5 Autonomous Vehicle Trends You Should Know About in 2018

Goodbye to the first half of 2018. It’s high time to review the autonomous vehicle trends. Which tendencies haven’t vanished in a sea of futuristic autonomous vehicle trends? In this article, you find how original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and tier 1 companies use self-driving car technology to create the trends we’ll be using tomorrow. Let’s dig out the details.

The concept of self-driving car technology has always been perceived as futuristic. It has never stopped automotive giants from investing billions in its development, though. Quite the opposite, all but a handful of car manufacturers don’t plan to launch a driverless car in the next decade. Ford, General Motors, Renault-Nissan Alliance, Volkswagen Group, BMW, Volvo, Hyundai, Tesla, Toyota, Honda are an impressive but not an entire list of carmakers taking up the chase for autonomous vehicles trends. Not to mention dozens of technology providers in all shapes and sizes that are running on all cylinders to keep up or set the pace for automotive industry trends.

Technological breakthroughs in 2018 mostly concern improvements in user experience, extended capabilities of artificial intelligence and safety-centered technologies. They are bringing vehicles one step closer to full autonomy.

AI Advancement as a Leitmotif Among Autonomous Vehicle Trends

Autonomous Vehicle Trends

Top researchers and marketers emphasize progress in the capabilities of artificial intelligence is the biggest focus for technology providers and carmakers in 2018. Accenture’s report claims the breakthrough of in-vehicle AI and its algorithms is the most important next step in auto technology. Another market research report states the automotive AI market is expected to be valued close to $11k million by 2025. Nearly every stakeholder in the industry is looking for a way to capitalize on recent AI advances. It proves AI-based systems are becoming the standard for the near future.

The importance of artificial intelligence among other automotive industry trends is explained by its ability to make perceptions and real-time decisions. Namely, these are within the power of Machine Learning, which is a subset of the AI domain. The latest achievements in self-driving car technology show machine learning algorithms can be applied:

  • In mapping and to localize the vehicle in space.
  • For sensor fusion and scene understanding.
  • In navigation and movement planning.
  • For the evaluation of the driver’s state and behavior pattern recognition.

Future cars need artificial intelligence to be at least as inventive as humans, especially to achieve level 4 and 5 of driving automation. Plus, it should be quicker and fault-free in terms of safety and security. For these reasons, an autonomous vehicle shouldn’t be limited to a couple of scenarios. Powered by a sophisticated AI, a vehicle should be able to learn how to adapt to ever-changing behavior on the road.

Among the renowned names investing in AI, Tesla is probably the one leading the race. However, the race is still very much on. Uber, Google’s Waymo, GM and BMW are competing and trying to catch up with massive investments to transform their vehicles with AI.

Security is a Pressing Issue Among Dominant Automotive Industry Trends

Autonomous Vehicle Trends Security

The matter of security of self-driving car technology entails two significant aspects. The first one is the safety of the human when artificial intelligence takes the steering wheel. The second one concerns car hacking and malware attacks. Either way, the security of autonomous cars and the safety of their passengers continue to be a major trend in the automotive industry. It’s a matter of common concern for both manufacturers and technology providers.

Self-driving vehicles won’t get wider adoption unless they guarantee the security of human drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians. To ensure safety, numerous sensors will monitor the external environment and transfer information to the main computer. Next, geolocation and advanced analytics will predict approaching road conditions. As an example, the semi-autonomous features in Volvo XC60 incorporates auto-steering in its City Safety system to avoid hitting other vehicles, pedestrians, and animals. Auto-steering is included in the XC60’s optional Blind Spot Information System and its new Oncoming Lane Mitigation system to help avoid collisions with vehicles in adjacent lanes.

Cyber threats are the next nagging question for self-driving technology. They involve issues with vulnerable connected components, unauthorized data access and transmission, and unsecured software updates. Whether third parties take control of a vehicle and a surrounding infrastructure or they access an individual’s personal info, the consequences can be disastrous. That’s why the number of automotive cybersecurity solution providers continues to increase. Automotive Cybersecurity – Global Forecast to 2021 states the global automotive cybersecurity market will reach $31.8 million by 2021. The main tasks for tech companies working in this field are:

  • Integrate security measures in the software development process.
  • Provide encryption and protection levels for critical onboard systems.
  • Detect and prevent vulnerability throughout the software development lifecycle.

Governments also pay special attention to security as an automotive industry trend. Both the UK and the US have set cybersecurity principles for connected vehicles and have introduced regulations for manufacturers.

