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As artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to evolve across all industries, the world is becoming more digitized. The automotive industry will look vastly different as we move into 2021 and beyond as a result of blockchain, the Internet of Things, and the analysis of big data. 

The concept of shopping for a car online is no longer a rarity. Digital consumerism as a whole went up because of COVID circumstances, and people have adapted by living a more remote-based lifestyle. This includes shopping for everything from groceries to big purchase items. Car dealerships have answered the call by increasing the quality of the interactive car shopping experience, complete with virtual tours and having the car delivered to people’s homes. There has been an overwhelming side effect to quarantine that people didn’t expect. The lack of pressure from a face-to-face salesperson has been touted as a small silver lining. People can now take their time and look at everything, typing 24/7 chat questions only when necessary. 

 When people think of futuristic cars, AI-based autonomous vehicles are at the head of the conversation. AI already embraces self-driving vehicles that do not require human intervention but instead use multiple sensors to determine a car’s environment and its proximity circle. This tech enables computer-generated navigation and steering, as well as quicker reaction times. There are currently over 1,400 self-driving cars already on the roads. The major players in this niche market include Tesla, Nio, Plug Power, QuantumScape, Ford, and General Motors, among others.

The entire automotive industry is learning to embrace planet-friendly electric vehicles, eventually hoping to stop using fossil fuels altogether. Towards the end of 2020, there were more than 1.6 million electric vehicles in America, with a 2024 prediction of 1.4 million more. As this new trend continues to gain acceptance, additional challenges will be tackled, such as pricing, battery life, charging stations, and ways to use renewable charging grids.

3D printing technology is being used more frequently in automotive production for several reasons. In addition to assisting the never-ending market for new vehicles, there will always be a demand for spare parts. Components that can be made efficiently with less manpower will save time and money. After the need to recoup losses from 2020, all industries are looking for ways to optimize production and streamline supply chains and logistics. 3D printers can rapidly prototype parts as well as tools.