In June’s TaaS magazine the drive towards connected vehicles and services is more urgent than ever before. As Graham Gordon from LexisNexis Risk Solutions highlights in his article:
“There are already an estimated 20 million cars in the US with connectivity capability, 11 million between UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain and this volume is set to grow with 100% of new cars expected to have connectivity by 2025[i]. The growth in connected car data is on a steep trajectory.”
This data needs to be accurate, so testing in a virtual environment saves both time and cost as discussed in Claytex's article 'The importance of accurate sensor models for the Virtual testing of Autonomous Vehicle'.
Mobility-as-a-service is gaining more popularity as the way forward but as Boyd Cohen & Phil Williams from Iomob discusses, there are thousands of mobility providers, but they don’t connect together well, if at all. Maybe we need to look at On-Demand Mobility Service Design as Raphael Gindrat from Bestmile discusses. But with all of this there are risks, so who is going to take this risk? But then is 'MaaS, a river or a cheese?' one of the stranger questions to be asked, but asked by Markus Aarflot is a Business Developer at UbiGo.
From what I see connections and shared ideas always seem to push things forward. With the TaaS Technology Conference now less than two weeks away, this is the ideal place to get connected, meet other industry experts and highlight your solutions. We have a packed speaker and sponsor line up, and we look forward to welcoming you all there 9-10th July in Birmingham.
Lightyear has introduced its first long-range solar car. The prototype was presented to investors, customers, partners and press at dawn in Katwijk, the Netherlands.
“This moment represents a new era of driving,” said Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and Co-Founder of Lightyear. “Climate change is such a frightening development that it's almost paralysing. We decided to do the opposite; as engineers, we believed we could do something. Lightyear One represents an opportunity to change mobility for the better.”
“Since new technology has a high unit cost, we have to start in an exclusive market. The next models we plan to develop will have a significantly lower purchase price. In addition, future models will be provided to autonomous and shared car fleets, so the purchase price can be divided amongst a large group of users. Combined with the low operating costs of the vehicle, we aim to provide premium mobility for a low price per kilometre,” Hoefsloot added.
Lightyear One will get to a range of 725 km on the WLTP cycle. The company also guarantees at least 400km in winter, at highway speeds and with heating on. Mostly, range will be between 500 and 800 kilometres.
The efficiency of Lightyear One means that it's possible to get more charging performance from any charging outlet in less time. Through fast charging, one can charge up to 570km worth of energy within an hour and with a simple 230V outlet, it's even possible to charge up to 350km worth of energy overnight.
Lightyear One is propelled by four independently driven wheels. In addition to lowering the weight and improving control, it means that no energy is lost in transit from the motor to the wheel. Lightyear One offers drivers unique control.
The car also has a remarkably low aerodynamic drag, with the best aerodynamic coefficient of any car on the market. This increases the range of the car by decreasing energy consumption.
The roof and hood of Lightyear One comprise of five square metres of integrated solar cells within safety glass so strong that a fully grown adult can walk on them without causing dents. Unlike conventional solar panels, these cells function independently. This means that even if part of the roof or hood is in shadow, the other cells continue to efficiently collect solar energy. In fact, the solar cells provide about 20% more energy than traditional ones.
The solar roof and hood charge up to 12 km/h in the sun. Climate and driving frequency will determine the percentage of mileage this can give. Someone driving the national average of 20,000 km/year in the cloudy Netherlands would get about 40% of their mileage from solar energy. Lightyear One has a solution to accidentally running out of battery. One can drive 15-20km/h on what the solar roof and hood absorb from daylight, getting the vehicle to an outlet with no roadside assistance required. The solar roof and hood are designed to withstand high temperatures when charging, with no loss of efficiency.
BlackBerry Limited announced that its QNX software is now embedded in more than 150 million cars on the road today. This is an increase of 30 million cars since the company reported its automotive footprint in 2018.
BlackBerry, a leader in automotive cybersecurity, has the highest level of automotive certification for functional safety with ISO 26262 ASIL D and decades of experience in powering mission-critical embedded systems in automotive and other industries. Automotive OEMs and Tier 1s use BlackBerry QNX technology in their advanced driver assistance systems, digital instrument clusters, connectivity modules, handsfree systems, and infotainment systems that appear in car brands, including Audi, BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, KIA, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Toyota, and Volkswagen.“
As this milestone proves, BlackBerry's footprint in the automotive industry has never been stronger,” said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry. “The world's leading automakers, Tier 1s, and chip manufacturers continue to seek out BlackBerry's safety-certified and highly-secure software for their next-generation vehicles. Together with our customers we will help to ensure that the future of mobility is safe, secure and built on trust.”
BlackBerry engaged with research and industry analyst firm, Strategy Analytics to verify the volume of QNX deployments based on the number of QNX products that are shipped in the automotive market and the number of cars that contain QNX products and technology. The vast majority of QNX software products that are integrated and used in automotive ECUs are licensed on a per-unit royalty basis. BlackBerry QNX technology includes QNX Neutrino OS, QNX Platform for ADAS, QNX OS for Safety, QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment, QNX Platform for Digital Cockpits, QNX Hypervisor 2.0 and QNX acoustics middleware.
Fairfax County and Dominion Energy are partnering on an autonomous electric shuttle pilot tentatively planned for the Merrifield area in Fairfax County.
The demonstration project moved a step closer to implementation with the award of a grant from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) for the execution of the pilot.
The Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board approved the $250,000 grant for Fairfax County, making this pilot the first state-funded autonomous public transportation demonstration project in Virginia. The pilot would also be one of the first tests of driverless technology in public transportation in Virginia. Fairfax County will provide a $50,000 local match to the DRPT grant.
The goal of the pilot is for Fairfax County and Dominion Energy to learn about the various aspects of deploying autonomous vehicles as part of a large public transportation system. Fairfax County aims to be at the forefront of innovation by testing this smart technology for economic and environmental benefits, operational efficiencies and as a first and last mile travel option connecting people from Metrorail stations to employment, activity centers and residential communities.
Dominion Energy is committed to being a driver of change and supporting innovative projects that will reduce carbon emissions and help customers do the same. Autonomous and electric vehicle technology will play a major role in a lower-emissions transportation future in the Commonwealth of Virginia and across the nation.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will consider a formal partnership agreement between Fairfax County and Dominion Energy on June 25, 2019. As part of the proposed partnership, Dominion Energy would lease or buy the vehicle for this pilot and Fairfax County would oversee the operations.DRPT is committed to ensuring Virginia is on the forefront of new mobility innovations, including the deployment of autonomous transit. DRPT is providing demonstration funds to offset the cost of operations and is evaluating how shuttles can provide critical first and last mile connections to transit.
Safety will be key to the successful implementation of the pilot and the project is subject to safety reviews by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The shuttles will undergo extensive testing before passenger service can begin and a safety steward will be on board to monitor operations.
A zero-emission E-truck developed with ABB technology was seen on the streets of Swiss capital Bern for the first time, paving the way for sustainable urban logistic solutions.
The E- truck has been developed in collaboration with ABB's pilot truck manufacturer partner E-Force One, with the aim of having an all-electric ABB delivery fleet in Switzerland by the end of 2022.The truck, which delivered an ABB Formula E ‘Gen2' racecar to a launch event for the ABB FIA Formula E race in Bern, incorporates an electric motor, inverter, traction auxiliary and battery systems from ABB. The batteries are charged with ABB Terra 54 fast chargers and provide enough power for a range of up to 300km.
The first two trucks will be garaged at ABB's power electronics factory in Turgi, northern Switzerland. After a test phase of several months ABB's current fleet of eleven diesel vehicles will be superseded over the next three years by a single-operator fleet of E-trucks. The change will save an estimated 400 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year, for no extra operating cost.Morten Wierod, President of ABB's Motion business, said, “The E-truck was a prime example of ABB's commitment to technology innovation. The new powertrain for trucks is a significant piece of e-mobility technology for heavy vehicles. It shows our advancement in developing technologies that are more energy efficient with a lower-carbon output. We will also be using the E-truck in our own daily business operations.”
ABB will be the first company in Switzerland to trial fully electric truck deliveries and they will benefit during the testing period from the established fixed routes between ABB facilities. The longest scheduled distance for delivery within Switzerland is 235km - well within the 300km range of the EF26 three-axle vehicles selected for the trial. A range of up to 500km would be possible with the largest available battery fitted.
The prototype 25-tonne vehicles will be fitted with a 310kWh battery, charged for six hours overnight at the Turgi base. The 360kW ABB motors produce 2700Nm of torque, making the e-truck capable of hauling a 12-tonne load with a standard trailer. Their maximum speed is limited to 85km/h, with negligible road noise apart from that generated by the tyres.Marcel Schütz, ABB Head of Transport & Trade Switzerland, added: “The E-trucks will cover approximately the same distance every day, so they can be designed explicitly to fit ABB's needs. This is the perfect logistics solution for our needs.”
Energy supplied to the charging stations at the trucks' Turgi base would be sustainably sourced, also thanks to solar panels and inverters already installed at the factory. Successful integration of a full E-truck fleet into ABB's logistics operations would significantly enhance the company's global Mission to Zero commitment, which is aiming to build a carbon-neutral and energy self-sufficient ecosystem for industry, homes and cities.
In part one of Waiting for the Robots, I posed some questions about how cities and regulators might change to make the deployment of autonomous cars easier. In part two, I examine the autonomous vehicles that may come sooner than fully autonomous cars.
Among experts, there’s a very wide range of opinion about when driverless cars will be “ready” (leaving aside what that even means precisely), and as big a gap about how long they will take to become widespread. But alongside the prestigious race to launch the self-driving car, there’s a very important “warm-up” race - to deploy and commercialise other autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, not necessarily designed to carry individual people.
The primary focus of these typically smaller vehicles is on the delivery of items to consumers. From food to essential supplies, several startups and established companies are unleashing myriad robots onto our roads, sidewalks and even skies as beach-head devices flying the flag for autonomy ahead of their better-known cousin, the self-driving car.
It’s easy to see why delivery vehicles comprise an attractive category - there’s far more design flexibility than with cars, far less regulation and a lower threshold for consumer acceptance compared to replacing their beloved and trusted means of conveyance. A 20kg (44lbs) robot trundling along the sidewalk at a non-threatening 6kmph (4mph) is much less controversial than a 2 ton car without a human at the wheel, however poorly some humans drive.
With sidewalk bots like those from Starship and Kiwi having completed over 30,000 deliveries each, of payloads up to 10kg (22lbs), and trials underway with hundreds of the little rovers in multiple cities, these may be among the first autonomous vehicles often encountered by the public at large. Costing substantially less than most delivery vehicles and operating at a fraction of the cost of a human-piloted car, these bots enable free, or virtually free, deliveries. Fully electric, their environmental footprint is as proportionately small as their physical size is to ICE cars typically used for deliveries. Although Kiwi and Starship are the most common providers so far, there are plenty of others in the game - FedEx have also announced experiments with a delivery bot that can even climb steps to a porch, while Amazon have recently trialed their Scout device in Washington.
Self-driving vehicles and sidewalk robots could slash last-mile delivery costs in cities by as much as 40 percent and could make up 85% of last mile deliveries.
But delivery bots are not without their opponents. Questions over their presence on sidewalks, their interactions with, for example, wheelchairs on a narrow pathway and vulnerability to anti-social behavior mean not everyone is welcoming them - while Virginia and Idaho have rolled out the welcome mat (or more exactly welcome legislation), there’s a ban in most areas of San Francisco.
Larger capacity vehicles clearly don’t belong on sidewalks, but also may not need to mix with highway traffic. One interesting interim solution is the Nuro - this autonomous delivery vehicle is designed for suburban use and only about half the width of a compact car - operating on the road but at slow speeds of only 40 kmph (25 mph). Currently being tested in Texas, the R1 can carry loads up to 100kg (220 lbs) - so much more than sidewalk bots - and the success of its initial operations has seen investments in the startup of nearly $1 billion.
Drones have quickly got themselves a tarnished reputation, with widely reported disruptions of airports and hastily implemented ownership registration schemes to control irresponsible use. But some of the world’s largest companies are eagerly pursuing airspace solutions to deliveries. On a recent trip to Silicon Valley, I spent some time chatting to the folks at Wing, the Alphabet division developing autonomous aircraft for consumer deliveries.
Already live in trials in Canberra (70,000 test flights) and shortly to commence in Helsinki, these autonomous aircraft fly at up to 120km/h (75mph) before hovering at 7m (23ft) to lower their 1.5kg (3 lbs) payload to the customer below. Just last week (June 4th), Amazon announced its near-final aircraft during the ReMars event, which they say will be ready for use within “months”.
These all-electric drones have a fairly obvious benefit for fast deliveries but will raise many privacy, safety and noise pollution concerns from people under the flight paths.
Away from the world of logistics and last mile delivery, Shuttles comprise another area of autonomous transport showing real early traction. Typically operating at low speeds on partially protected routes, they offer a non-threatening introduction to autonomous transport. Seating up to 10 people, they are ideal for use in large factories, campuses or even to link to suburban transit stations.
There are plenty of other examples of autonomous technology slowly moving out from the labs into the outside world. But much of it is avoiding direct interactions with unpredictable humans for now, while learning to navigate simpler worlds. But if you look hard enough, you can find autonomous sweepers out early on the streets of Disneyland Shanghai, or indoors in Seattle-Tacoma airport and at some Walmart stores. Swedish startup Einride has just announced trials of a freight solution that can haul 26 tones.
Einride freight trial with a Driverless Cab
So it seems we’ll see myriad other autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles before self-driving cars become commonplace. As autonomy continues to advance from these simpler use cases, I believe we’ll see it expand cautiously but continuously through new use cases. I suspect it won’t be long until we see lower-risk deployments - how about night-time rebalancing (moving the cars to areas of higher demand) of shared cars such as Zipcar or RideNow? The less crowded roads with less vulnerable road users (cyclists/pedestrians) about would make for a more forgiving environment than day-time operations, while empty cars could always err on the side of caution without worrying about passengers.
