Digital twins will move to the mainstream: Digital twins, or the concept of complete replicate simulation, are the nirvana for design engineers.

  • In 2020, we will see digital twins mature and move to the mainstream as a result of their ability to accelerate innovation. To fully realize the technology’s benefits, companies will look for advanced design and test solutions that can seamlessly validate and optimize their virtual models and real-world siblings to ensure that they behave identically.  

2020 will not be the year of the autonomous vehicle. Active cruise control, yes.  Full autonomy, we have a couple years to go. The quantity and sophistication of sensors deployed in vehicles will increase in 2020, but fully autonomous vehicles will require more ubiquitous 5G connectivity and better artificial intelligence. Here is where we see the industry on each of those areas:

  • The ratio of fleets sales with EV or HEV powertrain will grow from single-digit percentage ratio to double-digits in 2020, tripling the shipped units compared to last year.
  • The first C-V2X network will hit the streets in China, but they will be operating on an LTE-V network until 5G Release 16 evolves the standard.
  • The technical advances for sensors and in-car networks will continue to evolve on a fast pace, needing faster in-vehicle networks. In 2020, Gigabit Ethernet based in-car networks will become a reality and significantly improved sensor technology will enable AI developers to hit new performance levels.

System-level design, test and monitoring will experience a dramatic transformation:  The connected world will force a shift in how performance, reliability, and integrity are evaluated.

  • In 2020, realizing the full potential of sensor systems connected to communication systems connected to mechanical systems will require new ways of testing at the system level.
  • Today, there are available tests for radar antennas and a radar transceiver module.  However, testing a multi-antenna radar system integrated into a car will require a different testing approach. The same is true for data centers, mission critical IoT networks, automobiles, and a wide range of new, complex, 5G-enabled applications.
  • In 2020, the electronics industry will emphasize system-level testing as the definitive, final step to assure end-to-end performance, integrity and reliability across the increasingly connected world.

Education will shift to prepare the next generation of engineers. Universities will adopt holistic, integrated, and multi-disciplinary curricula for engineering education.

  • Academia will tap into industry partnerships to keep up with the accelerating pace of technology and incorporate certification programs, industry-grade instrumentation and automation systems into teaching labs to train students on current, real-world applications.
  • To address IoT, universities will combine methodology from basic electronics, networking, design engineering, cybersecurity, and embedded systems, while increasing emphasis on the impact of technology on society and the environment.
  • To address artificial intelligence, automation and robotics, universities will mainstream currently niche topics such as cognitive science and mechatronics into required learning.