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Driving You Forward

The Future of Our Industry

Driving You Forward – The Future of Our Industry

By Lorenzo Alleva, Head of Digital Garage R&D

An Evolving Industry

Over the past 50 years, the car and tyre industries have largely remained the same, but we are now entering an exciting time that I believe historians will look back on in years to come. The world is changing fast and it’s having an unprecedented knock-on effect on the automotive industry.

The fundamental purpose of the automotive industry is to get people from A to B, but global evolution is unearthing complicated macro trends, such as sustainability and population growth, which are forcing our industry to advance in order to get people and things where they want, when they want, and in the most efficient way.

Driven by data

Earlier this week, I was fortunate enough to speak at the 2018 Future Tire conference on the topic of game-changing technologies. Something that came through loud and clear at the 2018 Future Tire conference is that the tyre is not just a peripheral part of the vehicle – it is shaping the way drivers behave and, as a result, the way we innovate. The tyre will be part of the IoT (internet of things) and will start to inform the vehicle, or directly the driver, about its status and the need of replacement.

This is where CASE comes into play: vehicles are becoming more Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric. Connected tyres will lead to a significant amount of data generation and this means a better understanding of drivers’ behaviour, which will in turn help shape the tyre of the future. Ultimately, it’s about looking at the whole picture of smart mobility, and the role the vehicle plays outside of just going from A to B.

But before we get carried away, let’s bring it back to the here and now. Although we are seeing new developments in connected tyres, the evolutionary process of smart mobility will not be rushed. Whether it’s our Bridgestone DriveGuard Run-Flat Technology or our new Weather Control A005 all-season tyres, at Bridgestone we are focussed on finding solutions for the real problems that drivers are facing on the road today.

Automation integration

Automation is a technology that has huge potential for our industry. The expectation of dramatic increases in workforce productivity means that not only will the tyre of the future look different, but so will the workforce and environment in which it is developed.

Roles are expected to change to meet the technological needs and this is something that we’re already preparing for at Bridgestone. In fact, we recently invested €9.5 million into our plant in Tatabánya, Hungary, which includes a new training centre to make sure our employees have the most current knowledge and always keep us moving forward.

The New Model

Our business has progressed so much in recent years and we are now a company that provides so much more than tyres. We’re moving towards a new model, one where we offer valuable solutions and services, including scientific expertise and insight-led product construction. For example, we have a “Digital Garage”, our open innovation platform that combines many disparate fields from the mobility value chain and different players.

We are at the heart of the automotive industry developments. Whatever happens with the evolution of cars, tyres will always have a part to play – after all, they’re the only part of the vehicle that meets the road.

We continue to push forward and challenge the boundaries of the industry. We are no longer only looking at the future of the car but, more fundamentally, we collaborate with our partners to shape the future of mobility. We’re privileged to have great relationships with leading OEMs, as well as universities and other pioneering stakeholders. This collaborative working ethos means the future is certainly exciting.