Tech Chats June - digital mobility

Tech Chats: EY’s Daniel Lyons on how tech is revolutionising transport

In this video interview, we speak with Daniel Lyons from EY about how technology is revolutionising modern transport.

ES: Our topic of conversation for today is ‘smart mobility’, what exactly is ‘smart mobility’?

DL: So for us, we define smart mobility as the way to move more people or goods in a way that is faster, cleaner, more efficient and more economical than the existing modes of transport. It’s about creating a frictionless, personalised, on-demand mode of transport.

OK, so we’re not just talking about driverless cars – there’s much more to it than that?

That’s right, I think driverless cars get a lot of attention in the media and they grab all the headlines, but smart mobility is a much broader topic than self-driving cars.

We actually think about three groups of activity within the smart mobility world – the first one is on-demand or autonomous journeys, which is really ride sharing, ride hailing, car sharing, car pooling – it does include robo-taxis as well as subscription-based services for car sharing or journeys.

The second one is all around technology, whether it is hardware or software to support vehicles and so within that, that’s where autonomous vehicle technology exists. Whether it’s deep learning or artificial intelligence technology or some of the hardware like lidars or sensors and things like that. It’s also connected cars and it’s also electric vehicles, so fuel cell technology or lithium batteries or in-car entertainment.

And the third group is integrated mobility solutions, and that would be planning solutions, booking solutions for multi-modal transport, it might be infrastructure and transport solutions, like smart parking or city planning, and data analytics.

So in the overall smart mobility market, what kind of activity are we seeing at the moment?

So smart mobility is an absolutely hot topic. I think it’s fuelled by lots of mega deals and exits for early-stage entrepreneurs and tech startups that we’re seeing almost weekly at the moment, especially as some of the large automotive companies are desperately trying to face up to some of the disruption that smart mobility is bringing.

That’s also created a lot of interest from the funding and venture capital side and we’re seeing now dozens if not hundreds of accelerators and incubators focused almost exclusively on smart mobility, including several here in London and in other parts of the UK. It’s a topic that’s been embraced by consumers – we’ve seen take-up of some of the services really rocket, so yeah, it’s an absolutely hot topic at the moment.

OK, so lots of innovation taking place. What are we expecting to see in the short to medium term?

So I think we’re really only just getting started and some of the things are still being defined. I think we’re in mobility 1.0, if you like, which is dominated by kind of ride sharing services. Mobility 2.0, which is just around the corner, will be about more integrated solutions, more sort of multi-modal transport options and we’re starting to see some of that already.

And then further down the line, we’ll see mobility 3.0, which will be where we really take advantage of some of these new technologies, like self-driving vehicles, we’ll have fully autonomous cars or blockchain-enabled technology like fractional car ownership.

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