Deep innovation and interesting crossovers
Predictions for the Year in Smart Mobility
One prediction about 2018 seems beyond doubt: it will be an exciting year for Smart Mobility. But how, exactly? We asked two mobility experts to shine their light on what the new year will bring.
“Not just this year, but the next five to ten years will be very exciting, as Automotive and Mobility space have entered a phase of deep innovation and transformation”, says Antoine Aubry (Head of Marketing at ARC Europe Group). “Expect interesting crossovers to industries such as real estate”, adds Kenan Aksular (Founder of Clearwater Innovations)
Smart Mobility is the catch-all term for shared mobility, connectivity, self-drive technology, multimodal mobility, alternative powertrains, and more. Which of those aspects will make the greatest progress in 2018?
Antoine Aubry: “Shared mobility and multimodal mobility in general have already achieved significant maturity and adoption. Significant deployments and strong usage growth will continue across the globe”.
“Self-driving technology on the other hand will break new records: both in mileage achieved in the most difficult situations (bad weather, traffic, light, etc.) and as to advances in cost, performance and miniaturisation of sensors and super-capacity processors.”
“Connectivity will continue to be deployed through both after-market devices and line-fitted equipment. The latest solutions will be based mainly on 4G, but OEMs, and cloud and telecom operators are getting ready for 5G connectivity, and a fully-connected in-car experience.”
“On powertrains, I don’t doubt that EV sales will break new records in 2018. We will see a significant wave of new models being announced by manufacturers, in a wide range of categories: from small urban cars to premium long-range vehicles – without forgetting power-charging deployments, like the one announced by Ionity at the end of 2017.”
Kenan Aksular: “In alternative powertrains, the trend this year will be for better, and for more. More OEMs will be offering them. More EV models will be coming onto the market. And they will become increasingly affordable to the consumer”.
“Both shared mobility and multimodal transport will take flight in 2018. Shared mobility will grow largely thanks to car-sharing, which will have both a corporate and a private push factor. On the private market, I foresee strong growth for peer-to-peer car-sharing networks, such as Snappcar. On the corporate side, OEMs have developed propositions like car2go and DriveNow, which have launched in major cities and will now start looking to enter smaller urban markets, of 500,000 inhabitants or less. Interesting developments include a Snappcar business model, where OEMs offer private lease rates that are lower if users share their car at least four times a month; and Amber Mobility, offering subscription-based mobility to corporates”.
“Innovation in connectivity will be on-going, without being very disruptive. Self-drive technology will continue to develop at great pace. There will be a growing number of pilot schemes launched, with governments closely involved. This is very exciting – perhaps not for the immediate future; but of all the aspects of Smart Mobility, self-drive will have the greatest impact on the long run”.
In the coming year, which companies will take the lead in developing Smart Mobility?
Kenan Aksular: “OEMs will increase their involvement in car-sharing and self-drive projects and companies. But it’s not just about companies; the governments will have a crucial role. Take for instance the Dutch government, which is launching a pilot for MaaS in 7 regions across the country, including the Zuidas, the business district here in Amsterdam. Government involvement is extremely helpful in order to convince private-sector partners to collaborate and share data – which is the way forward to developing the seamless, multimodal mobility experience that will benefit the end users”.
“In general, I predict a great year for companies that are able to translate the wide variety of technological possibilities into truly user-centred, relevant products and services. These providers will offer a range of options to those companies that have a forward-looking mobility policy. Amber Mobility, mentioned earlier, is a good example of this”.
“Another company to look out for is Whim, the MaaS solution from Finland, which is going to come to a number of European cities. Those cities, by the way, will become increasingly involved in directing the data streams of the so-called ‘passenger economy’ – if not, they will leave the field open to Google, Amazon and other internet giants”.
“Another interesting development are crossovers with other sectors, such as real estate, in which I have been involved, via BMW: instead of planning 80 parking spaces for an 80-apartment complex, why not provide car-sharing, and reduce the need for underground parking to one subterranean level, instead of two?”
Antoine Aubry: “We can anticipate three types of companies breaking strides. Firstly, R&D centres, start-ups as well as leading internet giants will continue to announce new achievements in building up new technologies, solutions and platforms.”
“At the same time, we’ll continue to get news on records being broken, and on established players acquiring or investing in start-ups. And lastly, we’ll hear about partnerships between the large scope of major players in the automotive, transport, internet, telecom, electronics and software industries, who have all launched big investment plans, running into millions of euros.”
“So, while Tesla, Google/Waymo, Amazon, Nvidia and other media-friendly disruptors will continue their momentum, but let’s not forget about the newcomers that will continue to appear, and the traditional automotive and transport players that will bridge the gap, integrating innovation and transforming it into mass production.”
In your opinion, which areas of Smart Mobility will show less progress than others this year?
Antoine Aubry: “Full integrated multimodality, also known as Mobility as a Service (MaaS), could progress less quickly than everyone hopes, because MaaS solutions require – apart from the technology itself – the close cooperation of public and private operators. They need to elaborate a common business case, mixing public and commercial services. Public authorities have to establish appropriate regulations and infrastructure to enable sustainable and scalable models. That also requires coordination between city, national, regional and even global bodies for standardisation and regulation. All of which can be very complex and challenging.”
Kenan Aksular: “As mentioned, self-driving technology will not have a breakthrough this year – despite huge developments in the technology itself. And despite the fact that autonomous driving, when it arrives, will have a huge impact on how we move about, and even on what our cities look like”.
“If there are about 8 million vehicles in the Netherlands today, there might be as little as 4 million by 2040, 70% of which could be EVs and 40% self-driving. Perhaps those self-driving EVs will drive themselves each night to farms where they can re-charge at the local windmill, and the next morning head into town again, where they will be needed. It will be exciting to see how lease companies choose to position themselves in order to deal with this massive change”.
In summary – how will Smart Mobility change in 2018?
Antoine Aubry: “Mostly, as both customer usage and expectations are still rapidly evolving, we’re still in the acceleration phase. Which means that the building blocks of new products and services are still being deployed. And organisations still have to build up, and/or adapt, to serve this ‘rebooting’ market. You could compare our present time to the early 1900s, when the combustion-engine revolution was sweeping the world.”
Kenan Aksular: “The integration between various partners will continue, aiming to develop MaaS products and services that will benefit the end user. Those partners will include the traditional OEMs and lease companies, but also an increasing array of startups, governments from local to supranational level, with interesting crossovers to other industries such as real estate”.