The automotive sector is currently undergoing a significant transformation driven by new trends such as Autonomous Driving, Connectivity, Electrification, and Shared Mobility. This shift is a result of digital transformation and evolving consumer preferences. These dynamic changes are shaping the automotive industry as it enters the digital realm. With consumer demand pushing for intelligent vehicles, automotive companies are exploring ways to infuse digitalization into their products to enhance their intelligence. The industry has evolved beyond its traditional role of providing transportation and has now evolved into a comprehensive system capable of generating substantial market value through data-based services.

Recent trends reveal the following projections for the future of the automotive industry: 5G-enabled cars are expected to represent over a quarter of global connected car sales by 2025 [1]; Autonomous driving is projected to generate $300-$400 billion in revenue by 2035 [2]; Electric vehicle sales are set to more than triple by 2025 [3]; and Shared mobility is predicted to drive $1 trillion in consumer spending by 2030 [4]. These ongoing trends are shaping the industry into a data-driven market, elevating data to the status of the most valuable output. This paves the way for significant opportunities for automobile manufacturers, who can tap into data to extract insights that further fuel the growth of the automotive sector. 

Harnessing the Power of Analytics in the Cloud: An Automotive Perspective

Figure 1: Provides an overview of the myriad data points generated by these trends. Leveraging cloud analytics can unlock advantages from both operational and business perspectives. Connected car data contributes to passenger safety by enabling the creation of vehicle features that enhance security. For example, Tesla sends sensor and camera data to a cloud server, which subsequently delivers insights to vehicles through software updates, enhancing functionality.

Remarkable growth opportunities lie hidden within the enigmatic world of data associated with each of these trends:

Understanding Connected Data

Modern vehicles equipped with sensors serve as sources of connected car data. Contrary to the notion of transportation as a decentralized process connecting two points, connected vehicles offer a unified experience [5]. Various touch points of connectivity are possible, such as:

Vehicle to Infrastructure

In this scenario, vehicles communicate with the road infrastructure, generating data related to traffic, weather conditions, road accidents, speed limits, etc.

Harnessing the Power of Analytics in the Cloud: An Automotive Perspective

Vehicle to Vehicle

This communication system facilitates the exchange of real-time information between vehicles, which can also be leveraged for safety purposes.

Harnessing the Power of Analytics in the Cloud: An Automotive Perspective

Vehicle to Network

This allows connectivity with existing cellular networks (LTE, 4G, 5G), enabling the car to function like a device itself and interact with other vehicle devices, much like a mobile phone.

Harnessing the Power of Analytics in the Cloud: An Automotive Perspective

Vehicle to Device

This is facilitated by a Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connection that can include systems like Google Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, enabling other devices such as smartphones, tablets, and wearables to interact with the vehicle's infotainment system.

Harnessing the Power of Analytics in the Cloud: An Automotive Perspective

Cloud analytics harnesses copious amounts of data to analyze and comprehend events like hard braking, real-time traffic intelligence, and historical insights into road incidents [6]. Manufacturers can utilize insights from connected car data to enhance the safety of both drivers and passengers, making the driving experience more enjoyable. Understanding behavioral patterns aids in identifying novel features and areas for investment. Vehicle data also enables manufacturers to optimize revenue through data monetization. A case in point is Ford's introduction of the 'Power Up' over-the-air update, which not only enhances vehicle performance but also monetizes customer data.

Enhancing Autonomous Car Data

Autonomous driving relies on substantial computing power to analyze vast streams of real-time sensor data [7]. Other autonomous technologies, such as Over-The-Air (OTA) updates, similarly demand high-performance capabilities and intelligent connectivity. To meet these demands, cloud analytics can leverage computing power while ensuring data security and insights to facilitate intelligent connectivity both within and outside the vehicle. The analyzed data, devoid of biases, and hosted within a centralized cloud infrastructure, can be employed to effectively train machine learning models for constructing autonomous driving features. Tesla's 'Navigate on Autopilot' exemplifies this with features that enable overtaking slower vehicles and taking exit ramps through lane changes.

Empowering Electrification Data

Electrification is gaining prominence in the automotive sector as it strives to reduce carbon footprints and embrace eco-friendly mobility solutions. Electric vehicles (EVs) generate substantial data about both the vehicle and the driver with every mile driven. Automakers can harness the power of cloud analytics to ingest and interpret this data, focusing particularly on battery data—the most invaluable information from EVs. This empowers drivers to comprehend real-time battery health and optimize its usage. Moreover, ecosystem players within the automotive sector can leverage these insights to devise innovative solutions.

Sensing Shared Mobility Data

Ever-evolving consumer preferences have given rise to shared mobility concepts like car sharing and car rentals [8]. This emerging trend has captured the interest of investors and the automotive sector alike. This shift has prompted automotive manufacturers to reconsider their traditional business models in favour of Mobility-as-a-Service. Leveraging analytics in the cloud for shared mobility data can open up new revenue streams. These insights can be strategically employed to develop innovative offerings, such as subscription models for end-users. Notably, Ola, a proponent of shared mobility, not only offers car sharing but also provides in-car infotainment and Wi-Fi enablement for customers.

Deciphering the Automotive Value Chain for Enhanced Outcomes

The benefits of cloud analytics extend beyond the immediate. The automotive value chain comprises critical activities performed at each stage, from vehicle design to customer experience. Introducing cloud analytics at various stages of this value chain can yield multiple advantages, enriching the overall outcomes sought by automakers. This includes optimizing vehicle performance, refining business models, reducing costs, and supporting Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives. Cloud-based analytics can unlock these benefits by harnessing data generated from various touchpoints throughout the value chain. 

Harnessing the Power of Analytics in the Cloud: An Automotive Perspective

Figure 2: Elucidates the key activities within the value chain and the data-driven outcomes facilitated by cloud analytics. Notably, data-driven insights can enhance safety by predicting failures and anticipating maintenance issues related to brakes, engine oil capacity, and battery health, among others.

Embracing a Cloud-First Strategy in the Automotive Industry

In the era of a cloud-first strategy, the automotive industry is actively embracing cloud technology to unlock agility, resilience, efficiency, and productivity. The integration of analytical tools within cloud infrastructure continues to revolutionize the industry's outlook, shaping the future of the automotive sector. This unified platform has the capacity to ingest massive volumes of data and generate significant insights, thereby supporting the holistic growth of both the industry and the broader ecosystem.

About the Authors

Satyajit Vasant Sarak
Senior Practice Manager, Decision Science (WEF - Data, Analytics & Intelligence)

Sharqua Shaheen
Associate Consultant, Strategy Planning and Market Insights (WEF - Data, Analytics & Intelligence)