• Sachin Naik

How The Future Of Vehicular Mobility Lies In Better Space And Energy Management


The future of vehicular mobility will be increasingly defined by how we manage the space and energy needed and used by vehicles, and this is already apparent in the way that cities are being designed.


The Future of Vehicular Mobility

The future of vehicular mobility is all about better space and energy management. We are moving towards a world where electric vehicles are becoming the default option, and self-driving cars are increasingly becoming a reality. In order to bring in this mobility future, we need to be able to effectively manage the space and energy that our vehicles need and use.


We are already seeing some innovative solutions to these problems of vehicular mobility. For example, Tesla is disrupting energy production and utilisation by providing solar roofs for energy generation, and vehicles for energy storage and transportation. Self driving smart cars can self-park, reducing the demand for street parking as the occupants can get off where they want and not worry about where to store their vehicles. The availability of ground level, real-time data using perception systems based on cameras and other sensors as well as connected roadside infrastructure increases the level of digitisation for Operators of smart fleets. This in turn results in a better supply chain and improved last-mile efficiency. The emphasis on sustainability and flexibility in urban planning of cities, the growing importance of and investment into mobility hubs in under-utilised parking spaces, the creation of car-free zones have all radically transformed the way we think about our surroundings, especially in societies that are traditionally car driven.

But better mobility is not just a need for cities. Even the private sector (businesses) and end users (drivers and pedestrians) understand the value of shared, integrated, connected mobility and the last couple of years have seen many new innovations in this area. The above are just some examples of how we can use technology to improve the way we manage vehicular space and energy.


While new technologies create new opportunities they also create new challenges. For example data privacy, regulatory compliance, interoperability across the entire mobility value chain, standardisation, talent re-skilling and the need to create new business models and data sharing/management practices are all major challenges that need to be solved. However solutions to these problems are becoming increasingly available and one example we can highlight is in Data standardisation - with initiatives like APDS (https://www.allianceforparkingdatastandards.org/ which is now an official ISO specification) and OMF (https://www.openmobilityfoundation.org/).

As we move into the future, it is essential that we continue to develop new and improved ways to manage vehicular space and energy. Only by doing this can we create a sustainable future for mobility.

The role of Space in Future Mobility

Space is the final frontier, both in advanced science and also in our everyday lives. It is where we look for and find new ideas, solutions, processes and efficiencies but we also run into new needs, challenges & problems.


So what exactly do we mean by “better space and energy management” when it comes to vehicular mobility on the context of space? That means finding new ways to maximise the utilisation and overall return provided by space while using lesser energy and resources to make better use of the space that we have.


There are a lot of ways to do this. We can find new ways to share the space between different users with different needs while continuing to generate, use & store cleaner energy. We can also find new ways to better manage space for use cases such as ride-sharing, shared vehicles, flex zones at curbs etc. Finally, we can find new ways to manage our resources used by our spaces, like increasing the energy efficiency or reducing the operating costs of the solutions we deploy for space management.


All of these things will help us move towards a more sustainable future. And that's why the future of mobility lies in better space management.

The role of Energy in Future Mobility

Energy is defined as the ability to do work. Energy shape-shifts across all natural and human activity and ultimately our goal is to harness this energy in a manner that maximises productivity and well-being for all with as little energy loss or waste as possible.


Transportation uses a lot of energy and produces emissions but it is an unalienable part of our everyday lives as it brings us goods and services which we need for everyday survival and well being.

Some of the key trends and innovations in energy innovation as it relates to mobility are in the areas of decarbonised transportation, energy digitalisation, smart grids/micro-grids, distributed energy resources management and ultimately, highly productive zero carbon economies.

Given the prominence of electrification (the 'E' in CASE) and increasing/unstable carbon fuel prices it is clear that energy will be the most significant variable in the ongoing industrial revolution of vehicular mobility. We simply cannot embrace future mobility without better energy management.


Why now?

There are many reasons why space and energy management are important. For one, they can help all of us make or save more money. When we better manage space then we avoid wasting more money on rent, energy, people costs etc. without compromising on the quality of our goods and services. Additionally, good space and energy management will definitely help improve the environment, user experiences and overall satisfaction for both the providers and consumers of vehicular space and energy. By using less energy, we reduce pollution and conserve resources. Finally, good space and energy management improves overall quality of life. All around us mega-trends like CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric), MAAS (Mobility as a Service), changing vehicle ownership paradigms etc. point to the obvious - the time to bring in future mobility is now.

How will all this affect mobility in the future?

There is no doubt that energy and space management will play a major role in the future of mobility. With the ever-increasing price of fuel, it is becoming more and more important for people to find ways to save both money and energy. One way to do this is by using public transportation but we can never eliminate personal mobility or logistics altogether.


Actually, better management of vehicular space and energy are tightly correlated and interdependent. As an example, we can’t improve energy efficiency without better space management. Think of idling cars in traffic jams wasting energy. All of this comes as a huge socio-economic cost to ordinary citizens and therefore must be addressed.

The key to the future of vehicular mobility is constantly looking for ways to use space and energy more efficiently. This will require a mix of different solutions that are tailored to the specific needs of each community and category of vehicular transportation (parking, curb management, tolling, traffic etc.).

Conclusion

The future of vehicular mobility is about more than just autonomous or connected cars, electrification or ride-sharing and car-sharing. It’s about how we move people and goods around cities, and how we manage space and energy to make our transportation systems more efficient and sustainable. The key to making this happen lies in better space and energy management. Through smarter use of real-time data, innovation in technology and end-user experience and changes in the way we build cities and move people around them we can definitely make the future of mobility a reality.

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