While the automotive industry is taking great strides to make a truly autonomous future a reality, there is still a long way to go before fully autonomous vehicles are on our roads. In the meantime, automakers and technology suppliers are developing incredible solutions that will not only help achieve the goal of full autonomy over time, but also provide valuable benefits to drivers today.

Many of today’s best-in-class technologies are focused on enhancing in-car connectivity. HARMAN’s Digital Cockpit is one such example, a platform that seamlessly connects the vehicle to all critical technologies, bringing a superior experience to drivers and passengers when on the road. Some other leading connectivity solutions are aimed at improving vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) or vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications, and advanced cybersecurity frameworks for connected vehicles.

Beyond solutions focused on connectivity, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), which help with monitoring, warning, braking, and steering tasks – are also being designed to improve safety conditions on the road. These cutting-edge technologies are laying the groundwork for true autonomy and helping to pave the way for a new era of driving.

Here’s four thing to know about what’s happening now, and what’s coming next.

  1. There’s a rising demand for ADAS and connectivity features. Demand for solutions like ADAS are expected to increase over the next decade, driven by both consumers and government regulators in an effort to cut down distractions, increase safety applications and reduce accidents. Today, all U.S. cars sold are required to have rear-view cameras, and regulators are increasingly encouraging and even mandating other elements of ADAS, such as emergency-braking systems and collision warnings. In addition to required safety offerings, drivers are also showing more increased interest in additional ADAS applications that promote ease and comfort, such as parking assistance or blind spot monitoring.

    Let’s not forget the critical demand for connectivity. As their lives become increasingly more connected, consumers expect their vehicles to become an extension of their digital lifestyles and seamlessly integrate with their smart devices and homes. In fact, recent research by McKinsey & Company found that two out of every five customers are willing to switch car brands for better connectivity features – that’s double the number from over the last four years. Technologies like HARMAN’s Digital Cockpit  offer advanced displays, intelligent connectivity, and personalization features for a more inclusive user experience every time. Fully integrated, flexible, and scalable, HARMAN’s intelligent, digitized cockpit securely amplifies the consumer’s connected lifestyle.
  2. Connectivity is already a major differentiator among automakers. As we continue to move towards fully autonomous driving, in-car technologies must be both scalable and flexible – not only to allow automakers to respond to varying market demands but also to provide brand differentiation. Every automaker has a distinct personality, and they are already leveraging the connected technologies available today to set themselves apart from the rest.

    As vehicles become increasingly digitized, connectivity-focused vehicle-to-everything (V2X) systems will be crucial for all communications between the car and its environment. HARMAN’s V2X systems will leverage high speed networks  and allow participating vehicles to communicate with each other, share sensor information, and accept directions from infrastructure control systems to keep traffic and roads running smoothly. Connected technology platforms that feature modular structures will allow automakers to tailor their communications and safety systems to match their unique brand voice and experience.
  3. Regulation is coming. The National Safety Council reports that at least 100 Americans are injured in distracted driving accidents every day, but connected  technologies have the ability to help address these urgent concerns regarding driver and passenger safety. As the benefits of ADAS continue to come to light, it is widely known that government and vehicle safety regulators will require vehicles to be equipped with certain ADAS applications and safety technologies over the next five years.
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    Connectivity and ADAS will pave the way for full autonomy – eventually. While trust in ADAS systems is growing rapidly, a recent survey by McKinsey & Company found that almost half of survey respondents would not trust a fully autonomous vehicle – yet. But, despite their trepidations, more than half of respondents stated they would be willing to use a fully autonomous vehicle if their concerns were addressed. As the safety of driver assistance technologies continues to prove itself, we can expect that more and more consumers will be willing to trust the proven benefits of ADAS systems, as they move down the road to fully autonomous vehicles.

Until then, HARMAN is continuing to drive the future of in-vehicle experiences by developing cutting-edge infotainment, communication, and cybersecurity solutions. Our end-to-end connectivity-first solutions, from our telematics control unit to the HARMAN SHIELD suite of cybersecurity solutions, provide the advanced connectivity required to support a fully autonomous future.

There is no doubt that connected technologies and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems will make our roads safer and make the driving experience more enjoyable. To learn even more about how our experts at HARMAN are developing the connected solutions that will help usher in a new era of driving, check out: https://car.harman.com