Blockchain as Enforcement to the Self-Driving Car Technology

Autonomous Vehicle Trends Blockchain

Blockchain, a red-hot tech, finds commercial applications in various aspects of self-driving car technology. First, there are great expectations for its use for safety issues in a driverless car. To develop reliable and safe autonomous vehicles, manufacturers need petabytes of data. Data from human drivers is used for testing purposes. Blockchain distributed ledgers can aggregate mountains of data from vehicle owners, manufacturers, and fleet managers to speed up the driving process. In this way, using blockchain lays the foundation for safer autonomous driving.

Secure by design, blockchain protects the under-the-hood system of an autonomous vehicle from malfunction or malicious actions. The ability to mine and analyze data on a blockchain is considered a great instrument for making autonomous vehicles safe and protected.

Using blockchain promotes smart contracts, another trend among autonomous vehicles. After their wider adoption, smart contracts can regulate logistic, financial, and legislative matters of communication. These contracts can be concluded between buyers, sellers, insurers, dealmakers, and others. Just imagine, by using the smart contracts running on blockchain, the autonomous vehicle could manage their own expenses. For example, they could pay autonomously pay for parking, buy fuel or pay for the car wash. Either way, blockchain can grant the more complex and previously unseen forms of communication between vehicles in the future.

Have a peek at several promising names. Movimento investigates how a secure Blockchain database can enable auto manufacturers to track each step of the production and transportation processes. Another example is Cybercar. This US-based startup works on a blockchain-optimized connected vehicle platform.

Extended Connectivity and Communication Capabilities of Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous Vehicle Trends Extended Connectivity and Communication Capabilities

Automotive connectivity is one of the technological pillars self-driving car technology leans on. Moreover, it’s a mandatory condition to establish trustworthy relations on the roads of future. There are different types of communication protocols allowing vehicles to expand their sensing range and exchange what they see. But their ultimate goal is to help vehicles make quick and error-free automated decisions. Namely, there are two common types of automotive connectivity covered under the umbrella term V2X, which stands for ‘vehicle to everything.’ V2X includes:

  • Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V). Playing a key role in self-driving car technology, V2V allows improved safety, speed up of travel times, and prediction of traffic situations. General Motors was the first to include V2V protocols in 2017 Cadillac CTS, but other manufacturers are developing this autonomous vehicle trend too. Toyota, for instance, has announced plans to begin a broad deployment of V2V technology for Toyota and Lexus cars.
  • Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I). It allows a connected vehicle to exchange data with the surrounding infrastructure. In the future, this trending technology can help coordinate driving speed with traffic light regulations, maximize fuel economy, and prevent dangerous road situations.

V2X systems are intelligent traffic systems increasing driver awareness of upcoming potential dangers and improving collision avoidance. On top of that, they enable parking management systems and ensure emergency notifications. As a result, the autonomous vehicle drives in an environment with uncompromised safety and enhanced traffic efficiency.

More Autonomous Driving, More Infotainment

Autonomous Vehicle Trends Infotainment

What will the driver do in a self-driving car? What about passengers and commuters? What is known for now is they will have more time and free hands for in-car activities. Autonomous vehicles should be equipped with advanced infotainment solutions to be truly convenient for people in the car. That’s why infotainment is one more of the autonomous vehicle trends and a fertile landscape for tech providers.

Besides using the traditional Amazon’s, Apple’s or Google’s infotainment developments, manufacturers pay more attention to custom apps. A worthy infotainment system should have convenient controls, voice command recognition, internet connectivity, flawless navigation options, and apps people want to use behind the wheel. Some advanced features, like mobile in-car payments, bring additional advantages in terms of the current, fierce competition.

When the self-driving car technology goes mainstream, a smart vehicle will schedule appointments, check emails, and book restaurants instead of us using our phones. From the latest developments enhancing 2018 vehicles, have a look at the following:

  • BMW iDrive, a sophisticated and dynamic infotainment system with high-end controls.
  • Audi MMI and Virtual Cockpit, a system with the excellent interface, Google-based 3D mapping and rich content.
  • Lexus Enform with wide capabilities that could become much more far-reaching when autonomous vehicles become commonplace.


The automotive industry trends continue to prove self-driving car technology is no longer a science fiction phenomenon, but a reality. OEMs and tier 1 companies aren’t waiting until the wheels on the cars go round all by themselves. They have invested billions in R&D and keep a close watch on autonomous vehicle trends. But, tech giants and manufacturing behemoths are not the only pacesetters. Countless tech startups fill niches in the autonomous vehicles ecosystem focusing on laser sensors, new communication protocols, blockchain developments and application of AI algorithms. In 2018 and the coming years, we’ll witness how these and other autonomous vehicle trends change the landscape of the automotive industry.


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About Skelia

Skelia, a Nortal company, is an international leader in building cross-border IT and engineering organizations and affiliate companies in Eastern-Europe. For over a decade, we have provided staff augmentation services to a diverse range of clients—from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. We operate in Luxembourg, the UK, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Poland, and the US.