Road transportation and mobility will in the near future be subject to four distinct trends, predicts a report by audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services firm Deloitte. This four-state reality will apply to both consumers and auto-makers.
What will the mobility ecosystem look like in 2020? In its latest report entitled ‘The future of mobility: How transportation technology and social trends are creating a new business ecosystem’, Deloitte predicts the emergence of four distinct trends, based on two disparate visions of vehicle manufacture and use. The basic question is ‟whether today’s system of private ownership of driver-controlled vehicles remains relatively unchanged, or whether we eventually migrate to a driverless system of predominantly shared mobility”, say the Deloitte authors.
The report points to ‟four future states of mobility” that will impinge on both consumers and the automotive production system. Given that these ‘future states’ may well co-exist simultaneously worldwide, Deloitte says that auto-makers may, in as little as five to fifteen years, find themselves having to operate in all four modes, each targeting a distinct customer segment.
Two co-existing views of the future of mobility: the ‘insider’ view, which is betting on slow evolution of the mobility market; and the ‘disrupter’ view, which envisages fully autonomous, shared cars that are accessible on demand. (Graphics: Deloitte)
Some consumers will remain tied to their traditions
The first of the predicted ‘future states’ – incremental change – takes the most conservative attitude towards road mobility. In this scenario, the customer remains the owner and operator of his/her vehicle, while benefiting from increasingly advanced technologies to make journeys easier and safer.
‘Future State 2’ is still in some respects a fairly traditional one, but shared access to vehicles is the central feature here. People still own and drive their own vehicles, but car-sharing is widespread. As a result, the per kilometre cost of a journey drops dramatically for private individuals – to $0.63 per mile, compared with $0.97 per mile for the Future State 1 scenario. This also means however that automobile manufacturers will experience lower demand in the long term.
Per mile costs fall when people car-share and increase their use of driverless cars (Graphics: Deloitte)
Vehicle autonomy and sharing cut costs for the customer
Deloitte’s third Future State – the ‘driverless revolution’ – sees self-driving technology coming into its own. In this scenario, customers see driverless technology as ‟viable, safe, convenient and economical”, says the report, even though at this stage most drivers will still prefer to have their own vehicle. Both ICT firms and auto-makers continue in parallel to invest heavily in Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) technologies, which enable vehicles to communicate between themselves, and Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) technologies, which allow data exchange between cars and such infrastructure as traffic lights and road signs.
Future State 4 – based on the most disruptive ideas – sees the autonomous and vehicle-sharing trends converging. Typical customers in this bracket are mainly people travelling in urban areas whose major need for mobility is their daily commute to and from work. This is where the highest level of cost savings can be made: the Deloitte experts calculate the cost per mile as low as $0.31 under this scenario.