Digital Transormation Project: Suzuki & the autonomous vehicle
When talking about the future of transportation, the last company you would think of is Suzuki. This Japanese company specializes in designing and manufacturing passenger cars, motorcycles and several other non-vehicle related machines. While we get many signs that the transportation industry is changing with companies like Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Google and Apple making headlines about electronic and self-driving cars. However Suzuki has not announced any change in its business model and is threatened to get left behind in this changing environment.
Most of Suzuki’s revenue comes from its automobile sector, the company’s strategy is clearly focused on the production of small and subcompact vehicles. The management however is more focussed on its current organizational structure and not on future innovations.
As the automobile market is changing and Suzuki is forced to make a descision on how to proceed onward. We proposed a solution that allows Suzuki to manufacture their own self-driving cars.
The technology behind the autonomous car is not an easy one and its success is dependant on many technical, political and social factors. For an autonomous vehicle to actually function, changes in road infrastructure and vehicle composition is vital. The so called V2I (Vehicle-to-Infrastructure) and V2V (Vehicle-to-Vehicle) communication technology is used by the self driving car to be able to calculate risks and take pre-emptive action to avoid and mitigate crashes as well as detect stop signs, signal status’, speed limits, surface conditions and pedestrian crosswalks. Besides this the car itself will need to have the Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) technology, which is the main source of how self driving cars will ‘see’ the world they operate in. By projecting dozens of laser beams around 360 degrees of the car. Through this it is able to create 3D images of objects, which helps the car see potential obstacles in its way. For the self-driving car to have any chance on commercial success, government legislation concerning liability limitation will have to be created, so that car manufacturers are not wholly responsible whenever an accident occurs with an autonomous vehicle.
The automobile industry is very likely to have its most dramatic shift in history. Many of Suzuki’s competitors are already very advanced with this technology so Suzuki will not have the first-mover advantage. However even with this fact we recommend that Suzuki does in fact start developing its own self-driving car. They should be an ambidextrous company, which means that to protect the traditional business and develop disruptive innovations simultaneously. If Suzuki fails to adapt to this shift in the industry, they will likely suffer tremendously. Lets hope Suzuki heeds our advice and does not end up like Kodak of the automobile industry.
Siva, S.R.K. (2013),’The Evolution of Connected Vehicle Technology: From Smart Drivers to Smart Cars to… Self-Driving Cars.’ ITE Journal, Volume 83, no. 7, pp 22-26.