Frost & Sullivan’s summing up of presentations of speakers at it’s annual intelligent mobility event, was that technological innovation is transforming mobility, turning it into an ‘Asset light, Technology heavy industry'.
New business models and trends in mobility, corporate mobility, integrated transport solutions as well as for connected and autonomous vehicles were presented and discussed by over 330 executives during Frost & Sullivan’s “Intelligent Mobility” event at Kensington Gardens Hotel on 2 July.
Tempting as it may be to suggest harmonius consensus, regardless of a trend towards service models, industry incumbents and purveyors of new business models are, however, all fighting for position in the ‘value chain’.
Or, as Dr George Gillespie of MIRA put it in connection with moves from the likes of Apple and Google to provide the interface for cars, “do you really want to be in the white goods business or do you want to capitalise the value of the person trapped in the vehicle.”
Connected and Autonomous cars: “Bed to bed mobility”
Autonomous car technology is advancing rapidly but several speakers pointed to programming and business models as the next big challenges.
Regarding business models Frost & Sullivan’s Sarwant Singh pointed to societal trends, to the elderly driving demographic. According to David Moss expected to rise from 11.7% of drivers in 2013 to 21.1% by 2050. Sarwant particualry enjoyed the cozy soundbite “bed to bed mobility” as a selling point, over “door to door mobility”.
Another business model bound for distruption is car insurance as currently 93% of current accidents are considered to be due to the driver. 1.2 million people are killed per year and 10 million serious injured - plus the cost in financial terms just in Europe is 1% of entire combined European GDP.
With increasing autonomy of cars, the liability is most likely to shift to manufacturers and Frost & Sullivan predict the motor insurance market in Europe will, as a result, decline by 3.88% a year over the next 35 years. The question insurers. such as Swiss Re., are trying to find an answer to is, who will be to blame in the event of an accident.
David Moss of Nissan said that already 50% of his company’s vehicles have some tech under its 'Safety Shield' concept, including emergency braking, and lane departure preview.
He sees artificial intelligence as a necessary requirement and more accurate locators to tell the car were the road is. Artificial Intelligence will require sensing, leading to cognition, leading to decision making - all operating at a speed 100 times faster than humans.
The Human Machine Interface needs working on but he suggested by 2020 autonomous vehicles may be, at least, allowed to operate in driverless mode on a single lane of highways.
While not wanting to throw a spanner in the works, Toyota’s Mark Adams propsed a 'reality check' as he sees huge barriers in the way before driverless cars can become commonplace.
He asked “are we really ready to give up being the driver? Would you put your child in one to go to school?”
Work is to be done to prepare society for this change, as public acceptance will be crucial in his view. Regulation and politics could be as significant factors in helping bring about driverless car as advances in technology.
Richard Wallace, Director, Transportation Systems Analysis, Center for Automotive Research stuck his neck with his stock answer for when people ask when driverless cars will be operating on roads, “definitely likely to happen at some time between the next 16 months and the next 100 years”.
The reason for uncertainty is that the breakthrough may need to come not from the hardware which is close to ready but with the addition of esoteric programming solutions such as neural networks, deep machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
New business models in ownership
Frost & Sullivan suggested that the customers’ view of transport is shifting away from ownership to mobility.
Shai Agassi (left - Founder & CEO of Newergy - and formerly of Better Place) asserted “autonomous cars are inevitable”. In terms of mobility, in New York his expereince is that people are psychologically ring-fencing the pot of money they would normally spend on car ownership and applying this pot to individual journeys. The annual cost of car ownership in New York equates to around $9,000 but New Yorkers are now seeing that amount of money as 1,000 coupons to put toward Uber trips. So using Uber twice a day to commute presents a cost advantage in favour of mobility over ownership.
Rather than cannibalising the taxi market, at least in New York, Shai Agassi sees Uber as cannibalising the second car market.
Frost & Sullivan sees convergence in the mobility landscape - or it could be that car manufacturers such as Daimler are entering the car sharing market as a hedge, against this trend becomeing maintream.
An interesting Intelligent Mobility related development promised by Christophe Arnaud, of Bluepoint London, is that he is planning the London incarnation of the Paris Autolib 100% zero emission car sharing service, due to start operating this year, as next next offering to accept payment for his electric car share service using the London Oystercard.
Last September, Bluepoint London, a subsidiary of the French Bolloré group, took over the infrastructure network, known as Source London, and will look to run a fleet of the same 30 kW Bolloré electric vehicles but painted in red livery rather than the more chic Parisian grey.
Its Paris operation runs 3,300 100% emission free vehicles with 200,000 regular users, surveys of whom suggest has caused 31,000 fewer cars on the roads, with 6% selling their car and 11% not replacing their as a result of their membership.
See more at: http://ww2.frost.com/event/calendar/intelligent-mobility-2015/?eID=477#sthash.q6bXzEVt.dpuf
Gallery of presenters