These five technology trends will define industry in the coming decade

If there is an accident involving a driverless car, who is really to blame? And how is data protection to be handled when your body is being monitored 24 hours a day? DNV looks 10 years into the future.

In its Technology Outlook 2030 report, DNV looks 10 years into the future and finds out which trends and changes will affect tomorrow's society and industry. Kristen Ulveseter, programme director with DNV Group Technology and Research, explains how the company looks at three different kinds of technology in the report:

"We've divided it into adaptation technology, transformative technology and technology that helps to safeguard our biosphere. In addition, we've looked at the link between society and the technology that surrounds us every day," he says.

Five important technology trends that will change society around us

In the report, DNV presents 10 important trends that will influence industry in 2030. Below, we take a closer look at five of these.

Intro to the Technology Outlook 2030

1. Digital supply chain

The decade leading up to 2030 will be remembered as a turning point in history when it comes to transport and logistics. Autonomous vehicles will be introduced in several parts of the transport sector, and supply chains will be automated. But it is not only new transport technologies that will be introduced – the entire sector is changing. We will change our consumption pattern from personal ownership and operation to a cleaner, safer, more efficient and cheaper reality in which we only pay for what we use. The first Hyperloop trains may be in operation towards the end of the decade. 

Read more about what transport and logistics will be like in the future here.

2. More re-use

In the future, materials must be able to be re-used, recycled and form part of an extensive circular economy. 3D printing and self or nano joining will play a greater role in optimizing designs and component properties.

Future materials must be fabrication-friendly while remaining cost-effective and meeting sustainability and safety requirements.

"Material science will play an important role in the development of many new technologies: examples include mobile electronics, molecular and quantum calculations, the use of alternative energy sources, biotechnology, robotics and automation. This will require greater precision regarding material properties and there will be an increasing link between material modelling and simulations in order to optimize designs. We will probably be able to ask what material property we need in 2030, instead of what is available. Stronger and ductile materials will pave the way for light transport structures, and new functionalities may enable radical design solutions," says Agnes Marie Horn, one of DNV's chief engineers.

Read more about precision materials here.

3. Tailor-made medicine

We will see great leaps forward in the health sector in the next decade. Big data and advanced analyses will be able to ensure that diagnosing and medicating patients will be on a far more detailed and adapted level. Accurate diagnoses and precision medication mean that treatment can be tailor-made to involve the right type and dosage of medicine to ensure the best effect.

"Precision medication is incredibly exciting. Being able to state the risk of relevant illnesses at an early stage and treat them effectively if necessary, will save huge amounts of money and people's health will generally improve. One challenge will be whether we can manage to protect personal data when more and more health data is shared, something that is necessary for making the right clinical decisions," says Horn.

Read more about the pharmaceutical industry of the future here.

4. Specially adapted food

Today, food production and consumption are one of the biggest threats facing the climate, the environment and the health of the world's population. We are also experiencing a kind of triple burden of undernourishment: around one billion people eat too few calories, at least three billion people suffer from malnutrition, while more than 2.5 billion people eat too much.

Over the next decade, we will see a big increase in local food production, and there will be a much greater focus on sustainable agriculture. Precision agriculture, where soil treatment is adapted to the plant's unique needs, will become increasingly common. We actually expect the market for precision agriculture to grow from USD 4.84 billion in 2018 to USD 2.3 trillion in 2030.

We will also see protein-rich plants replace a lot of the world's meat production. Some analyses indicate that as much as 30 per cent of all the "meat" in 2030 will not come from the animal kingdom.

Read more about food production in the future here.

5. The new space race

While the original space race between the USA and Soviet Union ended on 17 July 1975, we are now seeing signs of a new space race starting. Driven by risk capital and new technology, private companies will offer commercialized space travel, new satellite systems for communications and observing the earth, navigation systems and space tourism. At the same time, the public players will once again start to focus on space.

In 2016, Norway's SINTEF, in collaboration with the European Space Agency, launched Snake Robots for Space Applications. This project will send snake-shaped robots out into space with the aim of exploring hard-to-reach areas.

Read more about Norwegian snake robots in space here.

Complete report

Read more about these subjects and the other technology trends in the complete report. You can also find out more about what the ideal technological future looks like, what pitfalls we have to watch out for and why the world is currently not on the path to an ideal 2030. In addition, you can read about what our towns will be like in 10 years' time, be exposed to five trilemmas, and find more information on how the various industries will be affected by new technology. 

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