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What’s new about intelligent mobility?

Melina Christina | 21 Oct 2016 | Comments

If you are working in the transport sector, it is very likely that you have heard the term ‘Intelligent Mobility’.

Often used as a buzz word, everyone talks about it but it seems there has been some confusion and lack of clarity on what this actually includes, and how, for example, this differs from the ITS sector or the ‘smart city’ concept. Definitions could be summarised as initiatives using technology to:

  • Improve current transport systems, by making them whether more efficient/less costly (e.g. electric vehicles, wireless induction charging) or more convenient (e.g. City Mapper, contactless payment, AutoPilot from Tesla); and
  • Provide new opportunities to move around, e.g. Uber, self-service bike-sharing scheme, Drive Now from BMW.

Considering those two angles, whether improving the existing or creating new mobility opportunities; one could argue what is new about this? For generations, engineers and scientists have been trying to do exactly the same - achieve those two goals, with a similar approach which is using ‘new’ technologies available at the time.  A simple example is the inventors of the internal-combustion engine whom we can’t deny they were doing ‘intelligent mobility’.

Some will disagree and say that Intelligent Mobility includes the focus on user needs and a real personalisation of the journey. Again, transport has always been on meeting user needs and putting the user at the centre of the journey somehow. What is more personalised than the private car? Current technology, especially based on the mobile phone, has generated opportunities for personalisation and indeed to a greater extent than anything possible before. It is this shift that creates a new framework and stimulates a change in behaviour that helps to make Intelligent Mobility a new trend.

Fundamentally, Intelligent Mobility is about innovating and thinking differently, based on the new opportunities technology brings us.

However, it is important to note that the concept of sharing resources, whether bicycles or cars, or partnering with a party from another discipline (e.g. Airbnb with Tesla) to create new solutions, or developing a new business model (e.g. MaaS) are firstly founded on human intelligent ideas and secondly, amplified by technology.

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