Digitisation is changing the way we build things and that is especially true of the automotive industry and allied to the 4th Indsutrial Revolution technologies creating cars has leapt into a new era.

Digital design, additive manufacturing, big data, Computational Fluid Dynamics and cybersecurity all provide an intriging proposaition for product and operational improvements that industry is benefiting from.

When we look at the ‘heat map’ of digital adoption, it seems that there significant importance to adoption is being placed, in differing ways but extensively with the same results.

The following data is extracted from the SMMT Digitisation of the UK Automotive Industry report.


US carmakers are participating in the Industrial Internet Consortium with leading academic institutions and government. Universities such as MIT and Stanford and IT companies such as IBM, Intel and Cisco have placed the US at the forefront of digitalisation. Over US$1 billion has been invested by the government in digitalisation. The IIC  (Industrial Internet Consortium) is working with Industrie 4.0 to set standards for industrial connectivity and security.


The UK benefits from a diverse mix of manufacturers bringing German, Japanese and US perspectives on digitalisation. The UK motorsport sector has significant real-time simulation and advanced analytics capability and the gaming industry is collaborating with manufacturers to enable new virtual product and process validation techniques. Smart factory demonstrators for example, the Manufacturing Technology Center in Coventry provide technology demonstration to suppliers.


In April 2016 the European Commission launched Digitising EU Industry, the first industry related initiative of its Digital Single Market package. Digitising EU Industry aims to build on existing national initiatives. The European Commission will help coordinate national initiatives, focus investments in the EU’s public/private partnerships on digitalisation, invest €500 million in a pan‑EU network of digital innovation hubs, set up large scale pilot projects to strengthen the internet of things, adapt legislation to support the flow of data and develop an EU digital skills agenda.


The birthplace of Industrie 4.0, a German government led collaboration with industry and academic institutions. The Fraunhofer Institute and Aachen University are key research facilities and SAP and Siemens have produced the world’s leading digital manufacturing software solutions. VW, BMW and Daimler are actively pursuing digitalisation strategies. Germany is arguably the global leader in the digitalisation of manufacturing and has established substantial local innovation clusters with significant supply chain participation.


Industrie du Futur is a broad government programme to boost manufacturing competitiveness that incorporates digitalisation. French manufacturers spend high amounts of R&D funding on the digitalisation of manufacturing and there is good participation by SMEs too.


Made in China 2025 and the 13th five Year Plan are an ambitious government strategy to improve industry and emphasises digitalisation. China plans to create over 40 innovation centres to demonstrate new technology and serve as a cluster. Many global vehicle manufacturers and suppliers are planning to build new smart factories in joint ventures with local Chinese suppliers. We believe that China will become a leader in digitalisation during the next decade.


In June 2016, the Industrial Value Chain Initiative was launched with 30 founding members including Nissan, Panasonic and Fujitsu, leading academic institutions and government. The IVCI is seeking to collaborate with the US and Germany on digital standards setting. Japan’s substantial technology industry is a global leader in R&D into the industrial internet of things.


Made in India is a government strategy to substantially grow manufacturing and includes an ambition to become the “smart factory of the world”. India’s automotive industry is today about double the size of the UK’s but is expected to grow dramatically through investment from global vehicle manufacturers and suppliers in the coming decades as economic growth boosts domestic demand. India’s successful IT sector is collaborating with manufacturers and government on digitalisation.

The adoption of digital technologies will be at the forefront of the automotive industry by virtue of the digital knowledge available today, but waht is really exciting is that this is just the beginning ad indeed, Technology today is moving at the slowest it will ever be!