Connected mobility has a lot more to offer in the new normal. Predictions globally are that shared mobility usage will drop in 2020 as COVID-19 pushes people into private cars and two-wheelers, and so will represent by 2040, 16 % of all kilometres travelled by road. Studies show that autonomous vehicles (AV) will progress steadily but will not materially impact global travel patterns until the latter half of the 2030s. There are more than 60 cities around the world that are testing connected technology vehicles to prepare for such deployments.
An impetus to the new-age mobility solutions will be strategic partnership between OEMs to jointly build and enable efficient manufacturing frugalities. The future will be led by artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and various environmentally-friendly vehicles with competition from emerging markets and IT companies that are non-core mobility players. Clearly, robot driven taxis and computers that are eliminating traffic jams and driver health issues will be appearing sooner than expected.
A zoom of India’s journey into e-mobility and connected vehicles shows a need to boost the battery charging infrastructure, which in turn requires establishing the energy infra. The commitment by the government to be ready with 450 GW of renewables by 2030 will be a driving force. India says that the near-term target is 175 GW by 2022, of which 100 GW is solar, and 60 GW is wind.
India’s push into the AV race is being driven by home-grown conglomerates along with a slew of start-ups and engineering institutions, which are taking on global giants in an industry that is projected to spur $ 7 tn of spending by 2050. The country, per forecast of experts, will soon be the world’s third-largest auto market, is loath to be left behind even as its chaotic roads and regulations create unique hurdles. The fraternity is working on better failure redundancies for Indian conditions as well as hacker-proofing sub-systems since 15+ % of Indian road signs are either missing or unrecognisable. Indian developers confirm that AVs are ready for the road but the roads are not ready for them. Projections show that the first adoption of autonomous driving could probably happen in mining, agriculture and offshore rigs.
Non-traditional auto manufacturers are collaborating with cities & local governments for enabling horizontally connected mobility by building smart transportation networks that link road, railway, water and air traffic, and installing cloud computing programmes. Machine learning, data analytics and blockchain are some of the key building blocks of these programmes.
Connected technologies and mobility are primarily dependent, besides the other systems and technologies, on sensors. Sensors are capturing the most valuable data, in day to day operations and traffic, that has not been used very efficiently for decades. Conventional and non-conventional sensors and technologies link these new-age systems. The World Economic Forum says there is $ 18 tn in value, by itself, in the industrial world by applying sensors and integrating technologies. Further, consumers will see a tremendous value-add if predictions by these integrated sensors with incredibly high-precision can be monetised to meet their demands.
THE WAY FORWARD
The gambit of connected technologies that integrates many aspects in the new-age vehicles is the way forward in almost all regions of the world, along with other forms of personal and public mobility. AVs will be even more prudent to reduce the exposure risk for occupants and drivers in pandemic situations. India may not be on the forefront yet of such deployments due to its chaotic roads, population and unique regulations. However, it is obvious in the global community that – if it can work in India, it can work anywhere in the world.