The future of mobility

May 23, 2024

The Emerging Sportech Opportunity

Over the past decade, mobility has become one of the hottest topics. The ever-present growth of metropolises and the boost in private vehicle usage have brought about several alternatives to classic driving. In this regard, eco-friendly mobility has been in the spotlight, as a transition towards zero-emission conveyance shows. However, new trends—such as automated transport or car subscriptions—are beginning to catch on among the population. The following post will explore the trends mentioned and their evolution worldwide.


The road to full automation

Forbes describes the self-driving car as “one equipped with technology that senses the conditions around it, including traffic, pedestrians, and physical hazards and can adjust its course and speed without a human at the controls”. 2023 was a tipping point for the autonomous vehicle (AV) industry. According to a McKinsey & Company report, almost half of global mobility is still composed of private cars. This fact provides the perfect breeding ground for the development of AVs. The McKinsey Technology Trends Outlook 2023 poses that the mobility revolution is gaining speed, with many enterprises betting on including automation technology in their models.

Nowadays, level 3 is the further stage of automation we have reached. Some companies, like Mercedes Benz, started implementing it in 2021. And, although levels 4 and 5 are still a utopia for private conveyance, other transports, such as scooters, count with fully automated models. One example of success in the AVs panorama is the “robotaxis”. Cars which operate like regular taxicabs but without drivers.

Advantages and challenges of the AVs

Every technological advance presents both its benefits and downsides. Automated vehicles are no exception. Regarding the advantages, some of them are:

Safety: is the primary benefit. Higher levels of automation remove the driver from the chain of events that can lead to a crash, making them more secure.

Economic and social benefits: automated technologies could crash cost billions each year. Eliminating the majority of vehicle crashes through technology could reduce this cost.

Environmental: automation and electrification will potentially change the need for individualized parking spaces and lots, with increased use of automated ride-share and shuttle fleets, which could dramatically transform land use.

Efficiency and convenience: automated driving systems are expected to reduce our average time on traffic delays.

As for the challenges:

Sensor error: bad weather, glare, or other road conditions can fool sensors. This can lead to the autonomous vehicle making mistakes, such as crashing into something or running a red light.

Software bugs: The software that controls the vehicle is complex and can contain bugs, which can lead to mistakes being committed.

Pricing: According to the ITS Deployment Evaluation numbers, autonomous vehicle technology can cost up to $100,000. Therefore, one of the most significant challenges for the AV sector is making it affordable for the whole population.


Car subscriptions: a new model of renting

According to NerdWallet car subscriptions allow drivers to swap out their cars for a new one every few weeks or months in exchange for a monthly fee. This new model is very flexible and allows the customer to try several vehicles without having to pay extra for them. The United States and the United Kingdom were pioneers in the field of car subscriptions, with some companies like Joule or Carma leading the way. However, it is an option now available in almost every country.

In Spain, car subscriptions have been available since 2017, when the enterprise Bipi first came into the market. During 2020, the demand for car subscriptions increased, and the competition became fiercer. Nowadays, several companies are dedicated to this sector. The most representative ones are Wabi, Link and Co, Mondocar, Revel, and Astara. Nonetheless, almost every renting business offers subscription services.

Advantages of car subscription

As explained in a Tomorrow’s Journey article, the advantages of a car subscription are the following:

Budget-friendly: A car subscription is a more budget-friendly way to have the comfort of a car in your garage without paying a hefty down payment, worrying about maintenance and servicing, and getting stuck in a long-term monthly repayment cycle. Subscribing to a car allows you to avoid all the expenses and worries that come with owning a vehicle.

New car whenever you want: With newer cars and higher-end models regularly coming to the market, a car subscription makes it easier to upgrade your car quickly and easily without worrying about selling your vehicle or incurring additional expenses.

All-inclusive fees: Refueling is usually your only expenditure unless you choose an electronic vehicle, and you don’t have to worry about maintenance costs, insurance, or damages.

No long-term commitment: While car ownership is a commitment, a car subscription takes away all of that worry so you can enjoy your vehicle for the duration of time you choose to have it.

Easy booking and support: Some of the best car subscription companies offer consumer services such as customer support, easy exchange and return policies and more to make your experience as a client smooth and seamless.

The automated vehicles field is one in development. Despite all the advances, there is still a long way to go before full automation. While some bet that the constant evolution of AVs aims to deliver even greater surprises, others consider this field a temporary success. What can’t be denied is that automated mobility is placed among the major outbreaks of the 21st century.

On the other hand, in a society where owning accommodations like a house or a vehicle is becoming more expensive each day, initiatives like car subscriptions make it easier for regular citizens to access essential goods that would otherwise be unaffordable.

Stay tuned!