With cutting-edge technologies becoming the norm and the needs of consumers changing regularly, there’s no doubt that the auto industry is going through a transformation — and its industry leaders are promising to redefine how we drive, interact with vehicles, and even the way we perceive transportation as a whole.
In this article, we explore current changes going on across the industry, highlighting new technologies and advancements, and learn how machines like CMMs are steering the automotive industry.
Electrification and Autonomous Driving
The push towards electric cars and autonomous driving could be considered the automotive industry’s most visible and transformative shift.
Electric vehicles — EVs — are becoming increasingly present as major automakers change their current strategies to embrace more sustainable transportation options.
Electric cars also encourage innovation in areas like battery technology, charging infrastructure, and energy management.
Autonomous vehicles, previously looked at as a futuristic dream, feel more like a reality with each passing year — as self-driving cars are now being tested on roads around the world.
Companies are investing significantly in features such as sensors, artificial intelligence, and machine learning algorithms to create cars that are capable of navigating through complex urban environments without the need for human intervention.
This kind of transformation offers a potential for safer roads, reduced congestion, and greater mobility for older adults and anyone differently-abled.
Connectivity And Mobility Services
In a society where we’re all connected by our smartphones and mobile devices, it makes sense that our vehicles would follow our lead.
The automotive industry is currently seeing a rise in connected car technology — which is enabling cars to communicate with each other, other infrastructure, and the cloud.
This level of connectivity not only enhances the driving experience with real-time navigation and entertainment options but also lays the foundation for Vehicle-to-Everything — V2X — communication, which is a crucial component of autonomous driving.
Mobility services are also redefining car ownership. The rise of things like car-sharing services is giving consumers greater value access to mobility as opposed to having to own a vehicle to get around.
This unique shift is encouraging industry leaders to explore things like subscription-based models and develop vehicles tailored for these services.
Material Innovation And Sustainable Practices
If you look past what initially meets the eye, you’ll notice that the automotive industry is undergoing significant changes in its materials and manufacturing processes.
As we become collectively more conscious of our environmental impact on a daily basis, automakers are looking at alternative materials to make our vehicles lighter and more fuel-efficient — using things like advanced composites, aluminum alloys, and bio-based materials, which are slowly finding their way into vehicle construction. The goal is to find a balance between performance and sustainability.
Manufacturing processes are also becoming more intelligent. Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is changing prototyping and even end-use part production, which is enabling faster iteration and, therefore, reducing waste.
Robotics and automation are also streamlining assembly lines, improving accuracy and quality control while aiding companies facing labor shortages.
The Role Of CMMs In Precision And Quality Assurance
In addition to the changes and upgrades already listed, there is an often overlooked but crucial part of the process that is playing an integral role in maintaining the industry’s high standards — Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs). These devices ensure the precision and quality of automotive components.
CMMs are dynamic measurement tools that use tactile probes or optical systems to measure the geometry of complex parts accurately.
In an industry where precision is needed, these machines play a crucial role in quality assurance — which helps manufacturers verify that components meet industry standards and company specifications.
Every piece of a vehicle is intricately measured using a CMM to ensure it conforms to the design tolerances, from engine parts to body panels.
As vehicles become more advanced and intricate, the need for precision increases.
A CMM that offers flexibility, such as a portable Romer arm CMM allows manufacturers to identify and rectify obstacles or errors early in the production process.
In turn, this eliminates defects and improves overall product quality — not only saves costs but also protects the reputation of automakers by delivering vehicles that meet the highest standards.
The auto industry is learning how to navigate a time of electrification, autonomy, connectivity, and sustainability.
These shifts are not only changing how we drive but are also reshaping transportation as a whole. Electric vehicles, autonomous driving, connected cars, and innovative materials are just a few parts of this unique transformation.
As the automotive industry moves towards a future that not long ago seemed unattainable, there is one certain in the midst of the unknowns — this industry will be defined by its ability to adapt to needs like innovation and sustainability — and whether it can continue to commit to excellence.