There are fascinating changes ahead as autonomy takes hold - on roads, sidewalks and in the skies above us before we get to fully autonomous cars. In a way, it feels like these other examples of autonomous technologies are like an advance party, testing consumer reaction and paving the way for their more disruptive successors to come. What if consumers react negatively to these early encounters with autonomy? Could a backlash delay driverless car, even if the technological and regulatory challenges are solved? Even if they’re not aware of their trailblazing role, these robots are a vital barometer of public opinion preparing us for self-driving cars.
Mobility, at its simplest, is about getting people from A to B in the most convenient way possible. While big players in the field have been making the journey smart, electric or autonomous, what3words has focused on how we talk about A and B, exactly, how making them as precise and simple as possible makes for a better user experience, and how that is helping usher in the future of mobility.
A and B are locations. A starting point and a destination, usually communicated to another person or a machine via a street address. The problem is, street addresses were developed to make delivering mail easy in places that were never expected to grow as much as they did. They are unreliable and unsuitable for the ways we move and navigate today.
Addresses are slowing us down
We’ve all had our gripe, at one point or another, with addresses and maps. Pins drop in the centre of buildings with no indication of where the actual entrance is. Postcodes cover large areas. Duplicate street names cause mistakes. Satnavs tell us we’ve arrived when we haven't really. New builds don’t appear on maps even though people have started living there and are using their new addresses every day.
Then, there are all the places that have no address like food trucks, beaches, and fields, and all the developing countries and rural areas around the world that lack a formalised addressing system.
Finally, when it comes to navigation, satnav interfaces are clunky and frustrating, and while voice has become a common way to input commands into a phone or home voice assistant, addresses are particularly difficult to enter by voice correctly.
what3words solves these issues.
A future-proof addressing system
what3words has divided the world into 3m squares and given each one a unique 3 word address. For example, ///purist.enjoyable.presides takes you to the front entrance of TaaS 2019.
[The free what3words app helps find, share and navigate to 3 word address]
People can find 3 word addresses where they would normally find location information like guide books, contact pages, and online listings, or they can be shared with them by other people. They can also discover them on the free what3words app or online map.
With 3 dictionary words, they can input a precise destination anywhere in the world, with 3m x 3m accuracy, whether it’s their front door, a remote viewpoint, or a taverna on the beach. When entered into a navigation interface or a ride-hailing platform, a 3 word address is converted to GPS coordinates in the background, providing the machine with a precise destination to navigate to.
what3words is also the only addressing system optimised for speech recognition technology: each address is unique, homophones have been removed, and a smart error detection system helps identify and correct mistakes. The numbers speak for themselves: 3 word addresses are 25% faster to enter by voice than street addresses, and what3words voice drives a 135% increase in address recognition.
[what3words in action in Mercedes-Benz’ MBUX infotainment system]
Improving user experience
The system has been integrated into Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX infotainment system and is now available in millions of cars in which drivers can now say ‘Hey Mercedes, take me to //grab.venue.glass’ to get directions to, in this case, Tabac Bar in London.
Cabify, a leading ride-hailing app in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries, allows users to enter 3 word addresses as destinations, so they get dropped off exactly where they want to.
KakaoMap, the main digital map provider in the Republic of Korea has also included 3 word addresses in its map natively, so people can discover, share and navigate to 3 word addresses in the app they already use every day.
Olli, an electric, autonomous bus designed by Local Motors has also integrated what3words so passengers can say 3 words to give Olli their exact drop-off point, and, speaking of electric vehicles, thousands of EV charging spots are now listed with 3 word addresses thanks to charging station-finding apps Moovility and evway.
Looking to the future of mobility
The ability to tell your car, driver and friends exactly where to go makes going places less frustrating, reduces distance travelled and time wasted, and removes the need for long calls asking for directions. This improves users’ experiences and the way they interact with a product, whether it’s a car, a delivery fleet vehicle, or an app that helps them get places.
In the fast-approaching future of autonomous vehicles, knowing exactly where you’re going and being able to communicate that information easily will become even more important. While annoying, having to explain to a driver to go a bit further and around the corner to drop you off isn’t a huge deal. But what would you do in a car with no driver to explain this to?
A 3 word address is a great way for people to communicate location simply with each other, and to tell a navigation system exactly where to go. And because they are optimised for voice, they are making navigation much easier in autonomous vehicles. The way we see it, the city of the future is 3 word addressed.
That’s why we’re not just operating in the automotive and mobility sectors. Restaurants, hotels and business all over the world now list their 3 word address in their contact details. Domino’s is delivering pizza to 3 word addresses in KSA. Lonely Planet is publishing guides with a 3 word address for every place it recommends. iStore in South Africa and Virgin Megastores in KSA now deliver goods to 3 word addresses, and postal services and logistics companies around the world have started using the system. Humanitarian aid agencies are responding to disasters and providing much-needed supplies more efficiently thanks to more accurate location information, and many emergency services around the UK now accept 3 word addresses in their control rooms, so people can say exactly where they are even if they don’t have a street address.
I’ll be giving a talk about what3words for mobility, come and see me speak at 11.50am, Tuesday 9th July.
George Hall has a background in investments and early stage start-ups. His career started in investment management, he then joined the team at onefinestay, where he was instrumental in growing the business prior to its sale to AccorHotels. Just before joining what3words, George led the growth of an e-commerce and logistics start-up from seed round to Series A. As a leader of the what3words partnerships team, George oversees all sectors with a special focus on global automotive and mobility integrations and partnerships.
There is a lot of effort being put into the development of virtual test environments for AV (Autonomous Vehicle) and ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems). One aspect that seems to be of great interest by many is the need for high fidelity sensor models.
Many companies are currently developing sensors for autonomous driving applications and each system made available will have unique specifications and thus capabilities. To gain enough sensor measurement in the real-world in order to confirm that a given sensor meets certain requirements, will be both time consuming and expensive. The virtual environment in rFpro allows one to bypass the costs associated with purchasing equipment and acquiring a test facility whilst also incorporating real roadside factors such as the behavior of other vehicles. Simulations within this environment can be both run continuously and concurrently, which allows a large amount of test data to be acquired in a relatively short period of time. Whilst in the early stages of the development of ADAS and AV systems, it may be acceptable to utilize simple models that react and give a perfect output to the system under test; the introduction of random noise and the response to weather conditions should also be considered, both of which can improve and make the AV simulation closer to reality.
“It’s the introduction of these two characteristics that will help gain competitiveness and allow Autonomous car manufacturers to test their AI algorithms for any kind of road” says Maurizio Bevilacqua, Project Engineer at Claytex.
He continues: “To investigate this idea, we constructed a new library of Virtual Sensors for the Autonomous Vehicles Simulator rFpro”. The Library currently includes the following sensors and is being continually expanded:
“We then simulated these sensors with different scenarios and started developing the non-idealised response that an actual sensor has” Maurizio confirms; “we have started a calibration acquisition campaign with an actual Lidar and Radar creating a database with different weather conditions, thanks to which we are able to model a coherent and realistic response to be integrated within the virtual sensors”.
ADAS systems that rely on AI devices for cognitive behavior require a large amount of training data prior to deployment and the sensor catalogue developed at Claytex can be used alongside rFpro to achieve this.
“The big challenge”, continues Maurizio, “is to define a standard and unique calibration procedure, since there is no unique standard or regulation regarding this topic”.
As explained before, some implementation and comparison of performance have been done as shown in the following two cases; the first one compares the performance of different radar sensors and the second one concerns the implementation of a virtual Velodyne HDL-32E.
The systems simulated here are range-doppler radars that scan in the azimuth plane. This type of sensing allows the range, angle and velocity of detected targets to be estimated and hence can be used to construct an image of the scenario being measured. The important parameters set for each device are the:
The following example uses the manufacturer specifications of three commercially available radar systems and simulates the output produced by each. One of these systems (Model C) has two modes of operation to meet the requirements of short, medium and long-range applications whereas the other two devices (Model A and Model B) operate in a single mode.
The table below shows the range, angular and frame rate parameters of the three radar systems under test:
The video shows the raw output in real-time when using Model A and Model B devices on-board a moving vehicle driving around the model of Paris in rFpro.
The color of each detection within the radar plots relates to the relative velocity between the ego vehicle and the detection. Moving vehicles become distinct from stationary objects due to the doppler effect and are visible as different coloured points in the plots. Any deacceleration/acceleration of the ego vehicle will also cause the relative velocity to change.
Analyzing the performance of a cognitive system that makes use of the output produced by a set of simulated sensors will tell an ADAS system designer if the configuration under test meets the requirements set. In terms of the sensors simulated in Table 1, if the two-mode system from Manufacturer 2 is deemed adequate then a cost and packaging saving can be made. A virtual environment with accurate sensor models makes analysis of a range of sensing systems possible at a much lower cost compared to physical testing.
Here, it will be shown how to insert a state-of-the-art Lidar device within the virtual environment of rFpro. This will allow a user to easily stream and visualize the sensor output on any PC or storage device.
The Velodyne HDL-32E is the latest Lidar device to be added to the ever-growing database of ADAS sensors at Claytex.
Figure 1 – Velodyne HDL-32
The Velodyne HDL-32E model uses 32 laser beams to produce an asymmetric vertical field of view (figure 2) that prioritizes the detection of ground-based objects such as pedestrians, cyclists and automobiles.
The setup procedure is simple, and it can be summarized on the following picture. Figure 3 shows the setup procedure for the ego vehicle, map and sensor.
Figure 3 – Configuration settings
The following checklist must be adhered to in the order shown:
1. The map to be used in the simulation. The simulation footage shown here was realized by selecting ‘Paris Streets’ which simulates a 2km section or road around “Les Invalides” in the 7th Arrondissement of Paris. Many real-world locations from around the globe are currently available for rFpro.
2. A car model in the Vehicles section of the Physics tab. A red hatchback was used for the results presented here. The required physics model includes the model type and the frequency of the physics model execution. The ‘Internal (rFpro) Physics Model’ was used for the results shown here with a ‘Physics Rate’ of 1 kHz but interfaces exist to all the major vehicle dynamics tools.
3. Simulation nodes must be connected and ready for execution.
4. The video settings on the Video Config tab must match the parameters of the sensor instance with the settings of the HDL-32E sensor. Also, it is important to check the video sync option is unticked; the resolution is set as 120×300 in this case.
After these settings have been applied, the simulation can be started by pressing the play button in the session tab:
Figure 4 – Execution of the simulation in rFPro
The strength of this approach is that you can visualize the sensor output using the visualization software provided by Velodyne called Veloview. Veloview will not be able to tell the difference between the real and the simulated sensor outputs.
Opening Velodyne’s software Veloview and having selected the HDL-32 in the sensor calibration with the Lidar port set to 2368 (figure 5), the acquisition is ready to start.
Due to the fact that new Lidar sensors are continuously being developed to improve the capability of autonomous vehicles, new sensor models are constantly required to simulate the performance of the latest sensor configurations being considered by car manufacturers (e.g. JLR) and service providers (e.g. Uber).
“If you would like us to help you to create a customized model for a particular AV or ADAS sensor that is not currently available”, Maurizio kindly says, “please get in contact with us at Claytex, so we can help you realize such a model and thus allow you to access the benefits of simulating in a realistic virtual environment”. www.claytex.com P: +44 1926 885900
As a relatively new entrant to the autonomous vehicle industry I remember being struck how much energy we collectively spend discussing engineering aspects. Debates range from whether lidar or camera sensors are best, or who has the newest simulation technology, or how many miles research companies are going between disengagements. While this is all interesting we really need to turn our attention to what comes next and that means building businesses of sufficient scale so that we can earn back all the billions of USD / GBP that have been spent on research.
Just as Sir Tim Berners-Lee didn't invent Google, it seems unlikely that the current engineering focused companies will scale out the vehicle & mobility platforms that consumers will incorporate into their daily lives of the future. It takes a different kind of person, a different kind of business, to solve complex AI driving issues vs creating a viable consumer service at global scale.
To demonstrate the difference in thinking between engineers and consumer experience designers, look at robo-taxis, the current roll-out strategy chosen by most engineering companies with large scale autonomous vehicle plans. The concept of having an always available, cheap, consumer facing service powered by thousands of robots driving around cities looks fantastic. I can see what makes them an attractive engineering choice but as a first time consumer experience they leave a lot to be desired and as a business they are super challenging.
As a result I believe in the near term that robo-taxis are a fool's errand. Instead I propose that delivering experiences such as sightseeing via autonomous vehicle makes a better near term strategy to introduce autonomous vehicles to consumers, build trust and to create autonomous vehicle fleets that can later deliver robo-taxi services.
To explain, here are my six primary justifications:
Can sell at the price that people pay for experiences, which is set by the market for experiences, not the market for transport. Price tends to be person, whereas taxis the price tends to be per vehicle. (e.g. a sightseeing tour can be 30-50 GBP per hour, per person)
Robo-taxi companies will be competing on price and as a result of low marginal cost, this low price is going to be incredibly low. If you are going to have immediate availability of robo-taxis (e.g. request and one arrives within minutes), you need local oversupply, creating further downward price pressure.
Following years of expensive technology investment, competing in a low price business environment seems undesirable.
One of the great aspects of working in the experiences industry is that on occasion you deliver something amazing and it becomes a lifetime memory. This may be only 1:25 to 1:100 of purchases, but it happens.
With mobility everyone expects the core service as advertised. Anything less than that and you will have unhappy customers.
Social media will be full of people sharing their positive memories and posting photos from autonomous vehicle experiences and others ranting about why their taxi was 10 minutes late in arriving.
Customers can request to go anywhere within a region. As a result they require entire regions to be mapped. Robo-taxis compete against classic transit - if a particular junction is tricky (and has to be avoided), or in the UK you say no right turns, classic transit may turn out to be more practical for that particular routing.
We can operate static, consistent, repeated, routes. We can design for no right turns. We can pre-map everything. We can start and end at the same location where we can have staff.
For complete rollout of autonomous vehicle experiences we only need level 4 technology. Fixed routes rather than flexible routes are easier to operate in the near term.
When people go on a leisure trip they seek out experiences. If we can't operate at maximum scale, we descale and go upmarket if we have to.
They must become part of the fabric of a city. They must become a habit. However to create the opportunity to be habit forming, it has to be possible to take a robo-taxi whenever you want to. If you don have total scale within a city, you can't attain this habit forming level of supply.
