The Automotive 2025 study published by IBM this week, based on interviews with 175 automobile industry executives from 21 countries, shows an industry in flux, with new digital technologies rolling out at lightning speed and consumers starting to demand a more personalized driving experience from their cars.
“Vehicles will become an integrated part of a person’s life via smartphones and connected car features providing personalized mobility services,” one executive told the researchers.
The study revealed that just 19% of interviewees think their organizations are fully prepared for the challenges of the next decade. More worryingly, just 33% feel their organizations are adaptable to facing challenges.
Yet there was good news, too: “Consumers are more engaged than ever,” the report noted. “[T]hey not only want to use cars, they can be compelled to co-create them.”
The car of 2025 will probably not be able to drive itself without any human involvement—only 8% of the interviewees predicted fully autonomous vehicles by that point (38% said they expected partial autonomy where cars would be able to drive themselves in certain designated areas)—but it will be far more digitally “smart” than anything we have today.
“By 2025, the vehicle will be sophisticated enough to configure itself to a driver and other occupants,” the study predicted. “It will be able to learn, heal, drive, and socialize with other vehicles and its surrounding environment.”
Cars would be able to monitor drivers with heart conditions for signs of approaching heart attack, for example, and repair certain breakdowns without human intervention. They would have their own “digital personas” and consult with other vehicles linked on “vehicle social networks.”
All this would require a dramatic rethinking of business models, of course. “In contrast to ‘Auto 2020’ findings, we see that growth will come from delivering additional value rather than just selling more vehicles,” the study concluded.