Wireless communication network concept. IoT(Internet of Things). ICT(Information Communication Technology).

ACCESS: Connectivity

Future vehicles will offer greater levels of connectivity and communications, driven not only by in-vehicle comfort and convenience but also by safety considerations.

Advanced software and multimodal sensor systems will facilitate:

  • V2V collaborative behavior
  • Interaction with V2I interaction
  • Congestion mitigation via cellular and/or satellite

The continued growth of sensor technology adoption and proliferation of advanced driver-assist safety technologies, coupled with anticipated 5G mobile networks and a growing demand for high-tech displays (e.g., touchscreens, augmented reality features), will enable the addition of more electronic content to vehicles while increasing the value of vehicle software systems. The growing addition of electronics, sensors, and data processing to future vehicles creates opportunities for advanced plastics and polymer composites in the following areas:

Artificial Intelligence

Connectivity Through Radar LIDAR MORE

Design Impacts

Artificial intelligence (AI)-driven techniques will help to optimize travel routes based on traffic conditions, guide electric vehicles to recharging stations, and classify driver health and attentiveness.

Opportunities for Advanced Plastics and Polymer Composites

Advanced plastics and polymer composites can protect expensive electronics and computing hardware from harmful physical vibrations and dangerously high temperatures.

Collaborative Activities

Heat and Shock Protection

Near (2020–2022)Mid (2023–2025)Long (2026–2030)
* Define material performance requirements required to safeguard electrical and electronic system componentsNear, Mid
Build public perception of advanced plastics and polymer composites as a key enabler for reducing NVH (i.e., squeaks, rattles, roughness of ride quality)Near
Demonstrate non-conductive, vibration-damping adhesives for joining automotive electronic applicationsNear, Mid
Increase participation across advocacy groups and key standards committees to permit the integration of nanosensor-embedded advanced plastics and polymer compositesNear, Mid
Develop highly durable plastic insulators for safeguarding automotive electronicsMid
Establish integrated test methods (e.g., heat management, shielding, flammability) to aid in the development and certification of automotive electronic componentsMid, Long


Design Impacts

Future connected vehicles may rely on a 5G mobile internet infrastructure for over-the-air updates of onboard software systems. However, the proliferation of sensor-based safety systems raises cyberattack vulnerability concerns for both vehicles and smart infrastructure technologies.

Opportunities for Advanced Plastics and Polymer Composites

Shared vehicles, in particular, will require tamper-resistant polymer exclosures to help reduce physical damage to expensive vehicle electronics without impeding radio signals.

Collaborative Activities

Tamper-Resistant Components

Near (2020–2022)Mid (2023–2025)Long (2026–2030)
Compile and document best practices for the repair of plastic and polymer composite automotive components for sensors/vehicle to everything (V2X) devicesMid
Demonstrate easy-to-access (i.e., for repair, maintenance, disassembly) polymeric automotive components that are designed to prevent theft, vandalism, and damage to sensors/V2X devicesMid


Design Impacts

Electric vehicle center display Interface concept

Higher levels of vehicle autonomy and connectivity are encouraging the integration of electronic displays for more a personalized in-transit driving experience. Information and entertainment systems integrated on the vehicle’s outer surface could function as public displays or potentially change surface color.

Opportunities for Advanced Plastics and Polymer Composites

Protective plastic screens, coatings, and projection surfaces can provide scratch-, chemical-, and shatter-resistance for electronic displays on both the vehicle’s interior and exterior surfaces.

Collaborative Activities

Electronic Displays

Near (2020–2022)Mid (2023–2025)Long (2026–2030)
Increase collaboration among OEMs, suppliers, and universities to establish standards for scratch-, chemical-, UV-, and shatter-resistant electronic display materials for automotive interiors and exteriorsNear
Demonstrate benefits of commercial scratch- and abrasion-resistant coatings for glass and plastic surfacesNear
Establish gloss, reflectivity, transparency, and optical purity standards for safety and entertainment displaysMid
Increase collaborative efforts in legislative, regulatory, and voluntary consensus standard development to enable outer surface display technologies for automotive applicationsMid, Long

Software and Data Management

Design Impacts

Young man riding autonomous car.

Sensor-based safety systems will generate enormous volumes of data from detecting and classifying the vehicle’s surroundings. Advanced data storage and processing solutions are required to support safe and successful operation of self-driving vehicles.

Opportunities for Advanced Plastics and Polymer Composites

Solid-state plastic RAM devices have low power requirements and elevated thermal resistance necessary for maintaining higher data generation rates of ADAS.

Collaborative Activities

Data-Processing Devices

Near (2020–2022)Mid (2023–2025)Long (2026–2030)
Define application specifications and requirements for electronic materials and components of ADASNear
Conduct a demonstration project for solid-state RAM devices to enable high data generation rates ADASMid

Transportation Grid

Design Impacts

Highway junction in Bangna, the east of Bangkok from aerial view in the night. Taken in August 2016.

Sensors for autonomous vehicles and transportation infrastructure components must be free from electromagnetic interference (EMI) to facilitate consistent and reliable transmission of real-time information including traffic and congestion data.

Extreme weather conditions could affect the real-time performance of automotive sensors while causing accelerated degradation and aging of automotive materials.

Opportunities for Advanced Plastics and Polymer Composites

Advanced polymeric materials permit both light and imaging transparency and can hide multimodal sensor systems behind body panels, bumpers, and grilles.25

Plastic and polymer composite materials with tailorable shielding properties can help reduce electromagnetic interference for V2X technologies.

Plastics that resist weather, road salt, and UV exposure can prolong vehicle life and protect driver visibility and safety.

Collaborative Activities

EMI Protection

Near (2020–2022)Mid (2023–2025)Long (2026–2030)
Demonstrate effectiveness, tailorability, and durability of advanced plastics-based radio-opaque materials for conduits, cable jacketing, and other EMI shielding componentsNear
Characterize the shielding attenuation behavior of polymeric EMI shielding components to create and validate predictive modelsNear, Mid
Foster development of multifunctional materials for housing and protecting sensors from physical damage and signal interferenceNear, Mid
Develop models that can simulate EMI behavior of advanced plastics and polymer composites in "fully assembled" vehicle designsMid
Coordinate with automakers and autonomous component developers to establish materials-agnostic test methods and industry standards for EMI and electromagnetic shielding (e.g., wavelengths, acceptable interference)Mid, Long


Near (2020–2022)Mid (2023–2025)Long (2026–2030)
Develop accelerated aging tests for long-term weathering of automotive plastics and polymer composites to road chemical treatments and UV exposureNear, Mid