TU-Automotive Detroit 2016: Advancement of Mobility Drives Automotive Changes

Shifting perspectives on mobility opening up new opportunities

2016/06/30

Summary

TU-Automotive Detroit 2016 exhibition floor
TU-Automotive Detroit 2016 exhibition floor

 The TU-Automotive Detroit 2016 conference was held from June 8 through June 9, 2016, in Novi, Michigan, U.S. The two-day conference hosted over 3,000 attendees and featured numerous presentations on automated vehicles, connected vehicles, and mobility. The theme of the 2016 conference was, “Collaborate to put Auto in the IoT (Internet of Things) Driving Seat”. Mobility is essential in the IoT, as it enables goods, services, and people to physically move from one location to another. As the number of vehicles on the roads increase, improving mobility is essential to avoid issues such as congestion and gridlock.

 This report will focus on presentations given at TU-Automotive Detroit related to mobility. Information includes perspectives on mobility from millennial focus groups, a viewpoint of mobility as a service, examples of how companies are utilizing mobility both in their business model and technology, and Ford’s reaction to shifting mobility trends. This report is the second of three reports which focuses on the discussion sessions presented at TU-Automotive Detroit. A report focusing on autonomous vehicle development perspectives and technologies was previously released. A third report focusing on vehicle connectivity and user experience will be released on a future date.

Related report
TU-Automotive Detroit 2016: Perspectives on autonomous vehicle development
Range of companies and entities provide thoughts and technologies about autonomous vehicle



Evolution of the mobility environment

Millennial perspectives on the future of mobility

Session: Millennials and the Future of Mobility
Company Speaker Title
Strategy Analytics Chris Schreiner Director – UX Innovation Practice
Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants Sam Schwartz President, CEO

Millennial focus group background information
Source: Strategy Analytics
Millennial focus group background information
Source: Strategy Analytics

 In their presentation, Chris Schreiner and Sam Schwartz discussed various opinions expressed by a focus group of millennials in Seattle in regards to mobility and transportation. One common theme within the focus group was the lack of vehicle ownership. In particular, one member of the focus group explained that he owned a scooter instead of a car because of the “hassle” of finding a parking spot, and then walking the distance from the parking spot to his workplace, which would often be at least a mile. Sam Schwartz mentioned that in his research, it wasn’t unusual for the millennial generation to encounter and then try to avoid these types of “hassles”. This could be seen in the trend of vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Since the 1900s, VMT would generally increase year to year. However, from 2003-2014, VMT dropped for ten consecutive years. The cause of this decrease was the millennial generation, who drove 20-25% fewer miles, a dramatic shift compared to other generations.

 On the other hand, when bringing up the issue of longer trips as opposed to a daily commute, the focus group preferred using the car over other forms of transportation, such as trains or buses. The reason behind this was due to the lower cost and time spent for cars compared to other transportation modes. This trend illustrates the issue that public transportation in the U.S. is not as strong as it needs to be to solve mobility issues. Sam Schwartz provided the example of Los Angeles as a city that transformed itself into a driving city by removing public transportation options such as streetcars and the Red Car system, while expanding its roadways and highways. Despite this, mobility did not increase within the city. As such, Los Angeles has reinvested in public transit, showing that public transportation is a key aspect in providing mobility.

 When asked about the idea of autonomous cars, the focus group showed interest in the idea, likening it to a personal taxi that could chauffeur them around. While this shows the generally positive reception that autonomous vehicles will have from millennials, Sam Schwartz raised the issue of autonomous vehicles increasing congestion and reducing mobility. He proposed that autonomous vehicles would give personal vehicle access to people who normally wouldn’t have access, such as the elderly or the handicapped. This would potentially increase the number of vehicles on the road, which would decrease mobility if no other factors change. Again, this points to the importance of public transit in mobility.

 

Concept of mobility as a service

Session: Urban Mobility as a Service
Company Speaker Title
ABI Research Moderator: Dominique Bonte Managing Director & Vice President, B2B
University of Michigan Susan Zielinski Managing Director – SMART
INRIX Nathan Potance Vice President, Business Development
Covisint Tim Evavold Executive Director, Automotive

 In the session titled, “Urban Mobility as a Service”, the panelists discussed the concept of mobility as a service (MaaS), which was heavily discussed at the 2015 ITS World Congress in Bordeaux, France. Susan Zielinski described MaaS as a system which shifts away from personally owned modes of transportation, to a customer-centric system which links a variety of different nodes through car-sharing, ride-sharing, and public transit. MaaS looks to make better use of transportation resources and build on existing structures. Nathan Potance described MaaS as an evolution from selling vehicles and enabling movement into a multi-modal transportation system with a range of options. As MaaS grows, more transportation modes will be integrated into the system.

