Connected mobility: the rise of digital technology in everything on the road
When people talk about the Internet of Things, they often give Google’s autonomous car as an example. The expectation is that we will see self-driving cars on the road within five years. But the world of mobility is bigger than the autonomous vehicle. At Valtech, we work for various car, bicycle, energy and lease companies. And at all these companies, people have questions about digital transformation and mobility. It’s time for an update on connected mobility.
Changing user desires
Car ownership is a cornerstone of modern society. But slowly, this is changing. Young adults are increasingly less likely to own a car, while travelling by Uber, public transport or bicycle is an increasingly attractive alternative. Thanks in part to real-time information about traffic and the availability of transport, users can make better decisions about when to use which travel option.
The connected car
Every self-respecting car brand is investing heavily in the “connected car”. What functions can we expect in the near future? Everis, a consultancy firm, conducted extensive research into the connected car and divided its findings into five categories: safety, infotainment, traffic efficiency, cost efficiency and overall user experience.
Currently, many car companies are working on their own systems, and, as in every developing market, this will lead to the creation of new standards. Both Apple, with Carplay, and Google, with Android Auto, are fighting over the future of the in-car operating system. But they are not only ones. Others are beavering away in attics and garages. Hacker George Hotz successfully knocked together a self-driving car using relatively cheap components. And Mojio enables you to turn any car made after 1996 into a connected vehicle.
A key concern with connected cars is safety. On the one hand, there’s the threat posed by hacking (as when hackers took control of this this Jeep and disengaged its brakes); on the other, concerns about the reliability of, and legal issues surrounding, the use of sensors that react automatically in dangerous situations.
Fintech and the connected car
Just as interesting from a technology standpoint are the developments around fintech and the connected car. In the On-Demand Economy, we expect instant access to any mode of transport. Whatever it is, we want to be able to book a car, bike, bus or train any time of day at the tap of a screen. This in turn raises opportunities around payment, insurance and subscriptions. Especially in a country like the Netherlands, with a well-developed financial sector and an under-pressure road and rail network, we can expect to see fintech innovation. Think of insurance that reflects how you actually drive, or “instant insurance” whenever you let someone else use your car.