Paving New Pathways

Paving New Pathways

Decoding Technology February 2020 Paving New Pathways Technology Evolution

Technology evolution in the mobility landscape is attributed to innovations – radical or incremental – that have brought value to the consumer and businesses

Without dwelling into the definitions of either word, it will be fitting to state that each of these are not mutually exclusive. Neither are they synonyms, but they are intertwined.

Technology enhancements have been occurring through research-oriented innovations for more than a century for efficient commuting time, better comfort, more safety, higher fuel efficiency, driving experiences and a cleaner environment. Technology need in mobility landscape has generally been triggered by customer demand, aspirations to enter new markets or to meet changes in norms and regulations. This triggers the review of available alternates that are deployable either directly or indirectly. In other words, research could be for technology in a component or a system or to innovate something different.


Co-existence of the two major pillars of growth – innovation and technology – requires resources to deliver competitive advantage to manufacturers. To ring fence competitive advantage, it is essential to protect innovations through intellectual property to continue propelling growth engines of businesses. Innovations pave pathways to generate employment in new domains that connect communities, stakeholders and implicitly reduce the risk of conflicts.

Innovations have transformed technologies that span across ergonomics, ingress and egress, active and passive safety, powertrains and many sub-systems. Radical innovations have driven different mobility forms via powertrains, energy storage, recycling, materials, autonomous and so on. Interestingly, the market inequalities and demands have had all zones play catch-up on many fronts. The mature zones have been on the front-end in investing resources for advanced research and have come up with technology solutions relevant to their markets.

In the global mobility play-field, many have created an innovation culture to encourage engagement of employees and consumers for co-creation. The developing zones, on the other hand, have had the privilege to cherry pick technology solutions from global portfolios, adapt them to their customer needs and businesses for cost effective deployment. Most of these solutions are optimised for better penetration in an ecosystem that is overly populated and operates in an infrastructure that is continually developing. Developing zones have taken nuggets of many such technologies to deploy in their market place since the full-blown menu is not a necessity at certain given time horizons. The mature zones, on the other hand, have leveraged the developing zones to learn and unlearn many business aspects to plough back greater efficiency.

The partnership between stakeholders in mature and developing zones paves pathways for winning solutions. Through their global technology centres in developing zones, many partnerships help technology permeation to mass markets. Integration becomes efficient in terms of cost and time for the local players by utilising locally-based technology centre experts. The speed of building skillsets and integrating innovative solutions is much faster with these local development centres.


Innovation Index could also influence the speed to launch a technology in the market place. With a dynamic ecosystem and digital economy, it is imperative to launch relevant innovative technologies to satisfy consumer appetite. Hence, besides evaluating revenue generation and investment required for a technology, speed to market deployment becomes an important criterion in the business equation. The window of opportunity is limited on many occasions, as such the decision matrix must lean on speed vis-a-vis other metrics.

Another metric in recent years – driving experience – is used in evaluating deployment and integration. Many OEMs decide the value of this metric before investing in research and innovation to develop their DNA relevant technology. In the upcoming decades, this list of decision metrics will grow due to continuing innovation and technology.