Bringing the Strengths of the Aerospace Industry to Automotive Manufacturers

December 02, 2016 // By Chip Downing, Wind River
At the dawn of the autonomous vehicle era, electronic systems in automobiles are becoming similar in complexity to those found in the aerospace industry. This provides a blueprint of how to develop safe and reliable systems in a market that is also adapting to new business models.

Two industries, but arguably one function: the transportation of goods and people. The commercial aviation industry has existed for just over a century and is now one of the biggest manufacturing industries in the world. Due to its very nature, it is also one of the most highly regulated, where safety remains paramount. The automotive industry has existed longer, is equally pervasive and is also founded on safety, but both industries face pressure to constantly improve every aspect of their efficiency, without sacrificing safety.

The idea of moving away from an ownership model was almost immediate in the early 1900s when commercial aircraft became available. Very few people would have the means or the ambition to own their own aircraft. The same cannot be said of the automobile; a concept embodied by Henry Ford’s dream of making a car anyone could afford to buy. But is that a dream still held by the majority?

 

Autonomous vehicles lead the way

The emergence of autonomous vehicles, coupled with low cost rental schemes, car- and ride-sharing initiatives, and a range of usage-based business models means fewer people may own vehicles in future. But that doesn’t equate to fewer cars on the road; that number is likely to increase, as more people will have access to a car -- they just won’t need to own one.

This ‘mobility-as-a-service’ concept will see the automotive industry transitioning into something that more closely resembles the commercial aviation industry. Safety, reliability, up-time and overall efficiency will be the driving force behind its success, as consumers simply won’t tolerate a substandard service.

This will not only change the way we, as consumers, access vehicles, but how the industry manufactures them. The entire supply chain is likely to change to one where suppliers and systems must be highly interchangeable, offer greater functional consolidation, and more reliable integration.

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