Once again, we find ourselves in Las Vegas at the outset of CES for our annual Last Mile of Mobility executive roundtable. Meant as a private space for companies, researchers and municipalities to come together, assess the state of mobility and make commitments to work together towards a more seamless future for the year ahead, this year’s discussions and predictions for 2020 focused on the idea of connecting: connecting public and private work, connecting different modes of transportation, and connecting with consumers in a more native and natural way.
A More Realistic Approach to Autonomy
While still exciting and revolutionary, it’s no surprise that the industry has adopted a more realistic approach to autonomy and autonomous vehicles. Big challenges, like safety in dense urban environments and predicting the unpredictable behavior of human beings, still persist. It’s also become clear that roads and sidewalks need to be redesigned to accommodate new types of vehicles like autonomous delivery robots. While challenges still exist and level 5 autonomy remains years away, there is still ample opportunity for innovation and adoption.
Like last year, collaboration was a common theme in each panel discussion. Since innovation typically begins in the private sector, there must be a consistent and open conversation with the public sector to implement the new technology and encourage its adoption. In large cities, that means numerous organizations all coming together to build new multi-modal solutions - not a small task, but one that is possible and has already been realized in cities like Detroit’s Project Kinetic.
Focus on the Journey
A good consumer experience focuses on the journey, but that journey often starts and ends outside the vehicle. Through partnerships and their wealth of data, mobility companies can build a more end-to-end experience for drivers, complete with predictive recommendations and seamless voice technology that connects the home, car, and work.
A daily commute in Phoenix looks very different than a daily commute in New York City, and it can be a challenge for drivers to change their routines - especially if they have been following the same plan and route for many years. We must make a concerted effort to encourage more consumer adoption of new technology by localizing it to each specific market and promoting it to encourage use.
Automakers and mobility companies generate a lot of data, which comes with great responsibility and power. Data must be protected and consumers need to be better aware of how companies are compiling information and what they are doing with it. Privacy should be a core competency, not a differentiator.
A big thanks to our Last Mile of Mobility co-sponsor, Flowbird, for their support and participation in this year’s conference. Additionally, thanks to our speakers from Amazon, Google, HERE, Citelum, Cubic, the City of Las Vegas, Strategy Analytics, Verra Mobility, Luum, the University of Michigan and the State of Michigan.
We are inspired by the discussion and excited for the year ahead. If you are interested in learning more or working together, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.