Thailand races ahead as innovation testing ground for automotive design, production and operation of next-gen mobility

Despite cautious global consumer behavior, ASEAN’s automotive industry’s momentum is building exponentially as car manufacturers look to manage environmental impact of established industry operating models and delivering greater connectivity.

On the back of bullish trade outlook, ASEAN’s trade grew 33% from 2017 to 2021, in contrast to global trade’s 24%. Although the number contracted slightly in 2022, ASEAN’s strategic economic advantages and its growing middle-class incomes have continued unabated, pushing for innovative changes to mobility. 

By the number, the share of electric vehicles in the market is expected to grow from around 1% in 2023 to 10% by 2030. And the number of connected cars in the region is expected to reach 10 million by 2030. This puts ASEAN in a favorable position to become a major hub for the production of EVs and connected cars, generating billions of dollars in revenue and creating millions of jobs. 

Given Thailand’s track record as a testing ground for new automotive technologies, many automakers have shared plans to increase their EV production in Thailand. This coincides with ASEAN’s fastest-growing EV market, which has recently benefited from government incentives, environmental awareness, and falling EV prices recently.

Soon, this will result in the convergence of current and novel engineering design and technology approaches. As the industry drives forward from analog to digital, car manufacturers’ dated processes are in for a long-overdue digital overhaul. Investment in smart manufacturing technologies supporting EV development will promise greater efficiency, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness in the production process.

This convergence will lead to the integration of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning in engineering design for improved innovation and problem-solving capabilities. Further, with the increasing demand for electric vehicles (EVs), car manufacturers will have to adapt their engineering practices to accommodate new challenges related to battery technology, power electronics, and charging infrastructure. Ultimately, this will also address consumers’ long-held concerns about EVs’ range and connectivity.

“These advances hold great promise for EVs in the region. Ultimately, bringing down the price of EVs will make them more competitive against conventional vehicles and more appealing to consumers. We simply cannot afford to delay or underestimate the urgency of the climate crisis, where each passing day without meaningful action brings us closer to irreversible damage. We have to act now, and big changes are afoot across Thailand’s established automotive industry around Bangkok and Pattaya.” said Terrence Lim, General Manager for ASEAN and Pacific, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence.

“Growth in all corners of manufacturing, autonomous and ADAS simulation, and the like will bring down cost rapidly over time. The innovative approaches that we bring to automotive design, production, and operation will help car manufacturers and OEMs develop sustainable and commercially viable practices. However, there’s still a lot riding on it, including the shift to replace obsolete industry operating models and testing new emerging technologies. Also, this will open up more opportunities for collaboration between traditional automotive companies and tech players.” 

“Today, Hexagon’s design, engineering and manufacturing technologies are employed by industry leaders such as Volkswagen and Bosch, and touch more than 75% of vehicles produced today, from optimising the efficiency of new electric vehicle (EV) powertrain design and production to quality inspecting new range-boosting batteries. Through 100% EV, we are focussing our combined technologies and expertise to help manufacturers integrate these processes and accelerate the global transition to EVs.” Lim added.

Below are five snapshots of the technology trends shaping Thailand’s automotive future.

Tech-fueled arms race for e-mobility

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) technologies are evolving rapidly, with continuous advancements in features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking. These systems enhance driver safety and convenience by providing assistance and intervention in critical driving situations.

The growth of connected cars

Connected cars are equipped with sensors and software that allow them to communicate with each other and with the infrastructure around them. This allows for a number of new features, such as autonomous driving and traffic management.

The increasing importance of safety

ASEAN governments are increasingly focused on improving road safety. This is leading to the introduction of new safety regulations and the development of safer vehicles.

Differentiation through sustainability and environmental considerations

The automotive industry is increasingly focusing on sustainability and reducing its environmental impact. This includes not only the shift to electric vehicles but also the adoption of renewable energy sources for charging infrastructure, the use of lightweight materials to improve fuel efficiency, and the implementation of eco-friendly manufacturing processes.

Shared Mobility and Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

The concept of shared mobility and Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is gaining popularity. Instead of traditional car ownership, consumers are opting for shared mobility solutions such as ride-hailing, car-sharing, and subscriptio

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