The personal car ownership experience is undergoing drastic changes since the turn of the century. Driven by electrification, connected cars, cloud technology, e-commerce, OTA updates, the sharing economy, and relentless cycles of competition, the way customers shop for cars, buy one, and interact as they own it is all new, and still changing. That’s why the Autotech Council thought it a good topic for a meeting, where we could discuss the changes, and hear from some of the technology providers putting fuel in the tank.
The meeting tilted heavily to a discussion of the personal or private car, but we also covered discussions of other vehicles, commercial ownership, fleets, and car sharing.
As always, we kicked it off with an analyst presentation to set the stage, and Mo Al-Bodour from SBD Automotive drilled down on the subject of OTA updates, and how they are changing our relationship with our cars, as the cars themselves are changing throughout our ownership. Mo pointed out that the early rise of EVs are a driver of OTAs, because of standard connectivity, a larger battery which needs to be monitored, and a simpler central computer design which is easier to update than dozens of ECUs.
Danny Shapiro, Sr. Director of Automotive at Nvidia built on Mo's observation that EVs are simpler to update OTA, and talked about Software Defined Cars that are, by design, more easily and safely updatable. As an example, Shapiro talked about the Nvidia Drive Platform and Nvidia Stack being put into the entire range of a popular German brand’s cars as standard.. Then, the carmaker can add features more easily, just onto the application layer, and offer them as “brand building”, or as paid options that enhance the vehicle. When challenged whether customers want to “rent” features of their own private cars, Shapiro noted that they could still pay up front for options just as the past. But carmakers could offer more pricing models the OEM can offer more flexibility to customers. Carmakers would try to get it right in order to beat the competition.
Lisa Figgins, Senior Director of Product Developemnt & Underwriting at CSAA Insurance joined us on a panel with Christopher Nelson, Senior Consultant in Marketing Transformation at Dassault subsidiary 3DEXCITE, moderated by Autotech Council Chairperson, Derek Kerton. The panel discussed a variety of new car ownership trends, from pre-purchase, to the retail experience, to ongoing relationships like insurance. Figgins told us some of her lessons with UBI, and how it makes a lot of sense for commuters who are now in a shelter in place world, as it will in a future with more telecommuting. Users may leave their cars idle more days, and don’t want to pay to insure for the miles they’re not driving! Nelson discussed how billions of dollars are lost every year because of bad customer experience, and how multiple touch-points in the car ownership experience can be improved with the use of big data and analytics and by delivering digital products.
As always, our meeting wrapped up with a series of rapid fire presentations, showing a series of innovative companies and products in quick succession. And as a trial, we used a new service we’re building called the Autotech Virtual Lounge. In the Lounge, we have a virtual room with tables. Each table is a separate discussion, and creates a kind of mini “zoom-like” conference at the table, and you can freely jump about to drop in on the startups’ tables, or a topic table. The test was a mixed success, where it was a bit difficult to get people logged in and started up on the new tech platform, for those that arrived, the tool worked quite well in replicating the informal networking we usually offer in person.
For downloads of the presentations, members should visit the Member Library.