This guest blog comes to us from Heather Redding of Daxima.

As artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and machine learning continue to evolve, autonomous vehicles are becoming increasingly likely.

Automobile manufacturers aren't just designing autonomous vehicles to help people reduce the stress they face on the road. The right automated vehicles have the potential to reduce accidents by improving driver safety and reaction times too.

With so many benefits to offer, it's no wonder that countless manufacturers are investing heavily in the potential of self-driving technology.

So, when can we look forward to being chauffeured around town by AI-enhanced vehicles connected through 5G?

What's next for the age of the driverless car? Here are a few predictions.

1. Assistance Will Come Before Autonomy

Artificial intelligence is everywhere these days, offering insights into the supply chain, and guidance on procurement, monitoring security in businesses and your health too.

There's a big difference between a car that can provide you with helpful information on the go, and one that can do all of your driving for you.

We're still a long way away from fully-autonomous cars, particularly because new systems and regulatory rules will need to be put into place to allow for automated cars.

In the meantime, manufacturers will need to focus on assistance, over autonomy, in the form of in-car voice control developments and automated assistants behind the wheel.

Voice is quickly emerging as the interface of the future for drivers. Voice is safe and easy to use, and it means that we can keep our eyes on the road.

With intelligent data analytics and real-time insights, voice-based assistants can start to simplify the driving experience by offering personalized guidance and information on the move. Expect your robotic cars to be driving helpers, before they take the wheel. 

2. Apps Will Increase in Value

As intelligent assistants continue to make their way into the car control system, manufacturers will also need to invest in connections with a wider range of app developers, to help them offer more features and information.

For instance, real-time location data is one of the major focuses of many of the emerging trends in the autonomous driving space.

By 2020, the global in-car infotainment market will be worth $35 billion. This rise in value is being powered by things like augmented reality, mixed reality, the internet of things, and other tools that change the way that passengers and drivers interact with the world.

Just as manufacturers will need to change their strategies for the future of autonomous vehicles, app developers will need to think more carefully about serving this growing market and how they can create their apps for enhancing driving experience.

Everything from navigation apps to entertainment tools will need to be designed with the new car tech, connectivity, and requirements of the drivers in mind.

3. Security Continues to Be a Pressing Issue

Security concerns are one of the biggest factors for any business or manufacturer investing in autonomous vehicles. There are two types of security that businesses will need to consider.
  •  The first type addresses the safety of the vehicle occupants, where artificial intelligence takes the wheel.
  • The second type addresses the problem of potential cyber attacks that could put tech-based drivers at risk.
The safety of autonomous cars will continue to be the thing that makes or breaks the future of autonomous driving. 

Self-driving vehicles simply won't be able to gain wider adoption until they can guarantee the security of passengers, as well as pedestrians.

Geolocation and advanced analytical tools are starting to offer helpful ways for autonomous cars to sense the environment around them, however there's still a great deal of work to be done. 

4. Extended Connectivity and Communication

To a certain extent, creating a safe autonomous car begins with connecting with the right developers and innovators during the vehicle supply chain.

Automotive connectivity is now one of the biggest technological pillars that self-driving cars are reliant on. Communication and connectivity are crucial to ensure that the roads are secure in the future.

Today's manufacturers need to think about how they can use AI in cars to make quicker, and more accurate decisions. For instance, this might involve investment in: 
  • Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) communication: Helping cars interact with each other on the roads, therefore improving safety, speeding up travel times, and helping to predict traffic situations. General Motors introduced this concept for the first time in 2017, and it has continued to be developed since then.
  • Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) communication: Using 5G networks and IoT, vehicle to infrastructure communication allows connected vehicles to exchange data with the surroundings, which could help to coordinate traffic speeds with road locations and maximize fuel economy.
Enhanced systems for communication between vehicles and infrastructure will create better environments for driving and keep drivers and pedestrians safe on the roads.

5. The Rise of Blockchain

For many manufacturers with technology in their infrastructure, blockchain has become a crucial buzzword. Valuable for the management of data and the control of the supply chain, blockchain can transform the way that we think about autonomous cars.

In the future, experts predict that blockchain will make a significant difference to the safety issues of driverless cars, by making it easier to aggregate large amounts of data from vehicle owners that fleet managers and manufacturers can use.

With security at the core, blockchain also protects the system under the hood of the modern autonomous vehicle, preventing tampering, malfunctions, and attacks.

The ability to analyze data via blockchain will be a huge boon going forward. At the same time, the use of blockchain promotes smart contracts, which is another growing trend for autonomous vehicles.

Smart contracts help to regulate financial, logistic, and legislative communication in the vehicle manufacturing world. The contracts on the blockchain could even allow autonomous cars to send requests straight to suppliers for new parts and solutions.

Blockchain-based smart cars could autonomously pay for parking and tolls on behalf of drivers.

What's Next for Autonomous Driving?

The automotive industry is continuing to evolve at a record pace, providing that self-driving cars won't be relegated to sci-fi stories forever.

Companies around the world are beginning to invest in more of the tools and solutions that could make autonomous driving a reality for the masses.

Starting with intelligent cars, we'll see the rise of a new way of driving in the months to come.

Heather Redding is a technology writer for Daxima, enterprise software development company. She loves to geek out writing about apps, wearables, IoT and other hot tech trends. When she finds the time to detach from her keyboard, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Her Twitter is @heatheraredding.
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