The Mobility Revolution: Where Are We Headed?

We have watched the unbelievable become believable before. Merely a few years ago, it was difficult to predict the evolution of content consumption — now dominated by streaming video and character limitations. Similarly, not many imagined the extent to which private home rental apps would replace hotels. These innovations, now part of our routines, are happening thanks to technology, and we’re about to see it again. Next up? The Mobility Revolution.

Much of the transportation system still functions as it did a century ago. We rely excessively on personal vehicles and the resulting urbanization has created cities with stifling congestion and very few patches of green. The system we have created is unsustainable and we need to make a change.

A fundamental shift is taking place in the transportation industry, moving the focus from personally owned cars and private transport toward a mobility ecosystem concentrated around five trends. The full scope and disruption of the mobility revolution will be visible in just a few short years; however, the change is already discernible in the developments of these trends.

Autonomous Driving

The behavior of major automotive players indicates that the push toward autonomous vehicles is a priority. Note the acquisition of Cruise Automotive, an AD & ADAS startup, by GM for more than $1 billion or the partnership between Keolis & Navya and the city of Las Vegas to launch the first driverless vehicle to be used in public transportation in the U.S. The auto industry is moving fast and autonomous driving will become part of our lives.

Battery & Powertrain Technologies

The most advanced component of the movement to date is battery and powertrain technology, which offers significant benefits including healthier air quality, reduced commuting costs and increasingly reliable vehicles. Implementation is slower in some places than others due to the higher vehicle costs and poor charging infrastructures, but the benefits are not disputed and the technology is widely adopted. We only expect this to increase.

Connected Networks

Imagine a ride to the hospital in an ambulance after an emergency where every traffic light en route turns green as soon as the ambulance approaches. Soon, this will be a reality thanks to the growing connectivity between networks. With cellular communication, vehicles will communicate with both infrastructure (V2I), like traffic lights, and other vehicles (V2V) to allow for increased security, better performance and cost reduction all to the benefit of drivers and pedestrians.

Shared Mobility

We share nearly everything today — our music, our photos and our opinions. Mobility will not be the exception. The millennial generation has given unprecedented momentum to the sharing lifestyle and it will be key to more efficient and less expensive transportation. For example, the pay-as-you-go culture has more benefits than private ownership. Ultimately, the boundaries between public transit and shared alternatives disappear to allow for an entirely new on-demand system for mobility services.

New Business Models

That every car spends an average of 94% of its time parked tells us that we do not need to produce more vehicles; we simply need more access to existing modes of transportation. Thanks to the introduction of smartphone mobility applications, new business models will be able to facilitate just that. With a truly personalized journey for each user, incorporating multiple modes of transportation on-demand, everyday travel will become seamless and even enjoyable.

The mobility revolution is on its way. The early adopters, both individuals and companies, will pioneer one of the biggest changes since the development of engine fuel. These changes will transform the way we move, and will play a critical role in making our cities safer, cleaner and more habitable for us and future generations.

Originally published at meep.me on January 12, 2018.

Guillermo Campoamor. CEO & Co-Founder at Meep