 While often described as a system for people, MaaS has other potential applications. Nathan Potance presented Walmart as an example in goods transportation, as their success is based on logistics and vehicle tracking, which is a smaller scale application in information gathering and aggregation which MaaS utilizes. Tim Evavold gave an example of vehicle delivery and the need for visibility in the application. For example, as a vehicle is being delivered to a rail depot, it can send a notification detailing its destination and which rail it should be transported on. Susan Zielinski also explained the prevalence of MaaS in smart cities, as the smart city is more equipped to integrate the system in its infrastructure. For smart cities, MaaS provides the opportunity for more accessibility by moving more efficiently and over smaller distances. An example of this phenomenon was urban farming, where MaaS can be used to transport foods within a city.

 The panelists also provided their opinions on what was needed to make MaaS more available and accessible. Susan Zielinski provided multiple suggestions, including making data open, increasing investment in MaaS framework and architecture, having flexible management structures that aren’t strictly government-based or business-based, and tailoring MaaS to a region’s specific needs and strengths. Tim Evavold focused on the paradigm of MaaS, in that it needs to be more people- and user-focused. Due to the diminished role of ownership and increased role of sharing in MaaS, usage and data need to be tied to the individual as opposed to an asset like a vehicle. Nathan Potance pointed out the possible need of an organization to manage the data generated from MaaS as well, though he was unsure which sector the organization would be based from.



Examples of mobility usage and applications

Zipcar as a use case for advancing mobility

Session: Zipping Towards the Future of Auto-Mobility
Company Speaker Title
Zipcar Kaye Ceille President

Zipcar prevalence in BostonSource: Zipcar
Zipcar prevalence in Boston
Source: Zipcar
Infographic detailing benefits of using Zipcar
Source: Zipcar
Infographic detailing benefits of using Zipcar
Source: Zipcar

 Zipcar president Kaye Ceille’s presentation titled, “Zipping Towards the Future of Auto-Mobility” focused primarily on how Zipcar is being used to advance mobility throughout the world. Zipcar’s mission is “to enable simple and responsible urban living”. The company accomplishes this by offering a car-sharing program to provide the freedom of car ownership without the struggles and costs of owning a car. As the world’s leading car-sharing network with over one million members, Zipcar has a presence in eight countries, 500 cities, and approximately 600 colleges. Zipcar has also expanded to 67 airports over the last two years. In Boston, a Zipcar vehicle is within a five minute walking distance from any member, demonstrating both the prevalence and accessibility of the system.

 Kaye Ceille presented an infographic detailing societal and personal benefits provided by using ZipCar, which include the following:

  • Each shared vehicle replaces up to 13 personally owned vehicles, thus reducing congestion and space needed for the vehicles.
  • Zipcar members save approximately USD 600 a month compared to owning a vehicle.
  • Zipcar members reduce their individual carbon footprint by approximately one ton.
  • Zipcar members report increasing the number of bicycling trips by 13% and the number of walking trips by 19%.

 Kaye Ceille mentioned the disruptive nature of autonomous vehicles and how it would impact Zipcar and its operations. Specifically, once a member has completed a trip, an autonomous vehicle can deliver itself to another user, reducing the need for parking spaces, and allowing the resulting free space to be used for other purposes. The company is a participant in the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center, a collaborative project to help develop self-driving cars. Zipcar has also created Ziplabs, a R&D division dedicated to towards collaborative work in autonomous technology. Recent Zipcar developments include a software update to allow for quicker registration and vehicle access through the Zipcar smartphone application, as well as the unveiling of a one-way service that allows members to reserve a specific parking space for another member to pick the vehicle up at.
 

