Five areas in which start-ups could challenge the car industry

According to industry estimates, the market for new sustainable mobility over the next seven years could be worth nearly 30 billion dollars. With this, it is little wonder that many companies and start-ups are pushing ahead with research and technology. In fact, even more new markets will open up in the coming years. For example, e-commerce is moving into cars because autonomous cars will not require drivers in the future. As we’ve been writing about here, many things are set to change in the industry.

See some of our other posts on: #sustainablemobility

1. Autonomous driving

The struggle for technological supremacy in autonomous driving is ongoing. Even if Mercedes, Audi or Tesla have already claimed the issue for themselves in the public eye, there are other companies that are still on the road in this area.

Drive.ai is one of these. The company is only two years old and is a leader in deep learning artificial intelligence software for autonomous cars. Another company, the MIT Spinoff Nutonomy, recently raised nearly 20 million dollars and has concluded a deal with the PSA Group, including Peugeot and Citroen.

2. Post-Sale Developments

The networking of vehicles opens a completely new market. Whether entertainment, business or e-commerce, the central infotainment system of modern vehicles brings start-ups new opportunities.

Furthermore, there are already a number of start-ups that deal with parking. Evopark received a million euro investment from Porsche, so that their drivers can collect and pay their parking fees digitally. ParkTag secured 1.4 million euros from the EU to build an app that anticipates parking. It will notice when a driver is going to their car and provides the information that a parking space will soon be released to the next driver who is currently searching.

However, there are other markets which will open up in the future. An important point will be the connectivity that you might need. Car, scooter or bike sharing could be booked directly from the car. Startups like Emmy (Ex-eMio) or the Bosch subsidiary Coup are now exploring these options.

Services will also play a major role. So far, for example, navigation systems show the “points of interest” in an unsophisticated way: restaurant reviews or hotel reviews, for example, are not displayed. There are still many possibilities for start-ups in the area of ​​individual review/recommendation management based on Big Data analyses.

3. Blockchain

If the car of the future is already networked with its environment and always has access to the network, then it can also be directly linked to a bank account. Blockchain is the key word, here, and there are already many start-ups in this field. The company Slock.it has developed an app that utilises Ethereum blockchain for charging electric cars. At the same time, it can also be used for paying for car sharing. Instead of transfers and credit cards, the payment runs via an e-wallet.

A similar idea has been presented by ZF. Their “e-wallet” makes the car the wallet. Services around the car, from the charging station, to tolls, to the parking fees, are handled directly via the blockchain. This means that drivers can be independent of cash and payment processes.

4. Artificial Intelligence

The fact that you need AI for autonomous driving is one thing. Companies like ZF, Bosch, Nvidia and others are working on this. But they are not alone. The race for the best software has only just begun. This includes the Berlin start-up Twentybn (Twenty Billion Neurons). The company wants to develop autonomous driving, but also use their software for the production lines of the manufacturers. Industry 4.0 is the buzzword that the company has dedicated itself to.

Another application scenario has been developed by Holger Weiss. His start-up, German Auto Labs, develops a kind of virtual passenger. The digital assistant can be installed in future vehicles and provide the drivers with information whenever needed. Instead of permanently looking at the smartphone, the virtual passenger takes over the information transfer.

5. Language assistants

The market for digital assistants is just opening up but analysts estimate that by 2020 there should be some 15 billion dollars to be earned. The market leader is currently Amazon with its “Alexa”. The auto industry has quickly recognised the importance of digital assistants when they connect with the environment. If the customers are accustomed to the control their house or make online purchases by voice command, they will want to have this in their car also.

Photo credit: http://www.colourbox.com. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from Gruender Szene.

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