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BW Businessworld

Autonomous Brakes, ADAS Accelerates

Kris Baxter, Corporate Vice President & General Manager of Micron’s Embedded Business Unit

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2021 will see broader adoption of the enriched in-cabin experience and advanced driver-assistance (ADAS) systems, while a tap on the brakes towards fully autonomous vehicles is likely. The automotive industry continues on a transformational journey that has not been seen since the introduction of the automobile. That said, in this pandemic environment, we’ll see a slowing of the timeline towards fully autonomous vehicle deployments as automakers prioritize their investments, and ridesharing companies pull back on fleet expansion — reducing the dollars, miles and data needed to advance the technology towards Level 4/5 autonomy in the near-term. COVID put a damper on the aggressive adoption we might see otherwise in the autonomous space; people are hesitant about public transportation and ridesharing.

However, the fundamental growth drivers of the market remain intact, especially as consumers increasingly shop for vehicles more like smartphones, weighing up digital features like personalization, and UX, rather than horsepower and make. We’ll see a rise in enriched features including enhanced connectivity, larger digital displays and full digitalization of the cabin, with these serving as key purchase differentiators for consumers. The industry will exert a renewed focus on improving the effectiveness, safety and driver experience of Level2/2+ ADAS features (in some cases, due to governmental mandates) — driving growth in adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping/changing, driver monitoring systems and C-V2X vehicle-to-vehicle communications. In 2021, the market for these technologies is going to be very strong. These efforts will in tandem help the industry make strides towards fully autonomous in the long-term.

When we reach that juncture, we believe that autonomous vehicles are going to make it into the enterprise first, such as robo-taxis via Mobility-as-a-Service providers as well as trucking and delivery solutions — areas that can afford the costs of fully autonomous, and can reap enough ROI for the economics to make sense.  

The full benefit of autonomous factories is yet to be realized, but a trend towards micro-factories will accelerate in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has strained manufacturing and the supply chain like never before. Most factories today are still based on the more than 100-year-old Henry Ford principle of massive scale and centralization. While the concept of distributed, agile, smaller, digital-first factories closer to end markets has been around for years, the pandemic and the need for some onshoring are catalysts that will speed this transition in certain areas in 2021. These micro-factories will be built on the foundation of industrial IoT (IIoT) and automation, enabling them to be nimbler and thus, more responsive to demand closer the source. This trend of intelligence-at-the-edge will also propel demand for edge-to-cloud platforms to manage, connect and secure smart devices, factories and infrastructure. While many are early in the deployment of IIoT solutions, the full benefit of data analytics in smart factories has yet to be realized. The shift towards more automated manufacturing will accelerate the advancements and adoption of data technologies enabling smart insights at the industrial edge.

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