One supported autonomous route in a city is no use for mobility, but could work for experiences.
As we generate a reasonable minimum revenue per trip, we can do a human clean after each use.
The vehicle could finish at an inconvenient location and may have only been used for a 1km trip. If you have a fixed cleaning cost, short trips (with minimal income) may not even cover the inspection / cleaning cost. Robo-taxis have to solve the robo-cleaning problem to be viable....
Cleaning may not be top of everyone's lists of challenges but vehicle interiors are going to be public spaces. Consumers will expect them to be clean. Humans being humans, not sure this is going to be easy to do without having a human inspection after each use.
The sightseeing industry has many incumbent companies with vehicle maintenance and operations yards, in every city in the world. Some of the largest global sightseeing companies have 3000+ buses. Vehicle maintenance and operations are part of their core businesses today.
New companies have to create new city infrastructure. This is not so easy even for companies that have existing taxi platforms as e.g. Uber / Lyft drivers live in houses, not in vehicle maintenance garages.
The bus sightseeing incumbents, although not keen on autonomous vehicles quite yet, will deliver global rollout much faster than having to start at zero with city infrastructure.
I am not a robo-taxi denier. I do believe they will come. However, autonomous vehicle sightseeing will come first, will deliver positive customer experiences & doesn't require complete city saturation to be a viable commercial service.
CEO / CTO - Autoura
Autoura delivers vehicle based, brandable, in-destination travel experiences
Explaining and convincing users what Mobility-as-a-Service is and why they should bother using it.
MaaS is the new paradigm of mobility, a twenty first century solution for mobility in cities. MaaS combines all modes of transport into a mobility service that could outcompete the car in terms of flexibility and affordability. It increases the customer base for all mobility service providers and incentivizes a more sustainable and active travel behavior, cities get more space for urban life and a better air quality. The story of mobility-as-a-service is impressive and the benefits endless. However the rate of expansion we are seeing today is not near the pace that was expected. Is the expansion which is happening really providing what we imagined?
The commonly acknowledged key to the success story of MaaS lies in providing an attractive offer towards travelers, but is it really enough? MaaS pioneers in Europe are currently seeing everyday public transport users quickly adopting to their services. However the usage remain much located to public transport and if the remaining benefits of MaaS are to be realised, there is one customer group that needs understand and be convinced by the offer, car owners. Without convinced car owners the sustainable city with less pollution and more urban space is difficult to realize using MaaS.
Car owners usually correspond to a financially more stable and older age group. A group who does not need and is reluctant to understand or even more so adopt anything else than car ownership. Of course a full conversion of car owners is unrealistic as the car is an important mode of transport in certain suburban areas. Nonetheless the potential difference that could be made for the mobility service provider eco system and cities remain, if urban car owners could be convinced of the potential in MaaS. The reasons why car owners are reluctant in changing is not an exact science but there are some tendencies. Car ownership is flexible mobility at a high cost. Costs which commonly are separated into different bills and difficult to overview, compiled the monthly costs reach about 616 euros in average in Europe. However the cost of car ownerships often rise above the EU average in dense urban areas due to congestion charges and the cost of parking. Therefore, the fragmentation of costs, high initial investment and rapid value depreciation causes car owners to often experience both post-purchase rationalization bias and a financial lock-in effect.
UbiGo was founded out of the first MaaS service created as a pilot in Gothenburg in 2013, a pilot determined to prove the added value for all involved actors. The challenge and ultimate goal for MaaS of reaching car owners was therefore directly addressed and carefully evaluated. Resulting in more than 25% of all households were able to storage their cars and the modal distribution saw a 50% decrease in car usage in favor of public transport, biking and car sharing. This created the core of the current UbiGo concept which is currently live in Stockholm.
How can then car owners be approached? The everyday reaction and knowledge of MaaS often leave little to desire and even so often MaaS is more often associated with a river or cheese. The communication of a MaaS service is therefore key in gaining traction. With strategic, recurring and multichannel marketing we can start building an understanding for a concept commonly unheard of. Creating knowledge of what the service is instead of what is it is called. Furthermore, including the right local partners strengthens the trustworthiness. Most importantly, the main features of the UbiGo strategy involves ensuring close vicinity to high availability of station based car sharing, a special bundling of public transport tickets and a service designed for the entire household alongside a comprehensive MaaS offering. However, MaaS might be a global concept, but it is very much a local business and all new launches must be conducted carefully if the system and environmental benefits are to be gained.
Mobility as a service is a new paradigm and the twenty first century solution for mobility in cities. However MaaS needs to be implemented in a right manner incentivizing a more sustainable and active travel behavior, in order for our society to get more space for urban life and reduction of carbon emissions. Only then are we close to the realizing the true story of mobility-as-a-Service.
 Car Cost Index (2018). Leaseplan International
Bio - Markus Aarflot is a Business Developer at UbiGo and holds a M.Sc in Industrial and management engineering from Luleå University of Technology. He joined UbiGo as a smart mobility manager from the Swedish Transport Administration where he focused on digitalisation of ITS and bringing smart mobility to the STA.
We’re living in an exciting time for smart mobility. Buoyed by recent developments in transformative technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and fifth-generation wireless communications (5G), the vision of fully-sophisticated smart mobility seems closer than ever. With one eye firmly fixed upon a future where every day processes and services will become increasingly interconnected, data-driven and autonomous, it’s hard not to feel a sense of excitement at the utopian ideal of a seamlessly integrated, intelligent transport network and the corollary benefits that such a system will bring – to the economy, to passenger safety, to the health and wellbeing of both people and the natural environment.
But while a future-thinking perspective is all well and good, it’s important to remember that innovation cannot be built on blue-sky thinking alone. While future smart mobility will certainly comprise an array of exciting forms of transportation – wide scale electrification of vehicle fleets, autonomous vehicles, fully-connected travel experiences and more besides – we must not lose sight of the practical steps that need to be taken in the here and now to step change transportation for tomorrow. This starts with a fundamental shift in attitudes to travel – namely, away from the singular and towards the shared.
An inconvenient truth
For close to a century, the car has been considered king when it comes to convenient transportation. In that time, demand has been both fulfilled and fuelled by ever-cheaper models produced on a hyper mass-market scale, with private car ownership per-capita rising year-on-year in virtually every nation on earth. But while current rates of ownership still far exceed the proportion of one car for every two persons across much of the developed world, a report on disruptive automotive trends from McKinsey & Company suggests the beginnings of a global downward trend in private car ownership. In the face of growing global frustration at excessive congestion on inter-city highways and in busy urban centres, and the resulting environmental concerns that such high levels of traffic bring, there is a growing acceptance that private vehicles aren’t necessarily the way that people will move in future. Some are already beginning to break the habits of a lifetime and transition towards smarter shared mobility services – though the rate at which this is happening is perhaps slower than it ought to be.
The problems faced by societies on a global scale as a result of excessive car ownership are intensifying. Congestion is getting worse, costing an estimated $305 billion in economic impact in 2017 in the U.S. alone, an increase of $10 billion from 2016. Excessive carbon emissions from traffic are polluting our air to dangerous levels, with the World Health Organisation claiming that transport accounted for almost a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2010. In addition, people are spending longer than ever commuting to and from work, regardless of how they travel, while the overwhelming need for more car parking spaces is limiting our ability to expand and grow smarter cities in the way that we want to. The fact is that while cars have long been seen as the ultimate symbols of convenience, the global overreliance on them means that these efficacy benefits are not only being outweighed by the negatives, but are simply ceasing to exist altogether. Solo travel is starting to seem less like a route to convenience and more like a roadblock.
Sharing the spoils
The idea of travelling together is certainly nothing new, but today’s innovative shared mobility services are unlike the communal travel models of old. Because of technological innovations, shared travel experiences are becoming better than ever – though this of course means that expectations are similarly increased. An influx of well-funded ride hailing startups has disrupted the transport market, while the level of on-demand expediency offered across a range of other industries has fundamentally raised the bar on what customers expect from the services they consume. People want services that are made for them, designed and developed around their wants and needs – and they not only want them immediately, but they expect them to be affordable. For the status of smart mobility to be truly accelerated, propositions must meet the skyrocketing demands that consumers have now in terms of ease and efficiency.
To do this, we can start to focus on a number of things. Firstly, transport operators and providers can invest in better onboard experiences to help solve the wellbeing and productivity challenges associated with stressful journeys. By improving communal travel experiences, whether for work or leisure, operators give people the chance of actually making the most of their travel time. Secondly, transport providers and planners must work together to bridge the current gaps in the network, as the current reliance on personal car transportation is primarily driven by a lack of genuinely compelling alternatives. Gaps in transport network can be quickly and dynamically filled by new, connected and data-driven mobility services, which are a precursor to the ultimate goal of seamlessly connected travel experiences.
Finally, and where feasible, we must look to interlink existing travel options, with a particular focus on solving the challenge of the first and last mile. If people cannot get exactly to where they need to be via shared transport, they will often begrudgingly turn back to the private vehicles they are trying to leave behind. Local municipalities and regulators have a key part to play here, as it is only by enabling the provision of data between all parties in the overall travel experience and ultimately beginning to break down the existing barriers between public and private transportation that we will start to see real progress made.
Facing the future
Improving the performance and viability of today’s shared travel options will lay a bedrock upon which to start seriously building the smarter travel networks of the future. True smart mobility isn’t here yet, and there are many hurdles to overcome as we progress towards the ultimate goal – including building the infrastructure for electric and automated vehicles, working out how these next-generation vehicles will properly interface with the human world and solving synonymous challenges in other sectors such as mobile networks. We will eventually overcome all these hurdles, and the dream will one day become reality, but hurdles do, of course, come in sequence. We cannot scale them all at once, and without overcoming the challenge of making shared mobility more attractive than solo travel, we run the risk of the remaining hurdles seeming increasingly insurmountable.
Graham Gordon, Director, Global Telematics at LexisNexis Risk Solutions
There are already an estimated 20 million cars in the US with connectivity capability, 11 million between UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain and this volume is set to grow with 100% of new cars expected to have connectivity by 2025[i]. The growth in connected car data is on a steep trajectory.
Connected car data is set to change the course of motor insurance globally and the UK with Italy has a head start, leading the world in car connectivity.
Today, 10% of the UK car parc is connected. Half of this is young drivers with telematics insurance policies, with data collected through aftermarket devices. The other half is built-in connectivity in high end vehicles. By 2020[ii] all new cars in the UK are expected to be connected with the potential for data about the vehicle and how it’s driven to be used for insurance pricing and risk reduction.
Telematics insurance, a solution developed to solve young driver insurance costs is one of the first forms of connected car data and will prove fundamental to the insurance industry’s ability to meet the needs of its customer in the future.
Everything the insurance sector has learnt about risk mitigation and pricing based on real-time data will help shape the way it delivers insurance in a world where consumers will demand Usage Based Insurance (UBI) from their car.
UBI provides access to insurance priced on actual - rather than presumed - road behaviour. In the decade since telematics insurance was first introduced into the UK, claims loss ratios have reduced for insurers and premiums have come down for younger drivers. But most importantly there is now firm evidence of the efficacy of telematics insurance in reducing road risk. Our own analysis identified a 35% reduction in road casualties over the past seven years[iii] amongst 17-19-year olds as telematics adoption amongst young drivers increased[iv].
But although telematics is still very much a niche proposition, it is on the cusp of expanding to a broader market. Through the advances in technology, the cost of data acquisition has fallen by around half and there is now wider consumer appetite for UBI. Based on our research of over 3000 motorists - 60%[v] of consumers want telematics insurance.
At the same time, other types of vehicle data are now being explored, such as ADAS data to help inform insurance pricing. 60% of the UK car parc has some form of ADAS feature so this data is ubiquitous.
Fundamentally connected car data takes a variety of forms today, but the commonality is that with the right infrastructure in place it will enable the sector to deliver usage-based insurance.
Therefore, with volumes of connected car data growing exponentially, the process of gathering, normalising, understanding and utilising this data in a fully compliant manner has become a major focus for both the insurance sector and the car manufacturing markets. Both markets share a common customer and both markets want to serve that customer with mobility solutions that help improve their road safety and manage their motoring costs.
This is very much in line with the UK’s Government’s Future of Mobility Urban Strategy[vi]. This report set out nine key principles and the approach to working with innovators, companies, local authorities and other stakeholders to harness the developing benefits of new urban mobility technologies including driverless vehicles. The ninth principle states that going forward, sharing data from new mobility services - where appropriate - will improve choice and the operation of the transport system.
This will not only require collaboration, trust and consumer education, it will also put demands on mobility providers to find a way to share their data in a meaningful way and in a fully compliant manner. As the Government has stated, the principles in the Data Ethics Framework and the General Data Protection Regulation provide a starting point for this.
Insights from data can help create safer roads and support consumer choice, we have seen this in what telematics has done to cut road risk in young drivers[vii]. However, data from a wide variety of sources will need normalising to create a common understanding of mobility use to ensure these services benefit the consumer.
The challenge with connected car data is that as connected car volumes grow, there will be more and more data from many different aftermarket devices, many types of vehicles from many car manufacturers. This will demand data normalisation delivered by a neutral sever taking data from both the insurance and car manufacturing sectors. This central hub of data will help ensure consistent scoring of driving data and enable data portability, all with the consumers’ interest front and centre.
Car manufacturers are therefore looking for partnerships to help them leverage connected car data. This involves creating links with the insurance sector to help better serve their common customer. It’s already happening in the US, where major car manufacturers have joined the LexisNexis® Telematics Exchange and the first agreements in Europe are on the horizon.
Therefore, our focus right now is enabling insurance providers and car manufacturers to share data through a common platform to promote a greater understanding of risk. We see this as the starting point for the development of semi and ultimately fully autonomous vehicles.
[i] LexisNexis Risk Solutions Research of the Automotive market conducted in 2018
7yr CAGR (EXCEL)
Change 11 vs 17 (%)
Change 16 vs 17 (%)
Total 16-to 60+
Total under 16
[iv] 975,000 live policies, over 1m 17-19-year-old drivers - https://www.biba.org.uk/press-releases/biba-research-reveals-telematics-almost-reach-one-million-mark/
[v] Consumer Intelligence Research conducted September 2017 of 3025 motor insurance policyholders. Respondents were 50% males, 50% females and representative of the driving population across 7 age groups (17-19, 20-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+) and social demographic groups –A, B, C1, C2, D, E.
