Connected mobility is a prerequisite for autonomous driving, which represents a key technological development for the future of the automotive sector.
Connected mobility is a prerequisite for autonomous driving, which represents a key technological development for the future of the automotive sector.
( Source: Public Domain / Unsplash)

Basic Knowledge Back-to-basics: Connected Mobility, explained

Editor: Erika Granath

Today, the majority of cars are equipped with intelligent assistance systems. However, the connection of vehicles to each other, to traffic lights, congestion warning systems, and infrastructure is still in the early stage in the development.

The mobility sector is currently experiencing a revolution the likes of which it hasn’t seen since the first Model T rolled off the conveyor belt in 1908. One major reason for this is connected mobility, which allows for the seamless interlinking of drivers, passen-gers, vehicles and online services. The result is a driving experience that is smarter, safer, more efficient, and more fun than ever before.

What’s connected mobility?

Connected mobility is a term used to describe the interlinking of systems and services both inside and outside a vehicle via the internet, allowing a driver (and their passen-gers) to enjoy a much smoother ride. With solutions running the gamut from human-machine interfaces, keyless access systems and secure parking to apps, warning sen-sors, and vehicle-to-vehicle data transfer, connected mobility is a huge field whose surface has only just been scratched.

According to Market Research Future, the global market for connected mobility is set to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 19 percent by 2023. Meanwhile, the mar-ket for connected vehicles has risen by 45 percent in the past few years, and by 2025 it’s expected that three quarters of all cars on the road will be connected. And with internet heavyweights like Baidu now partnering with automotive groups to further de-velop intelligent mobility solutions, it’s clear that this market is set to grow and grow.

Potential, challenges, and development

Over the next 10–15 years, connected mobility has the potential to revolutionize the way we live our lives. The initial signs are already here: in the past couple of years, e-scooters have become a fixture on city streets around the world, an indication of the move towards shared, app-based mobility solutions and away from individual petrol-fueled transport options. One major area of development is autonomous driving, which is forecast to render the traditional transport landscape obsolete before the end of the next decade.

According to the Coalition for Future Mobility, self-driving cars will substantially reduce driver error and traffic jams, cut carbon emissions and fuel use, improve productivity, and reduce insurance fees. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Of course, it isn’t all plain sailing ahead. These advancements face challenges in the form of public acceptance, a lack of standardization between market players (connec-tion points, software suites, etc.) and even vandalism.

Will hacking undermine connected mobility aims?

Another major area to address is that of data security: the technology inside and out-side the vehicle has to be as tamper-proof as possible and compartmentalized so that if one part fails or is hacked, the other systems remain unaffected. This means, for example, that even if a hacker managed to gain access to an advertisement on the side of a self-driving car, they would be unable to take control of the vehicle itself. This requires concerted efforts to be made throughout the industry to make mobility solu-tions impregnable.

Legislation and enforcement: connected mobility

One way to accelerate development in the field of connected mobility would be to lobby for legislation that makes connected systems of this kind compulsory in vehicles start-ing from a specific model year. As well as applying uniform standards across the play-ing field, this would reduce costs in the long run, as it encourages collaboration be-tween stakeholders to develop systems that meet and ultimately surpass the new re-quirements. The more that connected mobility solutions are integrated into transporta-tion services as a whole, the more acceptance they will receive from consumers. This, in turn, will lead to greater demand, more revenue and further scope for experimenta-tion.

Better infrastructure = more mobility

Connected mobility works best on a large scale and isn’t a market for lone wolves. It has to be rolled out on a city- or nationwide basis, which is why the public sector should now be exploring ways to improve infrastructure that can cater for such solutions. Fur-thermore, government authorities should be working together with manufacturers, startups and IT enterprises to secure investment, pursue innovation and bring the technology to the required level so that its potential can be harnessed by all.

Over the next 10–20 years, connected mobility will change the face of transportation and, in particular, (sub)urban environments. The question is how willing the various stakeholders are to work together to bring about an interconnected, standardized net-work of solutions that puts quality of life ahead of short-term individual gain. While this burgeoning market is indeed on an upward trajectory, success or failure within it will depend on communication and cooperation across industry boundaries.