Connecting All Mobility Solutions in a Single IoT Hub

How future mobility service providers’ relationships could evolve, explored by Simmi Sinha.

The innovation in digital technologies are transforming vehicles and how we interact with them, they are also informing innovation in transport systems. New technologies, are being implanted in streets, parking, tolls, roads, bridges etc, making them readily available to communicate with each other and with the vehicles that use them. Together these innovations offer the prospect of less congestion, greater safety and predictive maintenance.

Future of autonomous mobility

“The autonomous future can be frightening at times, since it carries the potential of empty autonomous vehicles driving around and hunting for riders, creating congestion” thinks Amos Haggiag, CEO and co-founder, Optibus. “Even today, studies show that ride hailing doesn’t actually take cars off the road but, rather, creates additional congestion. The solution lies with mass transit, which can move many passengers at once and is more applicable for major routes but the solution isn’t mass transit alone: it’s fairly clear that the future of transportation will be multi-modal, maybe bike-sharing for one leg of the trip, a bus and then a shared ride.”

On a similar note, Eran Shir, CEO and co-founder, Nexar thinks that: “As multi-modal transportation becomes a reality and everything from scooters, to autonomous cars, to electric shuttles share the same roads, the ability for all types of vehicles to communicate is more critical than ever to ensure the safety of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Even though we are focused on efficiency when making monumental technological transitions, it should never come at the expense of safety. Driver networks will ensure that safety comes first, with collision prevention and reducing road fatalities a top priority, while simultaneously establishing roads and infrastructure that provide consumers with all the options necessary to secure efficient mobility.”

Shekhar Shastri, global head, connected car services, Advanced Technology Consulting notes: “The automotive Industry today is on the cusp of catapulting into a high-speed transformation trajectory. This transformation will be powered by convergence of several emerging business and technological themes, within the industry and without, and will be driven by innovation at the confluence of these. While the industry today is abuzz with “EV” and “Autonomous Driving”, evolutions in few other areas as disparate as connectivity, Big Data, block chains and crypto currencies, if brought together, have the wherewithal to transform the conventional process of buying, owning and using a vehicle.”

Sustainable ecosystem

As multiple modes of transportation connect to one another to make moving from A-to-B smarter, the ecosystem relationships between the operators, tech companies and automakers will evolve. Liad Itzhak, vice-president of HERE Mobility sees challenges with the growing population and urbanization. “The real problem is not traffic, this is just the symptom,” said Itzhak. “The true challenge is moving people from point A-to-B. Three essential elements are needed to build a healthy mobility eco system. The first is versatility – building an open and competitive market that allows all mobility providers to be part of the game, that is not dominated by the current monopolies, is the first necessary step towards a healthy market. Second is visibility – how people are moving around, which is currently missing because the market is fragmented and there is no standard way to connect to all the different service providers to get the full picture. The third element is optimization – understanding human behavior based on real-time data and mobility trends. We have a window of opportunity to shift the market to a much better place, to find ways to make mobility much more efficient and for cities to become smart cities.” Dr. Tom Kirschbaum, co-CEO and founder, door2door thinks: “Currently, cities are overrun with private mobility solutions that too often create more issues than they solve (i.e. many private citizens becoming unregulated drivers and creating traffic). Cities must be able to own their mobility platforms in order to create a regulated, efficient network that ensures smooth integration with existing infrastructure, accessibility for all riders regardless of market incentive and a level of convenience akin to a private ride. The dividends of such an endeavor include boosting utilization of the public network without sacrificing convenience, dramatically increasing energy efficiency while decreasing pollution.” Shastri notes: “Today a car is in the process of transforming into a mobile device through connectivity with the vehicle owner, the owner’s personal digital environment and external infrastructural environment. The coming together of all these elements has potential to enable a well-connected transportation ecosystem.”

Perceiving the rise of inherent connectivity in devices, smartphones and cars, Shir feels: “Artificial intelligence will play a major role in creating driving networks, which will ensure that all modes of transportation are aligned. Recruiting drivers to join connected vehicle networks will reduce potential chaos by providing real-time insights to city planners and drivers so that adjustments can be made accordingly to facilitate smooth and efficient travel throughout a given region. At the same time, data sources are going to become the most valuable assets for smart cities; for mobility, this will include traffic lights, driver footage, and app-based GPS location.”

Changing mobility with innovative business models

“By partnering with companies that can provide advanced technologies that are owned by cities and not tied to one automotive distributor, cities can break mobility monopolies. Public-private partnerships that empower cities as the main actor are the most cost-effective and impactful solution and harness existing infrastructure rather than impeding it,” explains Kirschbaum.

Haggiag thinks that public/private partnerships will play a crucial role in this aspect. “The regulator has always played a role in mass transit. It will change – instead of regulating buses or taxis alone, regulation will look at the bigger picture, ‘playing’ with multi-modal transportation. Remote and sparsely populated areas which once were served by buses can be served by rideshare companies, while transportation in dense urban areas can be improved by demand-responsive buses with partially flexible routes. This is where technologies, cities and car manufacturers will interconnect since the underlying technology of managing all these transportation options at scale is what delineates the services of the future. Since these services should be more efficient and cost effective compared to today’s services (with multiple optimization algorithms in the background) public funding will play a smaller role.”

As per Shastri: “All the components of this ecosystem including, cars, roads, traffic regulation systems, parking lots, dealerships, repair shops, leasing companies, finance providers, insurance providers, connectivity service providers, web portals, in vehicle and mobile apps, social media and a whole host of similar nodes will generate loads of data which when interlinked and used efficiently will bring in significant predictability and order within the whole ecosystem. When we add “shared mobility” running on block chains and commercial platforms running on crypto currencies can transform the usual ways of working and business models of automotive.”

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