Future trends in personalised mobility, discussed at FIA-ERTICO Workshop on ITS
On 13 February 2013, FIA members gathered in Barcelona to assess the upcoming trends in personal mobility and to discuss the opportunities and challenges for Automobile Clubs at a workshop hosted by the RACC with the joint support of ERTICO.
In the mobility sector, technologies are evolving rapidly thanks to the emergence of low-cost, open-source tools, low hardware costs and the widespread connectivity which we now take for granted. Services are more consumer-driven than ever before and the vehicle is the next frontier of the connectivity revolution, with unprecedented potential for new services and features targeted at travellers.
Three issues in particular arose in the presentations given and subsequent discussions:
- Ensuring the availability of open and high quality data for traffic information,
- Safeguarding free and fair competition alongside safety and driver privacy when it comes to in-vehicle services, and;
- Identifying new, sustainable business models for service providers and automobile clubs.
With regard to services, it was suggested that it would be better for consumers if manufacturers concentrated on the production of affordable, safe cars, and left the provision of additional services to suppliers and service providers.
Speakers included Pawel Stelmaszcyk, Head of Unit for ITS, European Commission; Thierry Willemarck, CEO, TCB; Jacob Bangsgaard, Director General, FIA Region I; Johan Grill, Director Conusmer Protection and Public Policy, ADAC; Miquel Nadal, Director, RACC Foundation; Jose Luis Revuelta, RACE; and Hans Bosch, Program Manager Conncected Car, ANWB. Members can find all presentations available to download here.
Personal navigation devices have come a long way since their original rise in popularity during the early part of the last decade thanks to the availability of GPS and the commercialisation of map making for this purpose, with ever more routes mapped out and made available to drivers at the touch of a button.
Moreover, the advent of the smartphone has provided travellers with thousands of possibilities for calculating the smartest way to reach their destination. Indeed, a quick glance at the most popular navigation apps page on the Apple Appstore shows 240 apps enticing the user to beat the traffic, avoid getting caught out by speed cameras or find the cheapest car park in the area.
At policy level, the European Commission has shown its support for optimising the use of road, traffic and travel data and providing a free minimum information service as one focus of the ITS Action Plan. Furthermore, the need for cooperation between the public and private sectors regarding the exchange of data, the deployment of monitoring devices and management of data quality was highlighted in the guidelines for ITS deployment in urban areas on multimodal information recently published by the EC Urban ITS Expert Group. Such actions should crack open sources of reliable data and also help to meet policy goals by providing consumers with more quality choices and encouraging travellers to shift to other modes of transport.
Automobile clubs themselves have already made a strong foray into the smartphone world, with many of them providing a variety of apps for their customers and for motorists in general, a common one of which is of course traffic and travel information.
Safeguarding free and fair competition alongside safety and driver privacy when it comes to in-vehicle services
The implementation of the EU-wide eCall service in 2015 is set to be the largest deployment of an in-vehicle telematics system ever seen. eCall is purely a safety device, but its implementation is widely viewed as opening the door for many other in-vehicle telematics based services, ranging from b-call services and remote diagnostics to new insurance services and even entertainment functions.
The possibilities in this field are exciting, both for consumers who have become so attached to the smartphones and the apps that make our lives easier - extending smart, useful and dynamic services to the vehicle is an appetising prospect, and for industry which sees an opportunity to join the connectivity boom and utilise services to reach goals such as increased safety and cleaner mobility.
However, there are a number of issues to be solved in order to reach widespread deployment of in-vehicle telematics systems, including how to minimise driver distraction and develop a common HMI, ensuring the security of data and driver privacy and who controls the system and its content. Even how the telematics system will operate is up for debate; some envisage embedded systems as we will experience with the eCall system, whilst others see a link between the smartphone and the vehicle, as has been developed by several vehicle manufacturers and suppliers.
It is widely acknowledged that in-vehicle telematics services are set to play a big role in personalised mobility in the coming years, and for the automobile clubs it is especially important to ensure that consumers have free choice in selecting the best services - which should be safeguarded through an open market and free competition in the context of the relevant legal frameworks.
Identifying new, sustainable business models for automobile clubs
The rise of the internet has opened up a whole new market, with new key players, new audiences and new ways of doing business. The traditional business models of telecommunications operators often didn’t fit with this new way of connecting, communicating and experiencing products or services and as a result a new generation of tech companies sprang into action with innovative organisational and business models, based on shared content and shared revenue.
Consumers have become used to having the freshest, most relevant information in their hands with just a few swipes of a touch screen, and this is especially the case when it comes to travel information.
Can long established brands retain their position in the market in the face of a new generation of consumers – those who are connected almost from birth and are more familiar with doing business online using innovative ways of paying for content than with the traditional idea of simply paying a fixed price for a fixed service?
This will pose a great challenge in the future, and given that we have so far been unable to accurately predict how or to what extent our connected society will continue to transform, technology and service providers need to pay extremely close attention to developments and the emergence of new trends in the market.
Technology and service providers, including the automobile clubs, are embracing opportunities to provide more diverse and high quality services to their members. Continued innovation and responsiveness to consumer demand will be vital in ensuring success in the future.