Mobility is rapidly evolving from vehicle ownership to a shared vehicle paradigm. This onset of shared mobility along with autonomous driving accentuates the need of smart, intelligent and safer systems to meet aspirations of consumers. In addition, the vehicles are connected to the ecosystem through V2X playfields that provide tremendous flexibility, simplicity and autonomous decision making. All these ingredients are a recipe to Empowered Mobility (EM) bridging consumer aspirations – OEMs or consumers.
EM is an opportune platform to provide a larger landscape to the consumer with multiple choices of powertrains, styling, features, speed and ranges. For the OEMs and service providers it is also an avenue to gather data that helps conduct analytics to understand customer behaviour, understand trends, segmentation and helps them roll out relevant products and services in shorter timespans. The opportunity for value added services and digitalisation for the ‘data on the go’ consumers is exponential. With EM comes the much needed speed to market since it is flexible to cater to different regions of the world that have different norms and regulations, and consumer needs.
SMART & INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS
In the backdrop of autonomous driving, EM requires smart and intelligent systems built through Artificial Intelligence techniques. AI helps decision making in real time, and helps consumers make decisions on the fly to change routes, switch between powertrains, connect with different service providers and most important of all, provides operational flexibility. The extent of EM is dependent on the level of intelligence in a vehicle, the connectivity and the complexity of traffic patterns. The more the complexity the more is the intervention necessary. Higher the intervention, higher is the cost and longer is the launch time in the market place. Autonomous driving is the ultimate aspirational EM experience for consumers.
From the perspective of regulators, insurance providers and governments, EM can be an avenue for providing higher safety to pedestrians, other vehicles and for emissions control. The vehicle safety can be remotely monitored & controlled if over speeding, or emitting higher levels of emissions, or through facial recognition software. It can send wireless signals to manage the vehicle system controllers’ parameters to execute mitigating actions. By capturing data in EM, the insurance providers can understand the driver behaviour and corresponding risks before insuring. The regulators can scan vehicle number plates to identify defaulters and reckless driving behaviour.
Smart powertrains are dependent on the vehicle platforms, type of intelligent architectures, sensors, controls and networks. EM can provide flexibility to aspiring consumers to pick the type of powertrain based on their preferences. If vehicles were so designed to be able to take in any powertrain and energy storage device, EM would reach the pinnacle. Conventional powertrains and interchangeable energy storage are possible realities but swapping them with an XEV powertrain and e-storage is a proposition that needs pragmatic solutions. With the industry wanting to shift to e-mobility, this critical feature will benefit all stakeholders.
Though imagining EM conceptually in different environments is possible, it is an imperative to plan and execute it in an intelligent way. Pragmatism coupled with flexibility will be the real enabler of a successful EM in the market place. This is also coupled with carbon footprint of the vehicle and the end of life of the vehicle. In the food chain of recyclability and reusability, materials and techniques deployed can help OEMs and regulators to a larger choice of selection. Cost can be reduced by this flexibility and large scale deployment in the EM business models. To synthesise, EM is a fantastic cost effective way of doing business and deploying flexible solutions for OEMs to bridge consumer aspirations. Smart, intelligent and safe systems implemented in the right mix improve the sustainability of EM.