Panasonic detailing gaps and solutions in mobility experience

Session: Closing the Mobility Experience Gaps
Company Speaker Title
Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America Tom Gebhardt President

Characteristics required for a quality mobility experience
Source: Panasonic
Characteristics required for a quality mobility experience
Source: Panasonic

 In his presentation, Tom Gebhardt noted that the increase in technology in the vehicle leads to the potential for increased distractions, which in turn, increases the cognitive load on the driver. As the driver is occupied with the task of controlling the vehicle, he or she cannot divert too much attention to other aspects of the vehicle, such as the center console. This contradicts with how the smartphone is fundamentally used, as it demands most, if not all, of the user’s attention. Thus, the mobility experience within the vehicle needs to be tailored to avoid being too similar to the phone, and instead offer a different experience in a simple, intuitive, and fast manner.

 Tom Gebhardt pointed out three major gaps in the personal mobility experience.

  1. The experience must be a seamless, connected journey. This can be accomplished by ensuring that the same services are consistently delivered to the user as an integrated experience.
  2. The complexity of vehicle systems need to be reduced. This stems from the issue of having too much technology trying to convey too much information to the user. This can be solved by merging the information from several different sources and applications into a single application.
  3. The system governing the user’s experience needs to be able to recognize and utilize repeatable patterns. This can be done by implementing predictive thinking in the system.

 Panasonic’s OneConnect system, which debuted earlier in 2016, is the company’s solution to eliminating mobility experience gaps. OneConnect is able to provide navigation, information, weather, entertainment, and contextual locations of interest aurally. The system also implements predictive technology, enabling it to learn a user’s habits. For example, based on the time of day and the user’s driving patterns, OneConnect can detect that the user is driving to work, and then provide the day’s news as it recognizes that the user prefers to listen to the news during a workday commute. The platform can also provide direct notifications from automakers about issues such as software updates or vehicle recalls. The OneConnect system provides users a way to receive personalized content that is most relevant to them at any given moment.

Screenshot of sample message delivered by OneConnect
Source: Panasonic
Screenshot of sample message delivered by OneConnect
Source: Panasonic
Sample display of OneConnect system
Sample display of OneConnect system


Mobility perspectives and reactions from an OEM

Ford adapting to changing mobility environment

Session: Fireside Chat with Ford Motor Company
Company Speaker Title
Strategy Analytics Moderator: Roger Lanctot Associate Director, Global Automotive Practice
Ford Don Butler Executive Director, Connected Vehicle & Services

 At TU-Automotive Detroit, Don Butler had a brief discussion about Ford’s current position and activities in regards to the development of new mobility trends in society. Don Butler stated that Ford is currently at “an inflection point”, referencing the announcement made at the 2016 North American International Auto Show that Ford was transitioning from an automotive company to a mobility company. Don Butler said that the company’s core business of developing and selling cars is doing well, while its emerging business, which handles the management of new technology and mobility innovations, needs to adapt to the pace of technology. Specifically, Ford’s emerging business needs the capability to move rapidly to take advantage of opportunities. To accommodate this need, Ford has organized its internal structure of its emerging business to report across multiple segments including product development, IT, and marketing.

Sample display of FordPass used to find parking
Source: Ford
Sample display of FordPass used to find parking
Source: Ford

 In order to support its emerging business, Ford created a business entity, Ford Smart Mobility LLC, to allow the company to capitalize on relevant potential business opportunities. Don Butler made the comparison to Ford’s credit business, in that Ford Smart Mobility needs to operate differently from Ford’s core business in order to properly cope with the speed of the emerging services space. Ford also recently created the FordPass platform as a way to deliver services for both its core and emerging businesses. For example, users can access FordPass through a mobile app to schedule dealership appointments, locate and pay for parking spaces, and manage last-mile transportation services.

 Other issues that were touched upon in the presentation included Don Butler’s perception of the presence of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the vehicle, given Ford’s development of the SYNC platform. He mentioned that offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is to the customers’ benefit, as it provides them with additional choices. However, he also mentioned that Ford would be unwilling to cede the territory of car interaction to a third party like Apple or Google. Don Butler also stated that there would be announcements in the future about Ford interacting with cities as both customers of Ford, and as partners to solve specific issues such as congestion.

Sample image of Ford SYNC and Apple CarPlay
Source: Ford
Sample image of Ford SYNC and Apple CarPlay
Source: Ford
Sample image of Ford SYNC and Android Auto
Source: Ford
Sample image of Ford SYNC and Android Auto
Source: Ford

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