Percentage of Population
Higher & intermediate managerial, administrative, professional occupations
Supervisory, clerical & junior managerial, administrative, professional occupations
Skilled manual occupations
Semi-skilled & unskilled manual occupations, Unemployed and lowest grade occupations
New mobility trends, such as ride-hailing and vehicle electrification, are driving improved transportation cost structures and have the potential to bring significant opportunity to the value chains of many businesses. With the right approach, businesses across the economy can see mobility as a stimulus for business model innovation, creating new revenue opportunities and improving operating efficiency.
L.E.K. Consulting’s framework — ‘mobility as a platform’ (MaaP) — provides a lens through which businesses can consider options for growth, through customer acquisition, customer experience and loyalty, and business operations.
Bending the cost curve — road transport trends
MaaP is enabled by significant improvements in the cost structure of transportation, underpinned by two key new mobility drivers:
1. Sharing and autonomy (in urban contexts). The mission statement of shared mobility disruptors (Uber, Lyft, Zipcar, etc.), and indeed the strategy of some OEMs reacting to these trends, is to displace car ownership. This seeks to effectively monetise the 95% of unused capacity that consumers pay for when they buy — but don’t use — a car. Improved utilisation, custom vehicles and eventually autonomous driving will change the cost such that a consumer could get on-demand transport at a more favourable cost point than owning a vehicle (see Figure 1).
2. Vehicle electrification. The transition from fossil fuels into alternatively fuelled vehicles — in particular electricity — could drastically reduce fuel costs. U.K. businesses and consumers currently spend about £50 billion on diesel and petrol every year; the equivalent in the U.S. is about $530 billion (or $4,200 in ultimate costs borne per household, on average). As electric vehicle ‘total cost of ownership’ economics approach parity with internal combustion engine vehicles, the transition to electricity will accelerate and could materially reduce costs related to transportation fuel.
As transportation costs deflate, the key question is how the value chains of other industries are impacted and what business opportunities emerge. For example, the democratisation of air travel created a number of beneficiaries, including destination holiday resorts, which acquired a new and vastly enlarged cohort of customers. More latterly, new business models have emerged for everything from innovative accommodation providers (e.g., Airbnb) and traveller advice services (e.g., TripAdvisor) to aggregators that stitch the travel value chain together (e.g., Expedia). And let’s not forget consumers, who have made significant savings and gained a richer experience along the way.
While it is still early days for urban transportation, there are parallels from these industries that point to innovation opportunities for all companies relying on transportation.
MaaP – L.E.K.’s framework for mobility-inspired innovation
L.E.K.’s MaaP framework allows organisations to identify opportunities for business model innovation, leveraging new mobility services and their associated lower transportation costs (see Figure 2).
Figure 2 — Mobility as a platform
I. Mobility as a customer acquisition platform
As sharing, automation and electrification dramatically reduce transport costs per mile, their reach amongst consumers is expected to improve. Mobility platforms already touch a large proportion of consumers in big cities; over 3 (out of 9) million Londoners have used a ride-hailing service, and more than 30 million North American riders used Lyft services in 2018. In a short period, mobility platforms have already created a new means of accessing a large, addressable customer base.
Take for instance Cargo, a startup that provides free goods (from items of confectionery to electronics) to rideshare drivers to market and sell to passengers. Through its global collaboration with Uber, Cargo is hoping to target a captive audience that has disposable income and a willingness to experiment. Consumer brands are also having their products sampled or purchased in a new and relevant channel, bypassing traditional convenience retail channels and creating a data-rich interaction with end customers; it also improves driver earnings, creating a win-win situation.
As a general point, there are a large number of high fixed-cost industries whose economics could benefit from even a modest increase in utilisation. An empty cinema complex on a weekday afternoon, a restaurant chain in the business district on weekends, a theme park with idle capacity outside of school holiday periods — all are examples where funding the ‘customer acquisition cost’ of a mobility fare to/from the venue could markedly improve business performance.
II. Mobility as a customer experience and loyalty platform
Propositions leveraging mobility to enhance the customer experience can create powerful economics for businesses and, in turn, improve customer value and loyalty.
For example, Tesco, one of the leading supermarket operators in the U.K., recently launched an initiative to install 2,400 EV charging stations across 600 sites, with a promise of ‘free’ trickle charging and paid upgrades to fast charging. On a stand-alone basis, the ability to break even on large charging infrastructure is unlikely to be possible for some time. However, when considering system economics — becoming the shopping destination of choice for EV owners (thus improving the customer experience and loyalty), and increasing dwell times while waiting for adequate charge to be achieved — the trade-off becomes more compelling, with potential for both customer volume increases and like-for-like shopping basket growth.
Where shopping baskets are of a sufficient value, a paid enhancement to the customer experience can help improve overall revenues by stimulating volumes and market share gains. Enterprise famously created the “We’ll pick you up” promise, which helped cement its position in off-airport car rental locations. However, the concept was not without friction — in part due to the need to make calls at least two hours in advance. On-demand mobility changes this paradigm. ViaForBusiness or Uber4Business are already creating the functionality for businesses to support their customers by integrating mobility services.
III. Mobility as an operations platform
Perhaps the most straightforward opportunity is the rewiring of operations to benefit from developments in new mobility. Diageo, the international beverage manufacturer, has partnered with Deliveroo and UberEats to deliver alcoholic beverages to consumers in homes on an on-demand basis. This new experimental channel is allowing a traditionally B2B2C company to increase its B2C presence, enabled by last-mile mobility. From a system perspective, bypassing the traditional distribution channels saves significant distribution cost while also reducing pricing pressure that is typically present in FMCG-retailer negotiations.
There are likely to be a number of use cases for on-demand mobility as a logistics application, where either part or the entirety of fleet requirements for a distribution venture could be served by more appropriate on-demand modes in a cost-effective (and a potentially carbon-effective) manner.
Economic and social benefits
The opportunities of MaaP are plentiful. Alongside being used as a platform for customer acquisition, customer experience and loyalty, and business operations, MaaP may also enable the corporate social responsibility agenda for large corporates. As carbon footprints, air quality and plastics consumption continue to be hot topics, the transition to electric, shared and on-demand mobility could dramatically change the economics of closed-loop supply chains. Furthermore, the landscape is ripe for mobility to be used as an accessibility platform, helping provide the elderly or infirm access to wider services to improve quality of life, or improving accessibility for disabled persons to become more actively involved in the workforce.
L.E.K.’s MaaP framework demonstrates the scope of opportunity available. Now it is time for businesses to consider how they can innovate, using these newly emerging mobility services and trends as a backbone for future growth.
Ashish Khanna is a Partner at L.E.K. Consulting, a global management consulting firm. He is the co-leader of L.E.K.’s global New Mobility practice and is an active commentator on the trajectory of transportation technology innovation across connectivity, sustainability and automation. He has been at the forefront in advising governments, infrastructure investors and businesses globally on the potential impact and opportunities arising from new mobility trends. Ashish holds an MBA with Distinction from INSEAD.
L.E.K. Consulting is a global management consulting firm that uses deep industry expertise and rigorous analysis to help business leaders achieve practical results with real impact. We are uncompromising in our approach to helping clients consistently make better decisions, deliver improved business performance, and create greater shareholder returns.
No one can doubt that the last 100 plus years has been kind to automotive retail. It has allowed ordinary people to develop a profitable business, and with appropriate management, one with longevity such that many businesses have been passed down through multiple generations. It has made some owners very wealthy indeed.
As car technology has improved and vehicle sales and servicing techniques refined, the concept of buying a wholesaled vehicle from an OEM and retailing it to a customer has changed surprisingly little. Even with the advent of the internet, the sales process remains remarkably similar to 30 years ago for most dealerships.
The introduction of Shared Mobility, and the future possibilities it brings, has the potential to bring some dramatic changes to this tried and true business model. Technology is certainly one driver for this potential change. Vehicle connectivity, autonomous driving, Shared mobility business models and electric vehicles, are coming together to bring all the ingredients needed to disrupt vehicle ownership. Additionally, there is an emerging change in attitudes regarding car ownership. Together, technology changes combine with societal changes have the potential to offer an alternative to the traditional dealer poor customer experience and expense of car ownership.
Most thought leaders in Shared Mobility cite a utopia of extremely low cost, fleet operated, on demand “Taxi Bots”, or autonomous Ubers, that pick people up and take them wherever they want to go, all for a small fraction of today’s ownership costs. This model creates the same convenience of today’s vehicle ownership, but with a much smaller impact on a household’s budget.
Love to drive or love to own: Shared Mobility brings low cost alternatives
While many dealers will cite a customer’s attachment to their vehicle and a desire to own as reasons for very limited change. However, research in the Annual Mobility Study has found that while more than 70% of people enjoy driving, fully 35% of respondents said that they would not own a car if they didn’t have to. Clearly love to drive and love to own aren’t the same thing or everyone.
The survey also found that Gen Z and millennials were also the least likely to enjoy driving, and the most likely to not own a vehicle if they didn’t have to. This generational shift in attitudes is also reflected in other ways, such as less likely to obtain a driver’s licence in their teen years, and more likely to spend money on experiences than purchases of vehicles or other expensive items.
This generation also places greater value on causal issues such as pollution and congestion reduction, equity and social justice; all issues that that can potentially be addressed through Shared Mobility transportation offerings.
To put it succinctly, Shared Mobility brings low cost alternatives to car ownership, and offers it to a generation who are much more likely to see the value in such a change.
Let’s take a closer look to see how dealers will fair in a Shared Mobility retail environment by examining their business through the SWOT business analysis model.
Timing is everything: Plan ahead for the on-demand revolution
By 2030, Vision Mobility forecasts that 30% of all new vehicle sales will be battery electric, while 12% will have ‘full’ Level 4/5 Autonomous capabilities. This means that while dealers do have time to determine a way forward and begin putting in place measures that will generate success in a Shared Mobility environment, there is significant urgency if a dealer wants to be on the forefront of change.
The obvious alternative to not being on the forefront of change is obsolescence through industry disruption, and we can site any number of companies and industries that were not able to make the breakthrough. CDs, film photography, DVD video rental – all relics of another age.
A clear path forward
The good news is that dealers can take advantage of their strengths and incumbent status to make the most of opportunities that Shared Mobility has to offer. Utilising a Car as a Service platform, like that provided by Ridecell to many different car sharing and micro-mobility operators, dealers can attract short-term usage customers who they have never seen before, some of whom will be in a position to buy soon after using the vehicle. Customers may also be retained when their life circumstances change, allowing their previous vehicle to be sold and a short-term vehicle used as needed. It also allows dealers to plan extended test drives and thereby maintain a relationship with a customer who does not purchase.
We’ve noticed in our own discussions with dealers that once the idea of CaaS is understood, dealers are able to quickly apply the concept to new opportunities in their own local trade area. Such ideas we’ve heard include providing shared vehicles for Uber and Lyft drivers, using low cost shared vehicles for low income families, targeting one off usage with pickup trucks, vans and luxury cars, and supporting local charities through low cost vehicle usage sponsorship.
A Car as a Service platform also has the advantage of improving demo and shuttle utilization, and improving inventory management by allow a rotation of vehicles on and off the CaaS program at the most opportune time. This results in improved usage efficiency of the vehicles on the ground, that not only generates significant cost savings over time, it allows the vehicles to generate revenue when they would otherwise just be sitting around.
However, it is how dealers can position themselves for Shared Mobility that we believe is the most valuable. Most experts believe that future mobility will heavily utilise low cost fleet operated taxi bots (autonomous Uber), and these vehicles must be operated by a Car as a Service platform, thereby creating a direct link to the future. In the meantime, the platform allows dealers to sharpen their fleet management skills and streamline their fixed operations side to accommodate such a program.
In summary, very significant change is coming to retail automotive over the next 10-15 years on a scale that has never been seen in its 100 year history. In order to survive and thrive, dealers must start taking active steps today to understand the coming impact of Shared Mobility and adopt new business strategies that will allow continued success for the future. The Car as a Service platform opens up many new possibilities today that compliments a dealer’s traditional activities, as well as positioning the dealership for a successful and prosperous future.
James Carter is Principal Consultant of Vision Mobility, and well known for his activities and thought leading discussion on the automotive and mobility retail environment in Shared Mobility. Prior to founding Vision Mobility, James spent 19 years with Toyota in Australia, Japan and North America in a variety of sales, marketing, strategy and operations roles, and has significant experience with dealership activities and process.
Mark Thomas is the VP of Marketing and Alliances at Ridecell and is responsible for marketing Ridecell, the world’s leading platform to build, operate and scale new car and ride sharing mobility services. Prior to joining Ridecell, Thomas headed the connected car marketing team at Cisco Jasper, where he developed the product and go-to-market strategies for automotive OEMs. Prior to Cisco, Mark led product marketing at HERE, a leading automotive maps company. In addition, Mark served in marketing, strategy, and business development roles at Apple and Nokia. Mark holds a B.A. from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
Photo by Zach Inglis on Unsplash
2012 was a breakthrough year for car clubs in the UK, with rapidly growing member numbers, high profile acquisitions and new entrants to the market, so much optimism surrounded the nascent industry that it was predicted at the time that there would be a million subscribers by 2020. In fact, in 2017 the total UK fleet was only 4000 vehicles* and while member numbers continue to grow, 85% are concentrated in London which only had 193,500*. For context in that time 680,000 more vehicles per year have been added to UK roads**.
So where are all the shared cars?
If you live in a city like London, you have access to a world class public transport system - you can chose underground trains, over-ground trains, buses and even boats; you also have the traditional black cab, a plethora of ride hail apps, docked bikes, dockless bikes and probably in the next few months e-scooters as well. On the rare occasions only a car will do, there are a number of car share clubs.
If you live in a town or village you probably have access to a public transport network (possibly an infrequent one) and a couple of the other services listed above such as a minicab service - but you are unlikely to be able to access a shared vehicle on a flexible hourly basis from a car club.
