Shared Mobility Thoughts

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5 Mobility Predictions for 2018 – From Green Cars to Shared Autonomous Vehicles

Dec 28, 2017

Now that the year is coming to a close, we all want to know: what is going to happen in mobility in 2018? Watch out for more electric vehicles, more innovation and consumer acceptance for AV, shared mobility conquering niche consumer needs, big data helping urban and transportation demand planners and blockchain is the next “big” thing! Read on for our top 2018 mobility predictions. 


2018 mobility predictions

1. Green car sales will hit a new record

According to new data from Edmunds, 2018 is looking like it’s going to be the greenest year that the auto market has seen yet. Their latest analysts are projecting that the overall market share for sustainable vehicles including EVs, plug-ins, and traditional hybrid vehicles, will reach 4.4% in 2018, compared to roughly 3.2% this past year. In addition, they are predicting that sales of plug-in vehicles will surpass traditional hybrids by the end of 2018, doubling from the amount of sales in 2017. We’re happy that EV sales are increasing, but we still have a long way to go; 4.4% isn’t enough to do very much for our precious planet earth!

2. attitudes toward autonomous vehicles will stabilize, but not quite level five

According to Gigaom, attitudes toward autonomous vehicles – which have been extreme over the past year – will begin to normalize in 2018. With pilots having been launched this past year giving real citizens the opportunity to experience autonomous driving (such as with PostAuto in Switzerland), more self-driving vehicles are set to hit our roads in the New Year. As stated in this article:

We know, deep down, that robot cars are safer — not because they are inevitably, inherently safe, but because human drivers are inevitably, inherently dangerous. And autonomous vehicles will get safer still. And are able to pick us up at 3 in the morning and take us home.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that autonomous vehicles will become mainstream in 2018 (see below), but the building block of consumers becoming more comfortable with the idea will surely take place next year. Once this challenge is overcome, there will be additional issues to address, such as data, privacy, security and safety ramifications and, since AVs will be introduced in carsharing first, “The current ethical debate between leaving young people without taxis late at night, versus the possible consequences of sharing a robot Uber with a potential molester.” 

And while we are bound to see progress in autonomous driving in 2018, the breakthrough to fully autonomous (or level five) cars will not come next year, according to this article by Accenture. They predict that 2018 will bring us level two and possibly level three autonomous features to premium vehicles, which covers self-parking capabilities and traffic jam assistants. However, the technical and regulation-based challenges will keep us from reaching fully autonomous driving in next year.

3. Shared mobility will find its niche

Shared mobility solves all kinds of niche problems as well as primary problems, like fixing a current transportation system that is broken. In 2018, shared mobility will find its niche in serving populations that are underserved by public transit or private car ownership. 

Consumer adoption of shared mobility is indicative of new carsharing operations popping up all over the globe and ridesharing like Uber and Lyft and carshare services like Turo and Maven being widely adopted. In 2018, we will begin to see carsharing and shared mobility services entering into niche markets, like companies catering to specific markets like couples on date nights, parents with kids, and business commuters. We are already seeing this with operations like GoKid, which is a carpooling app that caters to busy families and schools.

4. local governments to use open data to prepare for 2018 smart cities

We’ve already begun to see the rise of smart cities over 2017, and this is expected to advance drastically next year. This time around, however, governments are making use of open data to better prepare and structure smart cities to be effective for all its citizens.

Some initiatives that reflect the use of open data include BlindSquare, a navigation app that uses open data to provide audio directions and improve mobility of visually impaired residents, and a partnership of KDOT and AirMap who are using drones to optimize disaster recovery and manage traffic congestion. But it’s not only cities that will look at data to improve planning: public transit will start to look more into shared mobility data f.i. for route optimization of the bus network.

5. Block chain technology research for mobility to advance

With research from the Toyota Research Institute, the applications of blockchain technology in mobility seem to be growing, and we expect to see the research advance further in 2018. The initial applications in mobility include data sharing, peer-to-peer transactions and usage-based insurance.

As cars become more connected next year, blockchain technology will be researched as an option to safely share and monetize driving information and access data. While the research is still in its infancy, we’ll likely see progress being made in 2018 towards blockchain technology allowing car owners to sell rides, the use of the vehicle itself, or even cargo space. Additionally, with blockchain technology collecting driving data through vehicle sensors, car owners may have access to lowered insurance costs for safe driving habits.

Our 2018 mobility predictions don’t end here, but these are our top predictions that we can see our peers and thought-leaders in the industry are also corroborating. What are your 2018 mobility predictions? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so get in touch with us.

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