Insights

Automated driving, the future is already here

In the previous delivery we shared interesting numbers and facts about mobility as a service. This sector is largely related with the mobility of people. But as we expressed previously, and it is no secret, mobility is also much more and is linked with the mobility and transportation of goods like food or cars, for example. Nowadays mobility is being shaped by different kinds and forms of technology that are generating root changes in the way we move in the cities we inhabit. On this delivery we will focus on Automated driving a new technology that would impact on shared mobility services, especially on car and ride sharing.

Whenever we refer to automated driving we have to make clear that this involves:

But what does really suppose automated driving? Of course the idea that may come often to our minds is the image of the vehicle driving itself, like some kind of science fiction picture. The thing is that we deal with diverse levels of automated driving and the progression to the final stage of complete self- drive will take other developments, changing the way we consume mobility.

Everything is connected: How does this impact on shared mobility services?

Shared mobility services are already revolutionizing the way we move and automated driving would transform them in a whole new way, specially car and ride sharing: these services will converge with the autonomous vehicle large scale entrance. The distinction between these modes will disappear along with human drivers. Car sharing would transform into a door-to-door service.

Free floating car sharing, for example, allows customers to pick up and return the vehicle anywhere within a certain area and demonstrates this model’s main advantage: flexibility. Particularly, this kind of services would be the most prepared one to adopt this new mobility proposal.

Why? The providers of shared mobility services would have to become autonomous vehicle fleet managers and, up to now, the companies that provide free floating car sharing services are the readiest to incorporate this operational system. Plus, there are hardly any mobility providers outside the Car sharing branch who actively operate larger vehicle fleets.

Automated driving is a possible future reality and shared mobility services are a way to make it comes true. There are already two companies that are dedicating to these developments proving where we can get:

  • SMART: This company developed the campaign “Car sharing of Tomorrow” and designed a prototype of the future Car2go car; Vision EQ Fortwo, an autonomous and electric vehicle for carsharing, able to pick you up on your location.

 

  • AMBER: a dutch startup that recently drawn international attention for the development of its own modular, autonomous, and customizable electric car designed specifically to be shared (expected to be the first in the world to implement self-driving cars for commercial use in 2018). Through their Car sharing service called Amber Mobility, Amber plans to offer both business and private users across Europe on-demand access to a car at all times and within walking distance, for just 33€ per week.

These two companies manifest that automated vehicles are a viable project. However, considering all the reasons why alternative mobility solutions are needed it is important to wonder about the

advantages that adopting automated vehicles could bring us: AVs would allow people without a driver’s licence and people who cannot drive for other reasons to travel by car without the need of a human driver. This would increase the amount of customers.

Also it would reduce city driving stress, the need for parking would disappear, and the relocation of cars would be automatic, again no need for human involvement. AV’s would boost efficiency: the combination lees number of vehicles needed and automatic detection of car incidences.

Apart from the social and environmental benefits, this technological development could certainly change the business scenario that we have known up to now, and transform the current investment opportunities.

Car sharing to play a decisive role in advancing electric mobility

As exposed, shared vehicles would be greatly influenced and upgraded by automated driving. Car-sharing would benefit the most from this new technology. But both innovations live together in some kind of symbiosis; it is an enriching bond.

While car sharing will improve its business model from automated driving and electric vehicles, at the very same time automated driving benefits from car sharing. Automated driving pushes further a new technology and it feeds itself from to the sociological information that car-sharing services are generating about customers or flow of traffic, allowing electric mobility develop infrastructure to become possible. With shared mobility services electric mobility can now be tested and we can learn more from it by applying it to car-sharing. This could definitely help technology advance faster.

Final Comments

Along with the new ways of consumption and clients wishes, the key to this new chapter about mobility is understanding the importance of the new technology at stake. The task ahead is shaping the most suitable business model for this new partaker.

Specifically about the possibility of full self-driving under all conditions there are some comments that need to be done about its future:

● Several studies concluded that Level 4-5 vehicles will become commercially available in the 2020s but that they will be initially limited performance and cost.

● Several companies are now implementing Level 4 pilot projects, which means that vehicles can drive themselves under certain conditions. For example, Waymo and Uber announced plans to begin testing driverless taxi services.

● Despite this progress, significant technical progress is needed before vehicles can drive themselves under all normal conditions. For example, current autonomous vehicles cannot operate reliably in heavy rain or snow, on unpaved roads, or in mixed traffic.

Beyond these projections and comments, autonomous vehicles are not likely to affect large scale mobility patterns until 2027. However, as a sector we should be ready and connected with mobility future possibilities and perspectives, generating the right environment and business ecosystem.

 

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