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Automotive Innovation – technologies converge

This year’s Geneva International Motor Show was about everything electric, autonomous and connected. A showcase of the most luxurious and expensive supercars, alongside some very advanced concepts, demonstrating the attention to detail that manufacturers are placing on making mobility and connectivity a thing of the very near future. It goes without saying that the Geneva Motor Show is a playground for all things weird and wonderful and, what tipped the scales this year (in favour of wonderful) was, how perceivable it felt that there could be a fully electric, fully autonomous and fully connected vehicle on the roads in the very near future.

The show this year highlighted how manufacturers are focusing on bringing all three technology areas into one. Backed fully, by the concepts on show by Toyota, Nissan, Renault, Honda, to name but a few. As these technologies come together the most noticeable impact has been a complete transformation – you could almost call it a revolution – of the driver and passenger environment, i.e. the cabin. In particular, referring to the HMI and A&U (Human Machine Interfaces) and (Accommodation and Usage). The type of ‘events’ that occur in the cabin, when the driver engages (or disengages) from one level of autonomy to another, is an example of how HMI A&U has been impacted by autonomy and connectivity.

We’ve been driving internal combustion engine cars for well over 100 years now so it’s going to be challenging, to say the least, to convince the mass market to adopt a fully autonomous, electric and connected car. Hence why we’ll see more in the area of making autonomous transitions as seamless and user-friendly as possible over the coming years. Interestingly, innovation in the area of the autonomy in the cabin (activation and deactivation) i.e. the changeover ‘events’ has advanced rapidly.

Using Cipher Automotive, it’s possible to see how the rapid growth of patent portfolios (granted and pending) in this technology area have strengthened over the last two decades. The top 20 OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers (by portfolio size) in 2000 filed 17 patents, and in 2016 this increased to 696. Between 2012 and 2015 this technology area grew, yearly by a minimum of 26%.

Undoubtedly, this increase is a clear signal that innovation is alive and well in the area of autonomous HMI A&U events. It’s an area that is spurred on by industry leaders as they try to bring major disruption to the automotive industry. Just remember, the future’s bright; the future’s everything electric, autonomous and connected.

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