With all that we have witnessed in the world in the past few years, the internet is proving to be the source of power for social change. As we speed into Distracted Driving Awareness Month, there is perhaps no greater place for this than in our vehicles. Let’s zoom into what’s happening behind the wheel.
Consider the statement recently given by Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of management of BMW, at the company’s annual conference. Naturally, he addressed the worldwide suffering happening now and the need for peaceful coexistence of all cultures and global free trade. He also emphasized the fact BMW is keeping operating business running, while working tirelessly toward long-term goals. There is a lot to unpack in his remarks, but let’s start by looking at how AI (artificial intelligence) is impacting automotive.
For one, AI applications are already being used in in the production phase, which improves processes, lowers costs, improves quality and efficiency, and helps reach sustainability goals. The results are impressive too. The company is on the path to deliver two million fully electric vehicles by the end of 2025. What’s more, by 2030, at least half of global deliveries should be BEVs (battery electric vehicles). By then, the company’s BEVs sales could already surpass 1.5 million per year.
Technology is also helping the company meet its sustainability and circularity goals. For example, the BMW i Vision Circular merges sustainability and mobility through circular economy principles. The company is also one to join the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign launched by the Science-Based Targets Initiative. As such, the road to climate neutrality for this company will follow a scientifically validated, transparent path.
While those are some examples of how the company’s processes have evolved due to the advent of technology, let’s look at some of the ways the vehicles themselves have changes. Coming in 2025, the company will embark on Phase III with major technology advancements. The NEUE KLASSE will be built on new vehicle architecture. This means digital and circular, with substantially improved efficiency for uncompromising e-mobility. The future Gen 6 drivetrain generation enables lower costs, enhanced performance, new cell chemistry, and new cell formats.
What’s more, the car is becoming a digital device. The company offers drive technology and over-the-air remote software upgrades. Additionally, it is partnering with others in the framework of Catena-X. The result will be all-solid-state batteries as well as new functions for automated driving. Respectfully, I’m not going to get into the recycling of batteries or landfill debate here. I recognize we still have much work to be done. I will however acknowledge the good news and say much progress is being made in the automotive sector.
The future of vehicles—and car production—is smart and connected. In an era where we need greater safety on our roads, will technology providers and the automotive companies deliver? We do, however, still have to ask the tough questions as we bring these vehicles to the road. What responsibility do we have to create social change in our cars? What ethical responsibility do we have in these connected cars? These are the questions we need to be asking as we move into the next era of innovation in automotive.
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