Cox Automotive has backed AI to become a powerful tool for the motor trade – but only if it is used ‘wisely’.
Writing in its latest AutoFocus report, the firm said it was unlikely that AI would replace humans within the industry and would instead continue to work alongside workers.
The report took in the opinions of some the automotive industry’s most respected experts who said the technology would allow both dealers and manufacturers to work ‘better and faster’.
‘It is clear that AI, in its various forms, is increasingly used by various industries,’ wrote Cox Automotive’s insight and strategy director, Philip Nothard (pictured).
‘The pace at which it improves and is applied in the modern world brings uncertainties and efficiencies.
‘The automotive industry must take advantage of AI’s opportunities to develop and improve how vehicles are built and maintained throughout their lifecycle.’
Among the specialists to share their views on the topic of AI was Shaun McGirr, chief digital officer at software firm Dataiku.
He said that AI in automotive may have been ‘oversold’ in recent years, pointing to a ‘constant hype’ around self-driving cars in recent years.
He added that despite the buzz, the automotive industry is actually ‘a little behind’ when it comes to embracing the benefits of artificial intelligence.
McGirr said: ‘Thankfully, as often happens with innovation, the “moonshot” application (self-driving cars) has spawned more mundane applications that are now standard: lane-keep assist, radar-assisted cruise control and all manner of warning systems.
‘Another spin-off benefit has been the richer data collected about everything from traffic to driver behaviour to vehicle performance, which presents challenges.
‘Manufacturers have decades of experience putting technology in the vehicle but are relatively behind other industries in making their data investments pay off across the entire company.’
He added: ‘Automotive must not be too proud to admit it is a little behind.
‘It should use the rapidly dropping cost of predictions to change decisions. In its favour is the extraordinary wealth of experience and knowledge, which, if made more flexible in combination with AI, will not replace humans but make them even more powerful.’
Summing up the report’s findings on AI, Nothard said: ‘AI has already had a major impact on the automotive industry, transforming the way vehicles are designed, built and operated.
‘This past year has seen AI’s power surpass all expectations. Manufacturers will no doubt continue to utilise and adapt to that power and consumers too will benefit as AI is changing how they purchase vehicles, financing and insurance – among other things.
‘Automotive may reportedly be behind the curve when it comes to implementing AI solutions but that will certainly change.’
You can view the full AutoFocus report here.