The rationale is simple: it’s a terrible idea to own a car in an urban environment, so even though city dwellers are better served with mobility options than anyone else, and rarely need a car to travel, car clubs operate in these markets to fulfil this occasional demand.
But is owning a car outside a city, say in a small town such a good idea either?
Cars are expensive to own and maintain, though given the damage they are causing to the environment and people’s health they should probably cost considerably more, they are parked 95% of the time and on the rare occasions they are used despite having 5 or more seats, most of the time they are only occupied by 1 person.
Shared vehicles, especially when combined with shared rides, seem an obvious answer especially for communities that lack other options. So why isn’t there a shared car on every street up and down the country?
The answer is simple - risk.
In fact, it’s the dual risk of taking on a high fixed cost for a vehicle, probably on a 2 or 3 year lease, and the risk that when it is in situ not enough people will use it.
With these two factors it becomes hard to make a business case to spread the undeniable benefits of access to shared vehicles beyond the biggest cities - so no one does. A solution which potentially offers communities in towns and villages the greatest benefits is never even offered to them.
The problem is that car sharing organisations continue to approach these risks from a traditional asset owning point of view, where service providers must also be asset owners. That seems at odds with other modern businesses, for example Uber (one of the largest taxi services in the world doesn’t own any cars) and AirBnB (the accommodation provider with no property) are frequently used retorts to that traditional model but are far from the only precedents. Businesses the world over no longer buy outright, or develop their own software applications, instead they use low cost, flexible Software-as-a-Service models and pay based on their usage.
Would a Vehicle-as-a-Service model offering low cost flexible access to businesses on a pay per use basis, rather than a fixed cost lease change the risk profile enough to make expansion outside the cities viable?
Of course, it would.
But here’s the rub, the price of admission to this brave new world is that the assets on which your business depends are no longer ‘your assets’. To address the second risk and make sure these shared vehicles are more fully utilised, that same vehicle you access and only pay for when you have demand, is also available simultaneously to lots of other services - even competing car share providers!
But it doesn’t just have to be car clubs, what about other uses that have demand in the hours between commuter peaks such as delivery companies. Fuelled by ecommerce the number of parcels delivered between 2005 and 2015 grew by 128% to approximately 31 billion a year. So for example when a car share car in a town is not being used to ferry people around, why could it not be used to make deliveries?
What about in the summer when no one is buying or travelling to work because they are all on holiday, why couldn’t the car be relocated and sent out on a month-long subscription via one of the start-ups offering short term leases such as WagonEx or Drover.
At Tomorrow’s Journey we have christened these liquid vehicle assets the sharable neutral fleet, it is the missing ingredient in new mobility that will allow it to scale and spread the benefits beyond densely populated areas.
But wait, what about...
The first objection any self-respecting car share club owner will be making at this point is ‘what about our brand, all our vehicles must be sign-written so people know they are ours’.
The answer is again a simple one, though the service owners themselves are keen to have their brands visible in the market, users aren’t really bothered about driving movable billboards. Coming back to parcel delivery for a second, such has been the growth in demand for these services that an army of individuals in their own vehicles deliver on behalf of the huge companies such as Amazon as part of the so-called gig economy. Global logistics giants like DHL also make many deliveries in unmarked rental vans. As far as I am aware customers are not calling Amazon, DHL or any of their rivals complaining that their parcel was not delivered in a branded van, as long as it was delivered on time the customer is satisfied. This was borne out in a paper called ‘Shifting Patterns: The future of the logistics industry’ written by PriceWaterhouseCoopers:
"Most private end-consumers are what we call ‘shipper-agnostic’: they don’t care who delivers their goods, as long as they get them reliably, quickly and cheaply."
Our relationship to brands has changed, many younger consumers are far more likely to respond to the recommendation of a friend than to an advert in any medium. Which means more than ever your brand is about the convenience of your service, the coverage, ease of use, the functionality of your app and your customer care - it is the consolidation of intangibles such as consistent experiences over time - not a decal on a car.
Other objections raised are equally easy to dismiss - who will clean and service the vehicle, how will it be insured, what happens if someone crashes it, what happens if someone gets a speeding ticket and so on. These are issues which daily rental and leasing companies have faced for decades, answers to all of which exist, and are in operation around the world today.
MK trials of a shared neutral fleet
As unlikely as it maybe to those who mock the new town of Milton Keynes for it’s roundabouts and slightly artificial nature, MK is a hotbed for mobility and transport innovation. The city has an ambitious and progressive council looking to technology and intelligent mobility to solve future challenges as it doubles in size in the coming decades. Aside from their support for various schemes such as Lime ebikes, on-demand shared transit service ViaVan, Starship delivery robots and the MK EV Centre, the government also located the Transport Systems Catapult (recently renamed the Connected Places Catapult after merging with the Smart Cities Catapult) in the city. It is also why Tomorrow’s Journey has decided to conduct the first small scale trial and the larger commercial pilot of our technology there.
The JRNY platform that we have developed at Tomorrow’s Journey makes the shared neutral fleet a reality. Companies whose vehicles have latent capacity can make them available to services with demand, if the asset and the services requirements are matched, JRNY pushes it seamlessly into that services app via an API. The mobility services end user would never know that JRNY had ever been involved, a bit like services such as Stripe or Worldpay today. We firmly believe the data we gather from these initial pilots will demonstrate an uplift in revenue for the asset owner, and a saving for the services using them, plus increased coverage for their customers.
Scale beyond any one provider
A shared neutral fleet in isolation is not the solution, just as electrification or autonomy are not, there will be complexity and regional variation because of culture, demographics, policy, even the weather, but what is universal is that using fewer assets much more fully, will go a long way to making mobility scalable, and bring the benefits of the transport revolution to a wider community.
*CarPlus Annual Survey: https://como.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Carplus-Infographics-2017-London-AW.pdf
**Vehicle Licensing Statistics: Annual 2016: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/608374/vehicle-licensing-statistics-2016.pdf
Nick is the cofounder and CMO of Tomorrow's Journey. He is a Chartered Institute of Marketing qualified marketer who has delivered campaigns for some of the world’s largest automotive brands. The JRNY platform developed by the team at Tomorrow's Journey connects vehicle assets from any supplier to multiple mobility service providers such as car share clubs simultaneously, because for mobility to scale assets must be shared.
New Mobility Services Will Change the World
New shared, on-demand mobility services – autonomous and human-driven – promise to transform transportation and urban living. Moving more people with fewer vehicles and with fewer kilometers driven can reduce congestion and pollution, enable new levels of productivity otherwise lost in long commutes, and make it possible to re-imagine cities around people instead of cars.
Solving the “how”?
Those are some of the big-picture benefits of new mobility services predicted by government officials, industry leaders, and journalists. For transportation planners and service providers, however, another question needs to be answered.
How will these new services work and how will they accomplish these lofty goals? More specifically, how will shared, on-demand services work in a specific city, with a specific population and travel patterns, and a specific transportation infrastructure? Even more locally-unique questions need to be answered: How many vehicles will be needed; how and where should they be deployed; will the economics be positive?
Shared on-demand mobility services are also fraught with risk, and multiple ventures—Bridj and Chariot in the U.S., Slide in the U.K, Kutsuplus in Finland—have fallen short of expectations for utilization, impact, transit improvement, and public acceptance. Problems with ridehailing services also now apparent as tens of thousands of additional vehicles prowl city streets, making traffic in U.S. cities 180 percent worse.
A challenge is how to plan for services that have not been widely used before. Before shuttering, Chariot CEO Dan Grossman told the San Francisco Business Times that the company’s initial approach was “hit the streets and see how it works,” much like ridehailing services had done. Public agencies often pilot programs to test performance, but these programs can be costly and don’t always generate enough data to predict service performance at scale.
The stakes are high, as growing cities must accommodate more people with the same transit and road infrastructures and harnessing new autonomous and human-driven mobility solutions has the potential to improve traffic and urban quality of life.
The Need for Orchestration
It is clear that new vehicles alone, as exciting as they may seem, don’t solve traffic and congestion issues. However, because services like ridehailing and micro-transit, and vehicles like autonomous shuttles and robotaxis are new, there are few playbooks for success. What’s needed is the ability to more precisely orchestrate fleets such that they can deliver a predictable level of performance for a specific service area with its unique demand profiles.
One way to better orchestrate mobility services is to simulate fleet performance in advance, designing the services to achieve optimal results before deployment—matching supply and demand such that vehicles are fully utilized and meet passenger expectations. Using realistic demand data and running dispatching, ride matching and routing tests can help to optimize operator and passenger convenience key performance indicators (KPIs) and to find the right balance between the number of vehicles needed, passenger comfort and cost-effectiveness.
Success by Design
Using service design to simulate fleet performance in advance of deployment can dramatically increase the odds that the service will perform as expected. A best practice is to use realistic travel demand data from transit agencies, taxi companies, or transportation network companies (TNCs) where available and use it to evaluate the performance of mobility services such as ridehailing, micro-transit, robotaxi, or autonomous shuttles.
For service providers, improving fleet efficiency and cost-effectiveness while maintaining a high service level are critical to success. The service design approach allows service providers and transit authorities to run realistic simulations by varying the service design parameters, the service area specifications, and the assumptions about the travel demand.
A 10-Fold Improvement in Efficiency?
For example, researchers at the University of Texas used computer models of a 10 by 10 mile area around Austin and found that one shared vehicle could replace nine single-occupancy vehicles with wait times from 20 seconds to five minutes. That’s likely even less than the time it would take people to get into their cars, park, and walk to their ultimate destinations.
To test this theory further, Bestmile data scientists conducted and published a study that took publicly available taxi data from the city of Chicago and used ride matching and dispatching intelligence to compare how a shared service could perform compared to the unshared taxi service. Every day more than 2,700 taxis carry some 31,000 riders on average in the Windy City. The study tested the ability of shared vehicles using different thresholds for wait times and excess ride times due to multiple pickups and drop-offs.
This study found that 200 shared vehicles could do work of the entire city taxi fleet with an average excess ride time of six minutes, and an average wait time of five minutes—a 10-fold improvement in efficiency. The shared fleet would travel 24,544 miles compared to the 40,389 miles driven by taxies. Operators can change conditions to impact outcomes—add vehicles, for example, to reduce wait and ride times.
Balancing Service Levels and Efficiency
Service design makes it possible to measure the ability of various fleet configurations to meet travel demand. Service providers can explore the fundamental trade-offs between the operator KPIs such as fleet size, vehicle locations, vehicle utilization, and miles/kilometers driven; and passenger KPIs such as wait times, and ride times with and without sharing. Studying these trade-offs enables providers to design the service that best fits their business goals and that suits their local ridership.
The potential of shared mobility services to dramatically reduce the number of vehicles needed to move people into, out of, and around cities is clear. The corresponding benefits of lower emissions congestion would likely follow. Using realistic data to simulate the capabilities of shared fleets can give planners much needed certainty around how these services can perform—far more valuable than a “hit the streets and see how it works” approach, and much less costly and time-consuming than a pilot project.
Public acceptance and utilization of these services is, of course, the ultimate test of viability. Every service provider will have to understand their own communities’ tolerances for wait times, ride time, and shared trips. Simulation provides the ability to test performance against these tolerances and determine the number of vehicles and the locations of services needed to meet these tolerances. The ability to predict and ultimately guarantee these passenger-related performance metrics can go a long way to making services successful.
To learn more about how service design can help ensure the success of shared on-demand mobility solutions, check the date for the live or recorded webinar, “On Demand Mobility Service Design: Making Fleets 10x More Efficient” at bestmile.com or register for our newsletter.
RAPHAËL GINDRAT CEO & COFOUNDER
Raphaël is a cofounder of Bestmile and as CEO he is the executive leader of the company’s business and technical teams. He is a
pioneer in the world of autonomous mobility, having led a project with Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne
with cofounder Anne Mellano to test and operate some of the first autonomous vehicle projects in Europe, after which organizers
of autonomous mobility projects from throughout the world requested their expertise in defining and managing autonomous
mobility trials. He is active in many global industry organizations including the World Economic Forum’s Tech Pioneers.
For more information, visit : bestmile.com
When Kim Jong-Un, North-Koreas Leader announced he would be traveling by train to Vietnam, where he would be meeting Donald Trump, he got little but sporn and derision. And admittedly, most people would not spend a second thinking whether to take a four and a half hours flight or a two days train for a distance of 2000 miles.
However, Kim Jong-Uns decision follows a global shift in the usage of means of transport. Factors such as increasing ecological awareness, readily available on demand services and unstable fuel prices, as well as a desire for more comfortable and time-efficient ways of traveling are altering the way people use and experience commuting and traveling. Comfort and time-efficiency are exactly the keywords for why we founded Enroute.
As a consequence of this shift in consumer behavior, less people than ever before even bother to use an own car; Only 69% of todays 19 years-old Americans have a drivers license, compared to 87% in 1983, according to the University of Michigan.
As a result, room for new technologies and companies that are trying to capitalize on the adjacent trends, accompanying new chances and evolving markets are opening up. Four main mobility trends will reshape the future of mobility.
On demand & sharing services
While on the one hand public local transport is having a hard stand in some regions, such as Chicago, where CTA, Chicago’s public transport service has experienced ridership losses, other alternative means of travel, both on long distance tracks and short distances are flourishing - their keyword: On demand!
Ride hailing services have seen record breaking rises in the recent years. Companies such as Uber, Gett or Ola have all set new records in 2018 in terms of revenue and passenger numbers. The ride hailing market is expected to be valued at $1.5 Trillion by 2030, and just recently, Uber was valued at around $120 Billion by Forbes. With global penetration rate (currently 8.1%) being expected to hit 10.6% by 2023, equaling nearly 835 Billion ride hailing passengers in 2023 this market is set to revolutionize the way people use and own cars in big cities.
