A peek into the 2021 crystal ball: Xilinx automotive predictions

01-06-2021 08:30 AM

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With 2020 now in the rearview mirror, we look forward to the new possibilities of the new year. At the beginning of each year, we like to take out our crystal ball and predict what we may see or hear about over the next 365 days.

In automotive, new doors will open as we navigate the autonomous car possibilities. In 2021, the auto industry will continue to embrace new technologies and approaches as a stepping stone to autonomous. Here are some changes that Willard Tu, senior director of automotive at Xilinx, expects we’ll be seeing in 2021:

AI will go beyond ADAS…A few examples include:

  • Self-healing Vehicles - Vehicles will have prognostics, the ability to offer "self-diagnosis," virtually eliminating the worrisome situation of being stranded when your vehicle breaks down. 
  • Student Driver Mode - Just as AI can create feedback as to driving habits for fuel efficiency, an automated vehicle equipped with cameras, radars, and lidars can provide a safe environment that can ensure accident avoidance for a new driver, and can also coach in real-time just as a parent would teach their children.
  • Vehicle Valet -  Ironman had "Jarvis," Knight Rider had "Kitt," Space Odyssey had "HAL 9000."  While this kind of all-encompassing system is a bit farther out, carmakers are already in the planning stages for such Vehicle Valets. These systems will keep drivers and passengers safe, informed, entertained, and productive. Voice and gesture UI will intuitively understand commands.  Augmented reality will aid in navigation, providing points of interest or alerting of safety issues, using VR projection to reveal what is behind pillar blind spots.
    • AI valets will need a unique blending of AI (voice, gesture). These AI technologies are only in their infancy, and the HW systems will need to adapt as the systems improve.  OTA updates will maximize the longevity of the system
    • Anticipate a driver’s “driving mood,” which could be anticipating a leisurely Sunday drive, or seeking get to a destination quickly
    • Complex camera systems will be needed to aid VR overlays

Autonomous trucking will pave the way for autonomous passenger vehicles

The trucking industry is already going autonomous, and we’ll see even more activity in this space in 2021. We will see long-haul trucking from depot to depot, highway-only driving on special corridors that are enhanced with special 5G connected land-based sensors arrays, and emergency remote driver intervention (drone mode).

EV growth will transform American urban and rural planning

In many countries such as Japan, China, and Germany, train stations are a hub for shopping and restaurants.  EV will necessitate the need for charging stations at hubs that will mirror these train stations, providing services to entertain consumers while they wait for their EV to recharge.

Battery recycling will emerge as a business

The world needs approaches for dealing with battery disposal and recycling to prevent future environmental impact. 

Automotive OEMs finally unlock reoccurring revenue streams…and brand loyalty

Car companies have long aspired to use the personal-owned vehicle as a platform for recurring revenue. One example of this is the foray of car makers into satellite radio with XM Satellite radio and Sirius Satellite radio. As carmakers look to create upgradeable high-performance central computing nodes in the vehicle, they will unlock the ability to sell “features” similar to the rise of app stores for mobile phones. These new architectures are starting to be embraced, so be on the lookout for car makers departing from the traditional, low-cost distributed ECU mindset and transition to a flexible adaptable platform that can support “features” yet to be designed today. 

Associated with this, OEMs will create brand loyalty by allowing you to transfer your in-vehicle apps purchased in a one-vehicle to a new vehicle as you pay your “subscription fees,” the same way you transfer apps today to your new mobile phone.

Are you interested in hearing more? Join Xilinx: Adapt Automotive, a virtual technology video series that will highlight the key trends and advancements in automotive. Register to attend the virtual event on January 12-14. During this three-day event, hear from Xilinx and industry analysts including Yole Développement, Strategy Analytics, and Semicast about the future of automotive technology.