Transport, design and technology experts meet in Liverpool to pioneer future transportation at New Mobility Global 2018

The event opened with an introduction by Alex Kreetzer, Editor of Three6Zero’s New Mobility website and Visions magazine, who welcomed attendees with a speech that highlighted topics that would be covered throughout the day and what would be taken away from New Mobility Global 2018. 

Justin Benson, UK Head of Automotive at KPMG pointed out that most cars are only used about 5% of the time and this is extraordinary when compared to house purchases. He spoke of the pace of change in automotive, citing the example of New York City and how in 10 years a picture of Fifth Avenue changed from being totally dominated by horse-drawn traffic to being choked with automobiles. Benson talked about the change in ownership models that is rapidly accelerating, moving from vehicle ownership to shared ‘Mobility Ecosystems’, where OEMs can become asset managers of mobility solutions as opposed to being sales organisations; providing total mobility packages which could include cycles, buses, trains and vehicles. To end his forecast, Benson spoke of how autonomous vehicles will become the biggest ‘game changer’ in the world of mobility, changing the way the consumer will interact with vehicles more than electric and connected vehicles.

Up next, David Wright, Centre Director of the National Transport Design Centre in Coventry, who introduced the Centre and explained its place in the long-established automotive history of Coventry University, UK. Putting automotive in perspective from an environmental impact aspect, he pointed out how just 15 megaships produced as much CO2 as all the world’s cars, and how this needed addressing through alternative fuels in marine transport and utilising LNG, fuel cell, solar and wind power. Wright went on to talk about trains and asked the audience to vote on whether they thought that trains should become the major transport solution of the future, and whether they thought they would. The results were interesting, most hands went up for the first vote and very few for the second. He then talked about autonomous vehicles and how a driver had been filmed sitting in the front passenger seat of a Tesla, driving autonomously on the M1 motorway and how this, while being dangerous, was a result of the vehicle user taking the vehicle’s instructions on autonomous driving too literally. Wright talked about how poorly served the fee-paying passenger is in comfort terms, when one considers that trillions of dollars are spent on new aircraft every year and how uncomfortable they are. He went on to talk of urban air transport and how the infrastructure of new buildings needs to incorporate landing pads for delivery drones and how these were in place in some buildings in Shanghai.

After a networking break, delegates re-convened to see a presentation by Parham Vasaiely, Senior Senior Manager, Automated, Self-Driving Car Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover. He spoke of the huge step changes at JLR from the human factor and usability point of view. Vasaiely spoke of his aerospace background and how this prepared him for a holistic view of projects, considering the whole experience of the product and said that the automotive industry has a lot to learn from this type of approach. He posed the question: What is the real customer value of driverless cars? He highlighted all the different parts of the car, the interior, seating and other human interface areas and how these must be designed to communicate the autonomous nature of a vehicle to the driver and passengers, and accommodate the new requirements afforded by the valuable time that is gained by the driver when they no longer need to control the vehicle for much of their journeys.

He also posed the question: How do we move from touchpoints to journey? He explained this as examining how all the tech inputs such as charge status, heating and cooling before using the vehicle can be integrated into the planned (and unplanned) journey. Vasaiely closed highlighting the UK as a leader in this space, but said that there is a lot of investment still to be made and that a cross-industry approach is needed, where experts from aerospace and other cutting-edge industries can contribute new mobility technology.

The legal aspect of new mobility was examined by Klaus Brisch, Partner and Global Head of Technology at law firm DWF Germany, who made the point that visually impaired persons would be great beneficiaries of autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence in general. He went on to speak of how blockchain technology, smart contracts, Big Data, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence will be increasingly interlinked. He said that the technical progress is leading to growing challenges to the legal system. He posed the question of whether an autonomous vehicle should be considered as a legal entity, should it have its own insurance and who should pay the premium for this cover. The protection of the data harvested by the vehicle is also an important legal question said Brisch, who compared vehicle and aviation accidents and suggested that perhaps an independent organisation should have exclusive access to this data, as the aviation authorities do now.

