that most of the information about intelligent and autonomous cars comes from the United States. In 2018, the largest number of patent applications in self-driving car technology came solely from Europe. Of the available number of all patents in the world, 33.3% were initiated in Europe, which leads the United States with a percentage of 30.1%. The third place is occupied by Japan and fourth by South Korea, where their shares in patent applications were 11.5% and 10.5%, respectively. 

This means that the electrification of vehicles on the European continent is strongly linked to the development of increasingly intelligent technologies that make driving more comfortable, safer and predictable. It is also linked to the still amended European regulations, which, apart from the forthcoming strict emission limits, implement, among other things, active safety solutions in the standard equipment of new vehicles. The crises caused by the pandemics have not disrupted but reinforced this development direction (cf. sales data for the first half of 2020). Even though sales of combustion engine cars have fallen by 38%, sales of electric cars have increased by 20%. This trend is supported by the actions of the governments of certain European countries, which offer financial aid for the purchase of certain types of vehicles, thus generating an increase in consumer demand.

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Replacing combustion-engined cars with fully electric, self-driving cars requires the future development of low-emission car propulsion and charging technologies and the refinement of their entire construction. In addition to even more efficient propulsion units, electronic parts components must have a lighter shape for better aerodynamics, allowing more efficient use of energy or less battery life. This is why designers and manufacturers in the automotive industry are always on the lookout for new materials and technologies. Cutting-edge technology will, on the one hand, reduce the weight of the vehicles and, on the other hand, ensure their manoeuvrability and structural resistance and, consequently, safety and comfort during use. At the same time, modern cars should be produced as much as possible from recyclable materials, as European law requires. In this context, one of the greatest innovations in the automotive sector has proven to be the ultra-light expanded polypropylene EPP, which today finds several applications in the construction of electric vehicles.


Although EPP is a relatively used foam for producing protective parts, it has recently found many diverse applications in the automotive industry. Even in the 1980s, EPP was used to produce damping elements in bumpers, but its many properties made it possible to replace traditional foams in many areas of vehicle manufacturing quickly. First, because it is much lighter, easier to form, and 100% recyclable, it meets car manufacturers’ contemporary requirements. The process and modern technologies, such as 3D modelling, make this material perfect for producing unique and innovative solutions. 

In addition to excellent thermal insulation and shock absorption properties, it offers protection for sensitive electronic components against overvoltages, and at the same time, it does not permanently deform. It is used today not only for producing basic automotive equipment items such as seats, headrests or door fillers but also for more technical items, such as those in battery sets. For electric cars: cell separators, insulating components or fixing elements. Made from PPE, these elements perfectly protect “sensitive” electronics against mechanical and electrical factors, ensuring modern electric cars’ safety and risk-free use.

New technologies in the automotive industry

Over the past few years, we have seen significant innovations in the automotive industry. Car enthusiasts with a background in automotive mechanics can see that engineers and other industry professionals work hard to outdo themselves year after year to find, for example, a new safety device or even an ingenious way to integrate a hybrid engine. Some technologies are abandoned along the way for various reasons, and others appear in consumer cars after several years of testing.

Here are some of the technologies currently being tested in the automotive industry.

Cars communicating with each other on the road

Several car manufacturers, such as Ford, are currently testing a system that should allow vehicles to communicate with each other to reduce accidents on the roads. The technology allows a car to send and receive signals to share information between cars. The objective is to establish algorithms allowing the vehicle to avoid another vehicle heading towards it. The technology could also have other uses, such as allowing a vehicle to communicate with traffic lights and other road infrastructure.

The autonomous car

Those who are passionate about technology have been waiting for self-driving cars for a long time. Removing the driver from the equation, a self-driving car like Google’s can read maps and determine the best route to reach the desired destination. Google’s little car may look silly, but its potential is immense. In the taxi industry, for example, we are already preparing for a real revolution even if the technology will not be ready for several years.

Augmented reality for dashboards

This technology already exists in our cars, integrating a GPS or compatibility with popular mobile applications, but there is still a long way to go. The objective is to present the information that a driver needs, for example, the direction to follow to reach the desired destination or the road conditions, efficiently and visually appealingly. This device could also allow the driver to change radio stations or adjust settings. In the long term, it can be expected that this type of device could analyze information relevant to the driver, for example, the distance between the driver’s vehicle and another object on the road, and present this information by superimposing it on top of the object in real-time.

The airbag that stops the car

Mercedes is currently experimenting with an airbag system capable of stopping the car, an ingenious device that should no doubt impress any automotive mechanic school student. In fact, rather than reacting to an impact, the system prevents accidents by deploying a cushion under the car, doubling a vehicle’s stopping speed. The cushion also elevates the vehicle, preventing passengers from slipping under their seat belts upon impact.

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