The CASE for Intuitive Mobility

Daimler predicts that connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE) ‘intuitive mobility’ will succeed in turning the automotive industry upside down.

It thinks a true revolution is afoot, combining each component into one comprehensive, seamless mobility package. The company adds on its website: “For many years, Daimler has been investing in mobility, which goes beyond the actual vehicle. In the future, we will continue to expand this commitment. Therefore, we look forward to innovative companies and start-ups willing to work with us.” So, there will be a brief discussion about the role that start-ups can play in offering automakers innovative solutions.

In a press release Sajjad Khan, member of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz CASE comments: “With our products and services, we play a key role in shaping the mobility of tomorrow – and we are always aware of our responsibility for sustainability. We are convinced that the future is connected, electric, shared and autonomous. Our vehicles and mobility solutions show the course we already have set for tomorrow and you can be sure, there is a lot more to come.”


Siddartha Khastgir, head of verification and validation, intelligent vehicles at WMG, University of Warwick says intuitive mobility is about putting the user at the center of the mobility system. It’s the important to design solutions with the user in mind, right from the start. He argues intuitive mobility can only succeed if it responds to two key factors: desirability and safety.

He explains: “For society to reap the many benefits of new technologies like autonomy, electric propulsion and connectivity, it is essential to ensure the technology can be reliably accepted and adopted. The key to desirability is building trust, while ensuring that that the technologies are safe and used in a safe manner. At WMG, University of Warwick, we created the concept of informed safety which enables the development of appropriate trust and also ensures safe use of technologies. Informed safety means that the users are aware of the true capabilities and limitations of the system. While no system, or technology, will ever be 100% safe, one can still reap the benefits of the new technology if we use it appropriately and within the designed operating boundaries.”

Identify operating boundaries

To achieve this there is a prerequisite to identify the operating boundaries, and then it becomes a necessity to convey them to the user in an intuitive manner. To him, this remains a key challenge for engineers. “Thus, the concept of intuitive mobility needs to take a systems thinking approach while combining design concepts, safety and new technology development,” says Khastgir.

However, to Mercedes-Benz it’s also about sustainable mobility – about the environment. The company’s Mercedes EQ release comments: “The outlook is clear for Mercedes-EQ: we understand the limits for our planet, and to ensure innovation. This is why Mercedes-Benz AG has had its climate protection objectives scientifically verified by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI). This means that the company is in line with the requirements of the Paris World Climate Accord. Achieving these objectives requires sustainable products.”

“The CASE Intuitive Mobility concept will change the way public use and interact with mobility solutions,” argues Khastgir who thinks there is potential for change in the vehicle ownership model. Instead of owning a car, for example, users will be able to purchase journeys rather than buying a vehicle for their sole use. He nevertheless adds: “However, that is a utopian dream and not something that will happen in the near term.”

Proliferation of CASE

“In the next few years, we should see a gradual proliferation of each of the CASE technologies, and the introduction of new services and business models”, says Khastgir who adds: “For example, over the last nine months, e-scooters have gained traction in the UK with various trials being conducted.”

He says there are various ‘gigafactories’ being established in the UK and in Germany to meet the increasing demand for electric vehicle batteries. This is because he finds that the uptake of electric vehicles has increased substantially over the last few years. Yet, he underlines that there is some way to go in terms of autonomous, automated technologies.

He therefore comments: “The key to the success of CASE technologies is going to be conducting safe public trials of these technologies to not only introduce them to society but also to understand user interaction with the technology in a real-world setting. Incorporating learnings from such trials is essential for the uptake of these technologies when offered as commercial products.”

Immense challenge

To enable the revolution, start-ups can play a role in helping carmakers to discover innovative solutions. Khastgir warns that the challenge of realizing CASE intuitive mobility is immense. It can’t rely on just one organization alone to find all of the solutions and to answer all of the questions surrounding it. “Based on this, the principle of collaboration is essential if we are to collectively realize the vision. It is no longer an option, it has now become a necessity. In this mobility ecosystem, start-ups play a key role in understanding ever-changing user needs, creating disruptive solutions and, owing to their nimbleness, are even able to adapt their solutions faster than the larger corporate organizations.”

So, the next generation of mobility solutions will see disruption and innovation going hand-in-hand. Khastgir believes that automakers “will need to continue to partner with start-ups to bring in the disruptive mind-set and jointly develop innovative solutions”. Through collaboration, they can bring together the best of both worlds. For example, he reveals that car manufacturers have “acquired various autonomous driving technology start-ups to boost their stable and get themselves a head start”.

Beyond the actual vehicle

Gradually the mobility ecosystem will move beyond the actual vehicle and, as this happens, the software content will continue to increase exponentially. “This is an area where many start-ups are flourishing,” he says. To develop intuitive, sustainable mobility, there is a need to be realistic based on the current state of various CASE technologies.

Khastgir explains: “While the ultimate ambition for CASE will remain a connected autonomous shared and electric mobility service, we are just not there currently. More near-term targets will include electric vehicles with connected applications improving battery range of the vehicles.”

Nevertheless, he predicts that over the next five years there will be some autonomous or automated features deployed in limited operating conditions, which is also known as an operational design domain (ODD). There may also increasingly be applications and services such as autonomous valet parking and autonomous last-mile delivery. They are on the industry’s near-term horizon.

Regarding a post-pandemic era, he thinks the nature of the ‘new normal’ is still unclear. What is apparent is that there will be more people working from home. Yet, there will still be many averse to car-sharing, further disrupting the shared and services segment. Khastgir therefore concludes by calling for the introduction of new business models and further disruption in the mobility ecosystem.

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