Another driver of this shift in consumer behavior is the availability of car pooling and sharing methods, both peer-to-peer and through B2C services. Nearly all big car manufacturers have started to prepare themselves and offer their own car sharing services, such as Daimler with Car2Go. Susan Shaheen, America’s leading professor in the field of transportation study from Berkeley University conducted a survey on this service in five American cities, amongst them Washington D.C., with remarkable results. Firstly, on average, every Car2Go vehicle added to the streets of these cities can replace 7-11 private cars, significantly reducing people’s greenhouse emissions (on average 10% per person). Secondly, this could not only help to reduce environmental damage, but also help to reduce traffic and thus drastically reduce the time it takes to commute in big cities.
The idea of sharing does not only occur in the context of the physical car itself, but also during actual rides. Major cab apps, like my taxi, Europe’s biggest cab app, offer the possibility to connect with other people that share near destinations and so reduce on the costs per person and the environmental impact through sharing a cab.
Concerning long-distance rides, the use of private cars still is the unattainable market leader. However, established alternatives, such as the Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s rail service, have seen record-breaking years in terms of passenger numbers as well. In the case of the mentioned, special offers and reduced fares have helped propel the number of Deutsche Bahn’s passengers above the record of 142 Million passengers, set in 2017.
And, in line with the shift towards shared rides in cities, comparable services for long-distance rides, such as BlaBlaCar have experienced years of growth, having reached 70 Million members.
All of those alternative means of travel have one thing in common: They can improve on a current, major market inefficiency - private cars, sitting unused 95% of the time seem to be more and more replaceable by such services in cities. Besides, most western countries rely on politically unreliable and instable partners for their supply of gas. With the price stability of gas being volatile, and dependent on such countries, this just gives a further incentive towards reducing on the need of this resource.
Besides the ecologic opportunities that arise through this global shift in passenger behavior to new, shared transportation services, many of these means promise a more comfortable, passenger-friendly way of traveling, allowing its customers to focus on other things during their journey.
Electrification and inter-connectivity of vehicles
The electrification of fleets, be it shared or privately owned vehicles is another trend in progress - Tesla, the worlds most famous builder of purely electrically powered vehicles has just become profitable and also established players like Volvo, BMW and more are increasingly building hybrid cars, a step towards electrically powered vehicles.
However, not only the fuel is being electrified, but also the exchange of data, i.e. interconnectivity between vehicles and between different adjacent systems within the car is relying on an increasing automatization and electrification of cars. With 116 Million connected cars in the US alone by 2025, each generating roughly 25 gigabytes data per hour, the total amount of generated and usable data in the US alone will amount to roughly 25 Billion terabytes per year by 2025.
Autonomous Vehicles and the creation of a new market
One of the most prominent use cases for the created data is the development of autonomous vehicles. With cars being able to communicate, the security concerns about fully automated drivers may eventually prove to be ungrounded - Rather opposite, the electrification of cars is a crucial step towards increasing security through enabling autonomous vehicles to predict traffic situations far before human drivers could. And so, being on the edge of technologically allowing for autonomous driving, with many test rides already having taken place, the eventual arrival of the driverless future is not a question of whether or not, but of when. Requiring and further causing the creation of cloud stored data, autonomous vehicles will be the last to mention major driving factor of the creation of a new market: Car data monetization.
Looking at the global amount of data to be created, it gets clear, that these huge amounts of created data will need adjacent and vertically integrated sub-technologies to be processed, secured and eventually used in a benefiting way, not only by car manufacturers, ride hailing services and other directly involved parties, buch especially by subsequent sectors like AM, insurance companies and commerce and more.
According to McKinsey, the revenue pool of car data monetization aggregates to $450-750 Billion. As the requirement of a more vertically integrated supply chain for this market, consisting of mobility services, car manufacturers and all sectors that can use this data, is obvious, it is yet unclear who will possess the data. It seems likely, that strategic partnerships will eventually be key to controlling and processing this data, and thus to creating as much revenue as possible out of it. The race for laying the foundation for this has already started and, given the many opportunities that arise for the customers out of the developments in mobility, can be thought nearly indefinitely broadly.
Promising though it theoretically is, the capitalization still is subject to the customers appreciation for the use and processing of the generated data, which itself depends on whether or not they recognize a value. McKinsey’s survey found out, that for a majority of the customers, this happens to be the case as soon as there are clear security- and/or convenience-related benefits. That means, the market must mature in so far as that technologies need not only create a benefit, but advertise and lobby for the benefits - As all features of the mobility market seem to be broadly supplied, the visibility of one’s benefit to the customers is crucial to one’s competitive advantage.
While the possession of the data and the availability of it still need to be regulated in general, it seems likely that the directly involved mobility services and car manufacturers will be among the main stakeholders. That theoretically puts them in a very promising position, however, as with every groundbreaking change, there can be expected winners and losers. The necessity for laying the foundations now, through strategic partnerships, technological innovation and the most reliable market predictions has started a race against time, and most importantly against competition.
In car time monetization trends
The other market, also supplying and consuming the created data and being based on the electrification and connection of vehicles is the in car time monetization. With the autonomous vehicles being expected to create 600 Billion hours of free time for passengers, the market for in car time monetization is estimated to add up to a value of $472 Billion annually!
This is one of the examples where the foundations are being laid now through strategic partnerships. While the possibility of working from home is currently being promoted in broad parts of the population, at least partly driven by the desire to not lose working time in commute traffic, better connected, autonomous cars may soon allow the optimal use of the commute time for working, but also for other productive activities. One of those activities is shopping, for some a necessity, for others a fun activity. In any case, already now shopping is the preferred activity for around 20% of all commuters, as different studies around this field indicate. As a such, a study by CEBR UK, a business consultancy showed that 20% of all UK eCommerce is happening during the morning commute, suggesting the “commuting mCommerce market“ to be worth GBP 29.04 Billion as of today, and underlining the huge potential of this new market on a global scale.
Furthermore, an adjacent study by Enroute, an Israeli startup targeting this market confirms these figures with data on the USA, where 20.3% of Washington D.C. commuters mentioned to use their time commuting for shopping.
Enroute in general is a good example of what the displayed mobility trends lead to: Using and creating car data that is analyzed by internal algorithms, Enroute creates a personalized shopping platforms for its customers, that, in cooperation with Enroute’s mobility partners in the ride hailing and sharing segment, allows passengers to reduce their costs of traveling - a visible and easily understandable benefit to the customer and the mobility services. Reducing the costs of travel is, after all, the decisive factor for whether or not, private cars can and will be replaced by shared and alternative means of transport. We believe in the environmental, but especially social and economic opportunities created through this shift in transportation behavior and subsequently aim to do our part in supporting and driving this new era of travel, enabling our customers to enjoy the newly created “enroute-time“. Working together with Deutsche Bahn, we have already achieved this: With a staggering average basket of 119€, our customers have been able to enjoy their ride with a fun activity, while traveling for much reduced fares; The retailers they shopped at paid for a share of the price of the journey, according to the value of purchases in their stores - up until the ride was free.
In the future, “Enroute“ will be understood even more literally by our service; Setting up a click & collect system, we will allow passengers to stop by shops that indeed are “en - (their) route“, which will help to reduce e.g. on emissions caused through the complex delivery processes of online bought articles.
To conclude, it is clear that in the future we will see more of these interconnections. Mobility has evolved to a complex and multi-facial market, and will further do so in future. The more of the new technological opportunities companies will be able to supply and use at the same time, the better they seem positioned in a world of increasing complexity of services and interconnection of businesses. And while complexity will be reflected in many core businesses accompanying this trend, sometimes easier ideas can make a difference - such as shopping on the way and riding for free…
By Boyd Cohen, Ph.D., CEO of Iomob & Phil Williams, Director of Strategic Projects, Iomob
We all know that the current mobility marketplace is broken. There are thousands of mobility providers, but they don’t connect together well, if at all. How are people supposed to discover, book and pay for so many different mobility services in the cities they live in or visit? And how can they possibly combine together in the most convenient way, when it usually takes more than one mode to get to their destination?
Enter Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) solutions. Instead of fragmentation, MaaS aims to support the transition from car dependence to mobility access, in a seamless way with one application.
There are at least four categories of MaaS.
1) Journey planners. Services like Google maps help people explore different modes of travel from A to B. As the dominant mapping app for most smart phone users, Google certainly has a strong share of the market. But they don’t provide truly multimodal (or intermodal) routing combinations, they have a limited number of mobility services, and Google does not enable users to book, onboard or pay for services. While Google has been adding a few new mobility services to its discovery engine, it’s very far away from giving users access to the full diversity of services in cities.
2) Vertically integrated mobility services. Big providers like Uber, Lyft and Grab have begun to offer access to services beyond ridehailing. Uber’s new additions include Jump scooters and public transit ticketing inside their app. This offers users a benefit of having seamless access to discover, book and pay for some services. But this is heavily limited to the services they already own and operate, and a few others they have chosen to partner with. It’s monopolistic and doesn’t create a healthy marketplace.
3) “Traditional” MaaS. When we say traditional, we’re not referring to long lifespans… we’re referring to the classical understanding of MaaS, driven by pioneers such as Whim. They operate a B2B2C marketplace, through their own branded app. This model started with the idea of negotiated agreements with the largest provider of each mode of service in the market (e.g. the largest scooter sharing company, largest taxi fleet, the public transit agency) to offer users access to plan, route, book and pay for these services as they go, or with a subscription fee. The services created are useful, but still closed systems. They also disconnect MSPs from the customer, because brand loyalty transfers to the MaaS brand.
4) The Internet of Mobility, or “open MaaS”, is a new concept Iomob advocates. In an Internet of mobility (IoM), every mobility device can be connected to a protocol, and connected to any end user app connected to the protocol. The benefits of this approach are that it democratizes access to the ecosystem for startups, small businesses and any legal provider of mobility services. Cities and transit operators keep their brand relationships with customers while offering a full range of mobility services. The network effect is open.
If the internet of mobility were to expand on a global scale this means any mobility service could connect to an underlying IoM protocol anywhere in the world, regardless of their size or current user base, and gain equal access to travelers who are using any app connected to the protocol.
This supports more innovation and equity in the mobility ecosystem. Providers can easily launch a new service, even if they only have one or a handful of vehicles.
It will provide a superior user experience, by combining any services connected to the protocol. The best routing options are provided to the user, by the best available vehicle for them based on criteria such as speed, price and user preferences. The marketplace can’t be skewed by a central private operator to favor one type of travel, in order to raise profits. Routes shown are fast and fair.
The city of Madrid just approved 18 licenses to operate scooter sharing services in Madrid. This free market approach in mobility is great, as it encourages companies to continue to innovate and offer competitive pricing to keep customers happy. But do we really expect residents to download and onboard 18 different scooter apps, then open each one of them to find the nearest one? Then open yet more apps to ride the metro, once they’ve finished with the scooter?
The internet of mobility solves this problem. It still allows mobility companies to compete for users. But it also allows them to collaborate in a seamless, behind-the-scenes way. Imagine the benefit not just for locals, but for visitors of the city. They can access any local scooter, and a full range of other public and private services, without having to download 18 apps.
Lastly and most powerfully, the internet of mobility can enable “global mobility roaming”. Because the same mobility protocol can be spoken everywhere, each person’s home city or country app can discover services when they travel to a new city. They don’t have to sign up for dozens of new services… they just use the app they’re already familiar with, and pay for them in the same way.
The world of mobility is full of promise. We’re just beginning to build out the digital infrastructure that will connect all the exciting new services together. But we need to ensure that the new digital infrastructure is open, so that users can find the right services, at the fairest price, any time.
Only if the future is open will the full promise of MaaS be realized, accelerating the transition towards a lower carbon, less car dependent multimodal ecosystem.
We are in a race towards a world of smart autonomous mobility. A world that aims to free us from the manual act of driving, allowing us to make better use of our time as on-board passengers.
However, the industry consensus in 2019 is that autonomous technology is much harder to deploy on public roads than once thought. As published by the California DMV, autonomous vehicles encounter situations they cannot handle on their own, requiring the intervention of safety drivers.
What if we told you that it's possible to fully realize all the benefits of autonomous mobility, in 2019, without having a safety driver behind the wheel?
The Three Major Benefits of Level 4 Fleets
There are three major benefits to level 4 fleets:
While a driver behind the wheel will ensure safety, it won't reduce costs or improve access. The only way to unlock all three benefits of level 4 fleets is via Advanced Teleoperation (ATO™), a platform that enables remote human operators to intervene in a safe and secure manner when needed.
Why Advanced Teleoperation (ATO™) Wins Where Direct Teleoperation Fails
In direct teleoperation, a remote operator manually drives the vehicle as though he were in the vehicle itself. However, not being in the vehicle means that direct teleoperation suffers from multiple problems:
● Vehicle blind spots and hampered situational awareness make it impossible to drive as well as an in-vehicle driver.
● The safety of direct teleoperation depends entirely on network conditions. High latency and low bandwidth could make the difference between life and death.
● Human operators can and will make mistakes due to distraction or misjudgement.
In advanced teleoperation, a remote operator provides real-time insight and instructions, which the vehicle translates into specific actions. An example of this system is path choice, in which the vehicle sends all executable paths for the teleoperator to choose from:
Path choice: multiple executable paths presented to the teleoperator
Another method is path drawing, in which teleoperators draw out a desirable path for the vehicle to execute. In the rare event that remote driving (via steering wheel and pedals) is necessary, Ottopia’s proprietary and patent-pending Advanced Teleoperator Assistance System, or ATAS™, maximizes safety and security. For example, if a teleoperator misjudges the distance to a nearby obstacle, or when cellular network conditions cause high latency or communication failures, Ottopia’s vehicle-side algorithms ensure zero collisions. We will cover Ottopia’s ATAS™ in future articles.
ATAS™- Advanced Teleoperator Assistance System - maximizes the safety and security of every ride by preventing vehicle collisions even when network connectivity is suddenly lost.
So how do the benefits of advanced teleoperation compare with alternative methods of fulfilling the promise of level 4 fleets?
Advanced teleoperation allows for human intervention to happen smoothly and safely. Ottopia provides the most advanced teleoperation platform, which is comprised of 3 core technologies necessary for maximum safety - ATAS ™, network optimization and bonding, and an ultra-low video transport.
Traditional public transport models must evolve to meet growing demand for flexible, sustainable mobility. Demand-responsive shuttles hold the key to revolutionize the market and reduce dependence on private vehicles.
