The technologies that fuel the future of mobilityPosted on 06/08/2018
An important driver, literally and figuratively speaking that is, of this future is technology. There is no way around it. Technological advancements, innovations and overall disruption of the current state have a major impact on the materialization of new mobilities.
In this blog post, we want to highlight 3 technologies that spark and fuel the future of mobility. Although there are many more, we believe these three had, have and will continue to have that pivotal influence.
To kick things off with a bombshell; the impact A.I. has on mobility and transportation is nothing less than extraordinary. The notion of self-driving vehicles today wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for artificial intelligence and the giant leaps forward in the last couple of years. Aside from the concept of autonomous cars, A.I. also makes driving safer, can contribute to reducing traffic jams and can make the overall mobility within urban environments a lot more efficient.
Only one week ago, Waymo announced it has the first real driverless car on the road in Phoenix. This is without a doubt an important milestone in the future development and commercialization of autonomous vehicles. It means that the available datasets and the overall algorithms are rich and mature enough to let loose without having to worry about unpredictable or undefined behaviour.
An important hurdle to overcome now that the technology is ready for mass deployment relates to ethics. The World Economic Forum already defined the Top 9 ethical issues to overcome in A.I. back in 2016, but it’s only today that these questions become something pragmatic and real. The current Human In The Loop (HITL) paradigm is bound to be the next challenge to tackle by A.I. From a technology point of view, this is only logic. However, from an ethical way of looking at things, this could mean full responsibilization of the machine. Which definitely doesn’t have to be a bad evolution, but it requires a new mental societal state for sure.
Internet of Things
Another major technology that is influencing the future of mobility gravitates around the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT). Vehicles equipped with smart connected systems (CVs) allow a new form of communication between the different actors that influence mobility, such as other vehicles, the infrastructure (roads and cities), the cloud and humans.
This continuously open communication flow enables significant data capture and exchange possibilities, which will allow stakeholders such as governments, industry players, and innovators to have a better understanding of the weaknesses in the system. Data-driven insights will enable new innovations and solutions to arise.
Data privacy and data security tie in very well within the context of the Internet of Things and Connected Vehicles. It will be essential to develop very lightweight but at the same very solid security frameworks that prevent malicious figures to access and influence the communication flow. This whitepaper by McKinsey clearly highlights the numerous challenges related to data security in the connected car model.
The fact that Tesla built a ‘giga factory’ with the sole purpose of producing a new generation of lithium-ion batteries already hints at the fact that new compact forms of energy play a crucial role in facilitating the future of mobility. In Elon Musk’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, Tesla basically needs the entire global production of lithium-ion batteries.
By producing on such a massive scale and focusing on innovating the technology, economies of scale will be attained, which will decrease the costs of new mobility for the general public. Needless to say that a decrease in costs and an increase in battery capacity (and thus range) will have positive effects on the adoption rate of innovative transportation models.
The above graph (research done by Bloomberg New Energy Finance) clearly shows that the cost of a battery as part of an electrical vehicle continues to decline. This is mainly thanks to a lasting focus on research and development by industry players such as Volvo and BMW. Both manufacturers have really taken the mandate to innovate in function of energy sustainability and unlocking the future of mobility to as many people as possible. A mindset and mentality that can only be acknowledged and supported.