Are you ready for a shared economy where your transportation needs are no longer met by an automaker, but rather a “mobility service provider”? While smart transportation news has mostly focused on the likes of electrification (Tesla) and autonomy (Waymo), the real changes in transportation may be more fundamental than self-driving electric cars. According to presenters at this week’s Smart Automotive Summit at SEMICON Taiwan, new technologies won’t just make cars smarter: they will transform the way we see and use transportation in myriad ways.
Constance Chen, public relations general manager for forum sponsor Mercedes Benz, opened with a brief overview of parent Daimler’s evolving approach to transportation, dubbed CASE, which stands for Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Services, and Electric.
“The fundamental value of vehicles is changing,” Chen said, and car ownership is one of the biggest changes. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, and shared car services like ZipCar and DriveNow, are already addressing the transportation needs of a growing urban population that eschews car ownership. Traffic congestion, parking challenges, and a desire to improve air quality are key drivers (no pun intended) moving people away from car ownership to embrace shared transportation solutions.
Indeed, societal considerations are as challenging as some technological hurdles facing autonomous vehicle development. Robert Brown, Taiwan operations manager for Magma Electronics, listed his top five challenges for autonomous transportation:
- Perception (vision, sensors)
- Assessment (ability of systems to analyze data)
- Control (need for faster-than-human response)
- Communication (vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-everything)
- Expectations—specifically people’s expectations of the value autonomous transportation should deliver
As people change the way they view transportation and begin to understand what is possible when they can relinquish control of their vehicle, they’re transportation needs and expectations are likely to change. The challenges are, of course, also an opportunity to deliver a wide range of services, including information, entertainment, and retail, which opens the door for traditional carmakers to position themselves more as service providers like Mercedes Benz.
For those who have grown up with traditional car ownership and the perceived freedom that owning allows one to go anywhere at anytime, the idea of giving up their car—one that they drive themselves—might seem beyond the pale. But as ride-sharing services are already showing, a growing portion of our population seems more than ready to embrace a shared and autonomous future.
The SEMICON Taiwan Smart Automotive Summit is part of SEMI’s Smart Transportation initiative focusing on automotive electronics, a top priority for SEMI and its 2,000+ members. SEMI’s industry standards, technology communities, roadmap efforts, EH&S/regulatory activities and other global platforms and communities bring together the automotive and semiconductor supply chains to collaborate, increase cross-industry efficiencies and shorten the time to better business results.
Michael Droeger is director of marketing at SEMI.