Our cities are growing. The United Nations predicts 66% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, up from 54% in 2014. This means increased congestion and demand for transport services. By contrast, rural areas with falling populations are already experiencing public transport cuts due to the cost of maintaining low-demand routes.
In parallel, people are increasingly demanding personalized mobility that adapts to their needs, not the other way around. Apps integrating multiple modes of transport into a single platform (Mobility as a Service, MaaS) are changing the way we access services. Similarly, the ‘sharing economy’ and the ability to easily request, track, and pay for trips via mobile devices have led to an explosion in ride-hailing services.
Shared mobility should mean fewer cars on the roads. However, a recent US study found greater numbers of single- or low-occupancy ride-hailing vehicles are actually causing increased congestion.
Transport accounts for around a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in Europe alone. To tackle the challenges of pollution and scarce urban space, we need sustainable solutions that improve on current models of car dependency and inflexible or inefficient public transport.
Shared occupancy, demand-responsive transit (DRT) is being hailed as one answer. A recent report from Frost & Sullivanpredicts DRT shuttles will account for 50% of the shared mobility market by 2030. They forecast DRT market growth from $2.8 billion in 2017 to $551.61 billion, and an increase in fleet size from 24,100 units to 5.8 million by 2030.
DRT uptake will be driven by smart city initiatives, governmental and mobility policies, reduced car ownership and a shift towards multimodal and intermodal transportation.
Much of this growth will be in Europe–currently the largest shared mobility market–and China. With shuttles already substituting public transport, the Asia-Pacific region constitutes one of the biggest DRT markets and will account for over 60% of growth in fleet size.
The US is also experimenting with different models and should see strong mid to long term growth. In other regions like Latin America, however, shuttles compete with existing shared transportation, while the potential market in Africa is even smaller.
DRT shuttles combine the affordability of public transport with the convenience of single-occupancy rides. Accessible transport promotes social inclusiveness as citizens of all income levels are able to commute to work within a reasonable time. Flexible scheduling, stops and routing in response to user demand also make them cost-effective to run.
The ITF Forum suggests substituting all car trips for on-demand shuttles would also have a positive effect on the urban environment by freeing up parking space and road lanes. This could then be repurposed for public use.
Since DRT shuttles generally complement public transport, Frost & Sullivan recommend public-private partnerships to expand the market and effectively deploy resources. They suggest asset-heavy services could be run in collaboration between different service providers, or through custom-built technology platforms.
Shotl is working to make this a reality by providing Shotl On-demand Shuttle services to transportation professionals and users. Our platform matches multiple passengers traveling in the same direction with an available vehicle and allows users to book a ride via their smartphone. We aim to help public transport authorities replace low-ridership routes with efficient, optimized mobility and reduce dependence on private vehicles.
Shotl is helping revolutionize mobility with services in Germany, France, Spain, Italy, UK, Switzerland, Portugal, Finland, and the US.
Autor: Shotl On-demand Shuttles
Description of the product
Shotl is a mobility platform for transport operators, municipalities, corporations and business parks that matches multiple passengers headed in the same direction with a moving vehicle.
Shotl licenses a software to implement and operate flexible on-demand transport services, combining technology, knowledge and technical support to deliver a demand responsive flexible transport that is able to adapt to the traveller’s needs by bringing together random users with similar destinations on a shared van or minibus, all in real time.
Application of the product
Shotl On-demand Shuttles is a platform for mass transport operators and smart cities that matches multiple passengers headed in the same direction with an available vehicle.
At Shotl, we want to help cities and corporations make a better use of its bus system by replacing low-ridership routes with on-demand shuttles in order to lead a progressive transition from a primarily car-based personal mobility towards a future multi-modal integrated mobility.
The mission of Shotl is to help reduce congestion in our cities and bring down carbon emissions up to 30% while improving people access to jobs and public services.
T: +34 937 370 447
C/ Jesús Serra Santamans, 2
Sant Cugat, Barcelona
With the boom of digitization, people have become spoiled. Spoiled with speed, selection and seamless services. We want to be greeted by our name, we want you to remember what we like - and what we absolutely don’t like. We are the consumers and you are the software. The same amount of personalization that we (used to) expect from our local car rental, we now expect from any mobility service.
By Sigrid Dalberg-Krajewski, Trafi
UX trickling down the mobility lines
People are used to great user experience from tech companies such as Facebook, AirBnB, Twitter, Foodora, Zalando and other pioneer solutions within e-commerce or digital services. How does this affect the mobility? Well, as more and more mobility providers transition into being digital players, they starting point is an already extremely high level of customer expectation. Every mobility operator is claiming to offer a new solution that will make our day to day life easier. But if the UX is complicated, buggy or slow, you’ve already proven that your solution is not going to make anything particularly easy. When pairing up with a tech innovator to make your mobility service all that people expect and more, I would partner with a company that has a strong focus on customer interface, and perhaps even one that has a user facing element themselves. Companies like that - including Trafi - know just how important it is to make MaaS as convenient to use as your Netflix account.
Who will be the Amazon of transportation?
MaaS is one of the most important platform businesses that is currently shaping the entire mobility industry. From ride hailing companies and public transit agencies, to OEMs and digital giants like Google, we see companies going from providing one service to wanting to become “the Amazon of Transportation" (credits for this specific wording goes to Uber). Trafi is one of the frontrunning companies that can help potential partners to go from “one offer only” to a fully comprehensive mobility service. So what partners are we looking for? All of the above. Trafi wants to collaborate with municipalities and transport providers alike - our mission is to create connected cities powered by our software and improved with our analytics.
It’s a platform’s world
If I would get one Euro for all the times someone has asked me if there will be "one app to rule them all" in terms of mobility, I would be a very rich woman. Not only financially, but also verbally for the various versions of “No” that I have to come up with. I strongly believe that there won’t be one mobility service that will dominate the entire market. However, I do believe in a major consolidation of existing platforms. This will force new partnerships (especially for micromobility companies) and a natural selection of who’s staying in - and winning - the game. There will be a segment of global giants and another one of local heroes. Let’s say a top three that varies across cities or countries, where a handful of global versions will compete for a place on the prize podium together with a few national early innovators. The biggest winners will be the ones that can combine the highest number of options with the best user experience for the largest amount of people. This is good news for Trafi, because our technology is designed to enable mobility services for partners with a lot of reach.
User vs citizen perspective
Furthermore, there will be strategic alliances between cities and private initiatives to allow broader access to mobility. Mobility will be increasingly an open platform, from APIs to ease of access, and we need to start treating mobility as a free market place that we must interconnect. One way of achieving this can be to power national countrywide solutions, to allow “roaming” for users and remove friction of travelling in between countries or regions. This would also enable an even larger base of information to enhance the entire ecosystem of mobility. Taking a closer look on country by country, we will also see differences between regions emerging. In the US, where PT is not the backbone of mobility, private players like Uber and Lyft will take the role of integrators and aggregators. In the EU it is rather the public transit agencies that will lead this development and function as a neutral platform for urban mobility.
In short: the user is the most essential component of a mobility service. We have to give consumers what they want, and realize what that is before they do. Today it is a digital one stop shop for mobility. Tomorrow? Let’s talk.
Safa Alkateb, CEO at Autocab, discusses what lessons we can learn from the taxi industry as we look to build the transport model of the future.
Old habits die hard – especially when it comes to an individual’s preferred mode of transport. There are many reasons why, despite the high running costs and environmental pitfalls involved in using them, millions of us still rely on our cars to get around – they offer us convenience and independence.
But pressure on governments to address rising emissions and a growing public drive for sustainable living means that the tide is gradually turning. The growth of the TaaS model will be a big factor in facilitating this move away from private car ownership.
To encourage an enduring shift in mindset and behavior though, we need to make sure transport services are universally appealing and reliable. To this end, taxi and private-hire firms have tailored their services, with many using technology to better meet customer demands and put themselves at the forefront of the transport revolution.
Drawing on experience
Many of us choose to take a taxi when we don’t have access to a car. Taxis offer a reliable and speedy service to customers, which isn’t always the case with other modes of transport. These differences have become ever more salient in the digital age.
The instant availability and customisable vehicle choice that taxi companies can now offer through their apps is not only preferable but necessary for some individuals. Being able to select vehicle-type is fundamental for those with accessibility needs, for example. Similarly, for those attending hospital appointments or work meetings, the convenience of checking journey times and booking a taxi via an app is unrivalled.
The past few years have seen more local firms take the lead with regards to innovation, with most people having now downloaded a taxi app on their phones. This is a huge step in the development of a TaaS network and has placed taxi firms front and centre in the future mobility mix.
Sharing data is key
In order for the TaaS model to permanently supersede private car ownership in its appeal, the transport system will need to operate in a frictionless and reactive manner to ensure passengers’ expectations are met.
Data will be the backbone for building such an on-demand system, feeding into decision- making by operators and infrastructure development by governments. Ultimately, it will take a joint effort between transport providers, consumers and governments to get us there.
With millions of journeys being booked via their apps, taxi companies have a bank of knowledge and insight into the most frequented routes and passenger preferences. So transport planners would do well to tap into this data as they design our network for the future.
The taxi industry has already managed to enhance its own service offering via data sharing. Firms in big cities such as London and Liverpool have recently undergone technology ‘soft-merges’ in order to pass jobs to one another and give themselves access to a larger combined fleet. Such innovation serves as a great blueprint for how collaboration can move the TaaS revolution forward.
Digital by design
Checking times and paying for your transport via an app doesn’t seem too far-fetched an idea in today’s digital world. However, in the UK, some public transport outside major cities still operates traditionally, with static timetables and paper ticketing. Whilst apps do exist for certain public transport companies, gaps remain in making booking and payment systems fully digital.
Taxi and private-hire companies on the other hand, have transformed the booking experience for customers through use of apps and chatbots. A smooth-running app that provides end-to-end journey coverage will be the least that commuters should expect when shifting to TaaS.
This scope to offer integrated travel is an important development which the transport industry should take heed of. Analysts envision a future TaaS ecosystem where people use multiple modes of travel – bus, train, taxi and hire car, with on-demand services there to fulfil our last-mile needs. Learning from and capitalizing on the frontline technology currently used by the taxi industry will certainly help to make this vision a reality.
Beyond the commute
The capabilities that are on offer once TaaS picks up speed are extensive. Technology in transport lends itself to use in other industries – beyond fulfilling the traditional role of moving people from A to B, it could help us to deliver goods speedily and at a lower cost, for example.
Collaborations between taxi companies and retailers would offer a range of benefits for businesses and consumers. Delivery fleets currently travel great distances between depots, warehouses and customer locations. Inner city travelling is often the most time-consuming for delivery drivers due to congestion on the roads and unfamiliarity with the area.
This problem could easily be resolved once local taxi firms step-in to assist with last-mile logistics. Local drivers have in-depth knowledge of the areas they cover, are aware of any short-cuts and traffic patterns. Furthermore, this ability for drivers to pick-up delivery tasks during quieter periods would help them to increase their own income.
The taxi industry is also currently instrumental in shifting corporate travel towards TaaS. Having access to an inter-connected transport network reduces uncertainty for travel managers and offers a more relaxed journey for employees. Instead of the hassle of booking your car rental and taxi separately, business travelers will be able to book all transport for their trip via a multi-purpose app.
The TaaS network of the future holds massive potential to reconfigure our transport habits and preferences. The progress and innovation in the taxi industry to date demonstrates that data and adaptability will have in this new network. As arguably the first innovators in TaaS, taxi companies have helped to bring more personalised and sustainable journeys within arm’s reach.
About Safa: Safa Alkateb was appointed CEO of Autocab in 2012. He is passionate about the continued development and successful deployment of software and strategies to align the ground transportation industry and the car manufacturing industry.
About Autocab: Having sold their first system in 1991, Autocab has grown to become the largest supplier of booking & dispatch systems in the world today. Their bespoke cloud-based SaaS solutions help power over 1000 companies, and process over 1 million jobs every day.
How to choose the best technology platform for your new mobility service, from free-floating and station-based sharing to ride hailing, pooling and last-mile deliveries.
This article explains how technology platforms help kickstart new transportation services, such as free-floating and station-based sharing, ride hailing & pooling and last-mile deliveries.
The author shares criteria for choosing the right technology platform and shows how a modular architecture allows businesses to respond to market dynamics.
New mobility services don’t have it easy starting out in a competitive market in which it’s about eating or being eaten. Reducing time-to-market to get ahead of the competition and the ability to rapidly expand and adapt to new market conditions are essential factors determining long-term success. A strong technology partner is the best way to ensure that your focus can stay on the business side of things, such as acquiring new customers, while maintaining a strong product-market fit along the way. The question is, how do you identify which technology platform works best for your venture?
The power of technology platforms
With the right technology partner you have the choice of utilising a technology platform as the backbone of your business and even build large-scale transportation services without an own dedicated engineering team. It’s your technology partner’s job to provide the infrastructure and systems your business needs to launch and scale a competitive product. This doesn’t mean however that the technology powering your new mobility business has to be built from the ground up. In fact, apart from the obvious financial difference there are several reasons that speak against starting from scratch and instead relying on established technology platforms to launch your business.
Technology platforms help you launch your business faster, with tried and tested components and apps that can get you up and running within weeks. With the right technology platform as the backbone for your business, you can rely on a complete technology solution, from hardware, mobile and web apps to integrations with your existing software systems.
Choosing the right technology partner and platform can be a difficult process, as it’s not only important to look at your short term requirements and goals, but also your long-term strategy to determine the best fit. And this is where it gets tricky. Every business will evolve over time and although it would be nice – iterations of your business won’t always adhere to a pre-planned roadmap. And as such, there won’t be one technology solution that fits all of your current and future requirements without hands-on collaboration with your technology provider. That is why flexibility matters to ensure that you and your technology partner stay aligned along the way.
A problem with many technology platforms is that you are forced to adapt to a premade solution that in turn doesn’t adapt to your requirements. This can result in your business lacking a unique selling proposition, distinctive customer experience and the ability to adapt to new market conditions. Standard solutions only make sense up to the point at which they hinder your competitiveness. In a sea full of copycats, in which high growth and customer satisfaction are key, these can be make-or-break factors determining your long-term success.
