June 20, 2016    4 minute read

The Automotive (R)Evolution

   June 20, 2016    4 minute read

The Automotive (R)Evolution

Uberized Economy

The automotive industry is experiencing a radical change: 1) the sharing economy and Uber’s success as a key player in the new concept of shared mobility, 2) the growth and the advances of technologies related to a new generation of driverless cars, 3) machine learning and propagation of personal assistants’ services. These are just a few drivers of this ongoing change.

Mobility solutions of the future could be very different from the past, mainly because of the encounter of new habits with new needs and the development an innovative set of technologies and services that affect driving and customer experiences. Car manufacturers are developing not only their products but also the services they offer: from TripAdvisor-alike apps to opportunities of providing energy to homes; every car manufacturer seems to be working at shaping its future not only as a mobility provider but a service provider too.

Nissan and Tesla’s electric and connected cities

During the International Motor Show held in Geneva on March 2016, Nissan exhibited its vision on the future of electric cars. Born with the objective of reshaping electric cars’ charge stations, the Japanese company described a near future where cars can be used to storage and supply renewable energy in a smart-streets ecosystem.

Its 100% electric car, Nissan Leaf, is used to show the unprecedented Intelligent Mobility Concept, under development in Italy with a collaboration with ENEL, where cars will connect through parking lots to an underground refuelling system, based on renewable energies such as solar, wind and wave.

The key innovative factor is that cars not only will be recharged with a unique system but also cars themselves becoming a renewable energy provider. For instance, in the morning, cars can be connected to owners’ homes and provide electricity. Tesla has already developed a similar solution, with a product already available on the market, even if it aims only at early adopters.

While reflectors focused on the launch of Tesla’s Model3, Elon Musk’s company launched a new version of its home battery Tesla PowerWall. With an average cost of USD$3,500, the battery uses and stores solar energy, which provides to the home, working in energy backup in case of emergency, too.

Ford: Mobility experiences not only for drivers.

Lately, Las Vegas held the Consumer Electronic Show, attended by approximately 4.000 companies, where American car manufacturer Ford launched its Ford Smart Mobility Program. The program designed to create experiences which extend beyond vehicles, including higher levels of connectivity and analytics.

To develop its concept of smart mobility, Ford launched 25 global projects which inspect different aspects of innovation in mobility, autonomous cars, customer experience and big data.

A few examples:

Ford launched a data-driven project for insurances, which awards most careful drivers thanks to the analysis of driving conduct made by Ford, in both London and Lisbon.

To examine social mechanisms and needs related to shared mobility, Dynamic Social Shuttle launched in New York and London. This on-demand premium bus which can host up to 10 passengers, creating a shared path based on customers’ needs.

In Dearborn, Michigan, Ford launched a car exchange project between its managers, enabled by a mobile app which permits to locate the most suitable vehicle and to determine exchange’s conditions.

In addition to this broad plan of innovative projects, Ford Smart Mobility LLC has announced the launch of FordPass in February 2016. The app, available for both Ford cars’ owners and non-customers (but also non-drivers), works as an actual personal mobility assistant, helping users sharing rides and finding parking lots, offering mobile payments or finding restaurant reviews.

Just like Alfred for Batman: BMW Connected app

More and more perceived as one of the brand’s most focused on developing visions and technologies over mobility future, BMW hits the gas on innovation in its centenary.

Recently, the company presented at Microsoft Build in San Francisco the 360° evolution of its service ConnectedDrive. The new app BMW Connected, described as a Personal Mobility Companion and available only for iOS devices for the time being, has been designed as an assistant able to connect user, car and surrounding environment in a continuous and customised flow of information.

This autonomous co-pilot can read personal agenda and to insert meeting addresses in a destination list, can monitor congestions to update trips duration, can connect with Yelp to join places’ reviews to destinations and adapt itself to personal habits. For example, if you usually go to work at 8.30, from Monday to Friday your office’s address will be at the top of destinations list.

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