For more than 120 years, racing has been used to improve the performance and safety of automobiles. Along the way, numerous innovations developed for use on the race track have trickled down to road cars. That tradition continues today, as engineers push the boundaries of autonomous systems technology.
In recent years, most efforts to develop autonomous vehicles have focused on last-mile delivery, driven by the rapid rise of e-commerce. The goal is to create machines that can deliver food and small packages directly to consumers in an affordable, quick, reliable and safe manner.
Vehicle production plants are undergoing a massive transformation as automakers evolve from internal-combustion engines (ICE) to battery power. While EVs use fewer parts overall, those components tend to be heavier than their ICE equivalents. That demands new ways to deploy robots on assembly lines.
The current paradigm of car manufacturing, which provides a variety of models, colors and options, is called mass customization. However, mass customization is now transforming into mass individualization. In mass individualization, products are uniquely catered to consumers’ desires. For example, some car buyers may want to replace ordinary car seats with luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton, to differentiate themselves.