Here are important short- and long-term factors we’d recommend you to look out for in the search for the right technology platform:
Time to market and customisation
The right technology platform should offer a balance between off-the-shelf set-ups, prebuilt components, configurable branding and custom feature development. With the right mix development time can be held at a minimum, without making compromises that restrict competitiveness.
For most new mobility services an off-the-shelf set-up can create a strong basis that can be up and running almost instantly. These solutions should already include the main components you need, such as mobile apps, web dashboards and depending on your business hardware, such as telematics systems. It’s important that these components offer the necessary amount of customisation and white-labeling options, from adapting onboarding and booking flows to ensuring branded customer touchpoints. Additional integrations to tools, such as CRM systems, analytics platforms and customer support software, transform your service from a purely technological stack to an end-to-end business solution.
Long-term competitiveness and the ability to expand your service over time
The success of your new mobility service is determined by the strength of your product-market fit and the ability to adapt your business over time. Paying customers and high retention rates aren’t easily obtained overnight – they require testing out your service in real market conditions as soon as possible. Customer feedback and real-world learnings can then be leveraged to iterate all parts of your business, from your marketing strategy and target markets to the service offering itself. This is also invaluable for building up a sustainable USP to differentiate your service from the competition.
That is why technology platforms that are designed with a modular infrastructure that can be changed and expanded are so powerful, as they can keep up with this kind of active/reactive behaviour. It’s also important to ensure that your technology stack isn’t a closed system, but open to collaboration and in support of your business development. As you scale up your business, this kind of flexibility gives you the freedom to expand your offering by building and launching additional services.
M-TOOLS is the modular technology platform that minimises development time and offers maximum flexibility to transform and scale innovative services in mobility & logistics such as such as free-floating and station-based sharing to ride hailing, pooling and last-mile deliveries.
With powerful APIs & Backend Services, intuitive Mobile & Web Apps and seamless integrations of the world’s leading marketing tools the “technology platform for transportation ventures“ offers a comprehensive range of tools to empower operation teams, create intuitive customer expectations and drive business efficiency and growth.
Learn more about M-TOOLS here:
There are no silver bullets to solving the challenges of modern day transport. Congestion in cities continues to be a growing problem with the need for innovative solutions more important than ever. Integrated transport, and in particular, door to door transport, requires a new way of thinking. This will break down the silos in transport and create an environment for collaboration across all market players. Policy must complement the technologies that are being made available in order to provide a safer, more efficient use of the transport network.
The delivery of a successful Transport as a Service (TaaS) capability hinges on a number of complementary parts. These include:
1. Ready availability and suitability of transport options to the travelling public
2. Trust in the digital services and the information that support these options
3. Seamless payment mechanisms
4. Integration of the transport services
5. Personalisation to reflect the group and individual needs of the travelling public
Traditionally, the immediate consideration for transport provision has focused on physical elements. The first step in the delivery of transport has consisted of the building of new roads, the laying of new tracks and the creation of new vehicle types.. Now, digital infrastructure has become an equally important element which must be considered in parallel to physical assets. in order to make transport fit for purpose for the needs of the travelling public.
The creation of a mobility platform will play a key role in this. It will look to address the requirements of seamless integrated transport by creating a digital infrastructure that will act as the foundation to the delivery of new services that complement the physical elements. This can include the following:
Policy Based Operating Model
Policy and legislation are central to successful deployment. Without these, there is no co-ordinated mechanism to either manage or take advantage of new technologies and routes to job creation for a growing industry.
A mobility platform can establish an integrated operating model for the different players in this diverse ecosystem and create an environment where testing of new concepts, sharing of knowledge and development of customer focused solutions is possible.
The operating model can utilise new developments in technology in order to allow private organisations to share information in a safe and secure fashion. This requires both leadership at an individual organisation level and national level. Policies need to be put in place to incentivise this change of behaviour as well as ensuring that a sustainable deployment is feasible.
Governments can play a role to develop a technology-driven policy position that protects the needs of the travelling public and encourages economic growth of a diverse kind due to the creation of a systems-based approach to TaaS deployment and job creation.
Governance and Trust
For the delivery of services in a public operated environment, there is a need to ensure that the data exchanged is fit for purpose. It will be a requirement of the overall system that this data is continuously checked, managed and governed in order to ensure a consistent and auditable data trail in the event of an emergency or other scenario where the data flow is unclear and needs to be established. Checks and balances need to be put in place through an independent body. This will secure the trusted operation for the travelling public as well as guarantee the privacy and ownership concerns of the relevant bodies.
In a Governance framework, there are three important parts;
Data is at the heartbeat of the revolution underway within transport. Linked to this, Digital Services is the ability both to create as well as digest data in order to provide timely and correct information. This data to information capability will be the backbone of ensuring that transport is adapted to meet the needs of the travelling public but also so that the services the operating companies provide are fit for purpose and add value. A number of key areas must be addressed including:
It’s no secret that the automotive industry is focused on a future that is connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE). But whilst untold resources have been put into realising this future, there does remain a question mark over consumers’ perceptions of and willingness to adopt these technologies.
When it comes to electric vehicles (EVs), recent data does suggest that consumer appetite for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) is growing. Indeed, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reports that there was a year on year increase of 20.9% in new AFV sales and 26.9% increase in used AFV sales between 2017 and 2018. This trend is also supported by Auto Trader’s search data which reveals a 40% annual growth in searches for AFVs during the same period.
But the good news doesn’t stop there. When we start to look at EVs our data also shows a rapidly growing interest from UK consumers with, according to our recent survey of 3,000 consumers, 71% considering an EV as their next car. This represents a near threefold increase from September 2017 where consideration was only 25% among consumers.
Despite a clear softening of consumer attitudes towards EVs, there are still a plethora of challenges to be addressed before we see mass adoption. Chief among these is the upfront cost. Whilst great strides have been made in reducing the sticker price of EVs, they do remain more expensive than their petrol or diesel equivalents, for example the VW e-Golf coming in at around £5000 more than a mid-range, petrol powered equivalent (after the UK government plug in grant has been applied). Our research shows that the upfront cost was the primary barrier to consideration among those not considering an EV as their next car. Indeed 74% of consumers would consider buying an EV if the up-front cost was on par with the petrol or diesel equivalents. A further 77% would buy an EV if the cost of running was cheaper.
This cost has been somewhat negated by government grants designed to stimulate adoption of AFVs. However, in the UK the Government’s decision to scrap the grant for new plug-in hybrids and to cut the discount on all-electric cars from £4,500 to £3,500, have the potential to slow adoption on a large scale and threaten, its 2040 ambitions. Our analysis revealed that 41% of those consumers who had heard the grant was available and were looking to buy an AFV in the next three years are now less likely to do so as a result of the amendments.
It is indisputable that EVs are cheaper to run than their petrol- or diesel-powered equivalents however this message is clearly not getting through to consumers. Indeed, despite the juicy appetite, EVs remain a source of confusion for car buyers. Our 2019 poll revealed that 49% of consumers found messaging about fuel types confusing. This is further compounded by the ever-present range anxiety and use of complicated jargon that most people simply don’t understand. After all what consumer knows their cost per kilowatt or the compatibility differences between the variety of charging stations?
As an industry, we can address some of these issues through a revamping of the sales and marketing approach we currently have for EVs. Critical to this will be using finance to bring the affordability of EVs to life and to better showcase the true total cost of ownership compared to petrol and diesel. To help enable such a comparison by the consumer, EVs also need to be better integrated into existing OEM and retailer sales and marketing strategies rather than being treated as an siloed alternative to what is considered the mainstream option.
Should the industry adopt such practises and given the ever-evolving capabilities of EVs, we would predict that the sales of EVs will overtake petrol and diesel by 2030 and represent 16% of the UK car parc by this time.
But whilst there is a clearly emerging consumer appetite for AFVs, there remains a lack of consumer demand for full autonomy. Our research showed that 8 in 10 people would be wary of using a car (84%), taxi (83%) or bus (82%) without the safety net of a human driver, though this is less of a concern for trams and trains (72%). In fact, when asked whether they’d use a self-driving car that they couldn’t take control of, nearly half (48%) said they ‘absolutely wouldn’t use this vehicle’. However, it’s perhaps not surprising. If for many drivers the switch from fossil to electric is a leap of faith, it is at least a leap into widely tried and tested technology. Yet, the transition to self-driving cars is a leap into science fiction. Their application in a real-world scenario will be incredibly challenging and in order for them to become a reality on our roads, the deep-rooted silos that we as an industry tend to work in will need to be addressed. Whilst many argue the government’s cuts to grants demonstrate a lack of understanding of the complexities of the automotive industry, those on the other side of the fence could say the commitment to driverless technology shows a misunderstanding of the huge challenges and disruption it will cause.
On the immediate horizon though, we believe the semi-autonomous technology that many cars already feature offer a far more exciting and profitable opportunity for the industry. One which is currently being largely overlooked. Our research illustrates a clear correlation between consumer understanding of this technology and the opportunity to upsell and build all important brand loyalty. Whilst most car buyers don’t fully understand the technology (61% of car owners believe a rear-view camera is an autonomous feature, and 74% believe lane departure warning also is) when explained to them during the sales process, the immediate and long-term impact can be significant. However, underlining the scale of the missed opportunity, just 35% of car buyers whose car has semi-autonomous features said these were clearly explained to them during the sales process, and only a third (33%) received a demonstration. Should the features be properly explained and demonstrated, our consumer research found that 72% of consumers would be more likely to buy the car on the day and 73% would be more likely to buy the same brand of car in the future.
But it’s not just the front end of retail where consumers are being put off: the use of marketing jargon and acronyms, as with EVs, is also an issue when explain autonomous systems. In fact, when presented with the various manufacturing brand names for their sophisticated semi-autonomous features, the majority of[IP1] car buyers either miscategorised its function, or simply failed to appreciate its advanced capabilities. Far more effective is language that clearly explains how the features help them in their everyday lives.
The surge of technological advancements shows no sign of slowing down and consumers will need to be ready for new waves of technology coming to their cars. The onus is on us as an industry to ensure that consumers are ultimately ready and fully informed about the technology now available in their vehicles. By ensuring this we create desirability for these features and ultimately ensure that the great efforts being made in realising the future of the automotive industry i.e. CASE is able to both deliver on changing consumer expectations, as well as profitable and sustainable for the automotive industry.
1. Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders new car registrations, January 2019
2. Society of Motor manufacturers and Traders used car transactions, February 2019
As per 2018 TaaS Technology will cover Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) and Future Mobility, enabling the strong over-lap between the two conferences to allow attendees and exhibitors to be exposed to relevant supply chains, customer and supplier based, saving you time and money from attending separate events. The TaaS Technology event is put together by leading industry experts, partners include Coventry University and Warwick University, and bringing international experts for two days of in-depth discussions and exhibits focused on the opportunities and challenges of a mobility future that leverages CAVs, EVs, Energy, Infrastructure and TaaS technologies.
Attendees to the conference will hear industry-leading insiders delivering more than 40 presentations spanning eleven key topics. TaaS Technology Conference is the must attend event for all professionals involved within the CAV, EV, Energy/Battery, Charging, Infrastructure & Future Mobility industry.
This conference will equip the delegates with an up-to-date overview and insight to the future of the CAV and TaaS industry, providing many opportunities to meet other key players within this community.
The presentations will cover several key topics, which collectively will provide complete coverage the CAV and TaaS industry as we accelerate to a TaaS future:
KEY TOPICS COVERED
Including following speakers;
Huawei, Vision Mobility, Ridecell, JUMP Bikes, Trafi, Alibaba Cloud, Arcadis, Auto Trader, Autocab, Autonomous Mobility, British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA), Claytex, Cube Intelligence, Europcar, Hogan Lovells, InMotion, Intel, iomob, KPMG, LimeBike, Met Office, Ridecell, SkedGo, TomTom, Uber, Volkswagen Group AG, What3words…and more.
Focusing on the opportunities and challenges of a mobility future that leverages EVs, the developments in the Energy/Battery Technologies which will accelerate mainstream adoption of EVs and the Infrastructure changes which will be required to ensure we have adequate resources to support the rise in the use of EVs
The presentations will cover and provide complete coverage on EVs, Energy/Battery, Infrastructure and TaaS industry as we accelerate to a TaaS future with EVs being adopted by the masses.
KEY TOPICS COVERED
Including the following speakers;
Auto Trader, BP, Chargemasters, Department for Transport (DfT), DriveElectric, Element Energy, EY, GreenMobility A/S, Hewitt Studios LLP, Hyundai Motor Group, ION Energy, KPMG, National Grid, P3 group, TomTom, Try EV, ubitricity …and more.
One of the key reasons for my involvement is that I believe that Mobility / Transportation as a Service will become the next great platform that will drive new business ideas, just as the internet and the smartphone have done in the recent past. The TaaS Technology conference promises to be an exciting event as it will give participants an early window into the future, and a substantial leg up to seek out new opportunities. The speakers are industry leading experts and there will be a wealth of knowledge and information available for attendees.
Don’t miss out this year as it’s going to be ‘Twice as nice’, with some fantastic speakers, hot topics and a real unique opportunity to network in a focused and intimate environment. For further information on speaking, sponsorship and exhibition opportunities please contact:
TaaS Magazine and website offers advertisers fantastic opportunities to reach those involved in the Connected & Autonomous Vehicles and Future Mobility Industry. With packages to suit every budget, take a look at our media kit and get in touch to get involved with the TaaS portfolio of products.
Contact us on the details below to talk about your editorial, advertorial or advertising needs.
T: +44 24 7671 8970
Published by: Angel Business Communications Ltd, 6 Bow Court, Fletchworth Gate, Burnsall Rd, Coventry CV5 6SP. T: +44(0)2476 718970. ISSN 2516-5895
All information herein is believed to be correct at time of going to press. The publisher does not accept responsibility for any errors and omissions. The views expressed in TaaS magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher. Every effort has been made to obtain copyright permission for the material contained in this publication. Angel Business Communications Ltd will be happy to acknowledge any copyright oversights in a subsequent issue of the publication. Angel Business Communications Ltd Â© Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced in whole or part without the written consent of the publishers.