There’s a lot to keep tabs on in today’s mobility industry, from advancements in sustainability to safety improvements to self-driving cars — and more changes are just around the bend. Make sure you’re caught up on the topics that are top of mind for engineers now by reviewing these five major trends facing the mobility industry in 2024.
The global SDV market is expected to grow to more than six times its value (to $210.88 billion) by 2032, and already, many automobiles contain as much code and software as computer operating systems. Essentially, cars are now computers on wheels, capable of implementing enhancements through over-the-air updates and integrating third-party apps to deliver customized experiences. This brings a variety of benefits for consumers as well as OEMs who are willing to adapt and think outside the box, as they receive more data to leverage for improvements and features. As the mobility industry works to innovate further, collaboration across automotive manufacturers and technology companies, as well as adjacent stakeholders like data and analytics specialists and cybersecurity organizations, will be essential for combatting challenges like safety and privacy issues.
Without a doubt, autonomous vehicles have made progress and headlines recently, especially after Waymo made its fully autonomous “Waymo Driver” available for riders earlier this year. That progress will only speed up as AI development continues, more quality training data becomes available and public support expands. This is all contributing to projections that the U.S. autonomous car market will grow to nearly $62 billion by 2026, more than double its 2021 value. But AI isn’t all about driverless technology — it’s also impacting everything from improving safety through driver monitoring capabilities to making voice assistants practically ubiquitous, with 90% of the world’s new vehicles expected to have voice assistants by 2028.
As governments across the world recognize the need for cleaner transportation and implement initiatives to encourage electric vehicle (EV) adoption, it’s becoming clear that there will be some bumps in the road. The North America EV battery market is expected to see a combined annual growth rate of 30% from 2023-2030, driven by increasing vehicle sales and EV infrastructure. But experts expect it will take years for battery production and supply to catch up with that demand, creating a need for increased attention on recycling, more people manufacturing batteries and new technologies to combat this issue.
A lot of attention is given to EVs, especially in the U.S., but hydrogen remains a key contender for the title of “fuel of the future.” Across Europe, hydrogen filling stations are already in use and California has over 50 (mostly private). But in order to deliver on hydrogen’s promise, the industry must decide whether hydrogen-powered vehicles or the infrastructure necessary for them to be used come first, and significant investment and political support are necessary.
More than 42,000 motor vehicle-related fatalities were still reported in the U.S. in 2021 and 2022, which means safety will remain a top concern for members of the mobility industry. While there is no federal law prohibiting distracted driving behaviors, legislation is under development to address this issue. Advanced technologies like AI computer chips and the next generations of 4D LiDAR and RADAR show promise for improving the driver assistance systems (ADAS) systems that can lead to a zero-fatality future, but implementing them at scale will require regulators and auto manufacturers to take collective action.