AI in the Auto Industry And Its Effect on the Environment

Whether you’re lucky enough to have a new car that has a built-in smart assistant or can parallel park itself, it can’t be denied that AI has already become an incredibly major factor in the automotive industry. With several modern cars already advertising smart features that include things like self-driving programs and motion sensors, manufacturers are working hard to bring the “smartest” features to their latest models, ensuring both driver comfort and accessibility.

Be that as it may, it is not simply a matter of convenience. With the several imminent dangers of global warming, these AI advancements in auto technology may possibly stand to positively impact the environment in its steady decline. 

The most evident benefit of AI features is being able to cut down on one of the world’s biggest sources of air pollution. Because of emissions released by cars and other vehicles, transportation is responsible for more than “half of all [nitrogen oxide] emissions and contributes significantly (around 10 % or more) to the total emissions of other pollutants,” according to the European Environment Agency. 

By getting fewer vehicles to their destinations more efficiently,  AI could help reduce that amount substantially. Less fuel being burned means less fuel being sold, which ultimately results in a decreasing demand for fossil fuels like oil and petroleum and the systems used to extract them. What's more, if people begin to start using ride-sharing services as opposed to acquiring their own cars, there may eventually be fewer cars made in the future, which could help significantly in cutting down on the negative impact of the manufacturing process as well. 

Fewer crashes due to AI features such as impact detection and collision avoidance could also mean fewer resources and materials that go towards replacing these cars. An overall pattern for all cars is that they are are normally built larger than they need to be, due to the fact that bigger vehicles typically fare much better in collisions than lighter, more compact ones do. But as AI’s ability to reduce the number of collisions improves, we may begin to see a change in car design, where smaller, fuel-efficient cars are being manufactured as a result.

 
United Parcel Service is an American multinational package delivery and supply chain management company.

United Parcel Service is an American multinational package delivery and supply chain management company.

 

Effective routing is also another region in which AI has the potential to create a positive impact on the environment. For more than twenty years, UPS, by simply reducing the number of left turns on delivery routes to avoid idly sitting or waiting in traffic, has been able to save 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and over 10 million gallons of fuel a year. Imagine the enormous impact that could be produced by similar miniscule changes if drivers started using smart routing AI programs to find the most fuel-efficient path from one point to another! 

Although AI advancements in the auto industry may be about creating a more convenient atmosphere for the driver, a second look truly shows how these features are creating a smarter, greener, and more sustainable environment. 

 

Sources: 

https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/indicators/transport-emissions-of-air-pollutants-8/transport-emissions-of-air-pollutants-6

https://www.bosch.com/stories/artificial-intelligence-in-cars/

https://www.cnn.com/2017/02/16/world/ups-trucks-no-left-turns/index.html