Cyber security and the privacy of users’ data captured by vehicles was discussed in a presentation by Andrea Amico, founder of Privacy4Cars. He showed illustrations of the great deal of data that is often left on vehicles after they have been hired or leased, and that drivers should start ‘cleaning off’ their personal data – which in many cases isn’t done today. He spoke of the free to download Privacy4Cars’ app, which allows one to get personalised instructions to delete all data from hundreds of vehicle makes, models, years, and trims.

Amico went on to talk about the need for increased awareness of privacy and cybersecurity implications not only for vehicle users, but across the broader automotive ecosystem. He rounded off his presentation with the statement that protecting data in this way is fundamental to a healthy future for the connected vehicle of the future.

‘Automotive disruptors’ was the theme of the presentation by Kiran Devlukia, Senior Project Manager from Tata Technologies. He talked of how Tata Technologies has been approached by dozens of start-ups and OEMs looking to have a Level 4 autonomous vehicles developed and produced within 18 months, something that cannot always be done. He spoke about the legislation in different parts of the world and how it drives the development of EVs and autonomous cars. Devlukia talked about how many OEMs are not conversant with the more sophisticated areas of connectivity and security in vehicles and that to deliver full connect car programmes with the right security and efficiency goes well beyond most OEMs’ capabilities

After the summit broke for lunch, when delegates toured the International Business Festival and enjoyed the difference attractions scattered around the hall, the forum resumed with a presentation from Stephan Anescot, Managing Director of Smarter Cities. Anescot spoke about the various transport ‘platforms’ in different cities and highlighted Whim, the first live MaaS platform, launched in Helsinki, Finland in 2006. This system is designed to give customers limited or unlimited access to several different transport solutions in a city. In the system, every transport operator is required to allow others to sell tickets for its services

Megan Hughes, Technical Manager of BioCote then gave an insight into the extraordinary quantity and diversity of microbes that are found in the vehicles of today and will be found in the increased diversity of source in shared vehicles of the future. She showed microscope slides of various microbes that could suppress growing bacteria on untreated and treated surfaces. Hughes then went on to detail some antimicrobial treatments, with different methods to suit different materials and manufacturing processes. She talked of how antimicrobial technology does not replace regular cleaning but supports it, and how testing regimes could prove the technology’s effectiveness on a long-term basis.

William Knapp, Chief Product Officer of car2go took the stage next and talked of the terrific growth of car sharing since its inception in the 1960s. Knapp pointed out that the development of connectivity in vehicles is driving carsharing growth at an unprecedented pace, enabling much-improved tracking of vehicles and their usage. He spoke of regions and OEMs that are introducing EVs in various cities and are learning a great deal about customer behaviour and, in the case of Daimler, using car2go’s expertise in gathering data on EV usage in shared car applications. Knapp was keen to point out the integration of shared cars with public transport, giving an example of a project in the US where car2go incorporated parking spaces into a public transport infrastructure and cut the total emissions profile of many journeys.

Anna Paola Reginatto, Electric Vehicle Marketing Manager of Nissan Europe, spoke of the history of the Nissan Leaf and highlighted the excitement of the modern electric car and its democratic nature that it is now available to many levels of society as the price has come down. She talked of intelligent driving in EVs, with smart use of the power reserve, intelligent power in being connected to smart power grids and obtaining the best value electricity and intelligent integration with local and nationwide power grids and innovative use of spent battery cells in domestic power applications. She spoke of how 92% of the world’s population lives in areas where pollution exceeds safe limits and this must be a powerful spur to vehicles such as Nissan Leaf. Reginatto showed a slide on the Nissan Electrified Ecosystem, with connected services, charging infrastructure, grid services (known as V2G), energy storage and partnerships with public and private development initiatives. She mentioned the problems of charging infrastructure for apartment dwellers and the possibility of using streetlamps as a simple charging infrastructure. Reginatto summed up Nissan’s EV and connected car approach as that Nissan is not destined to be only a car maker but more of a partner in mobility solutions.

Colin Smith, Certification Manager for Transport Energy and Emissions Specialist Energy Saving Trust showed slides of his own car history as a real-world example of plug-in hybrid ownership versus the diesel car he owned previously. He then took the audience through questions about their car usage and revealed that an EV or a PHEV would make great financial and environmental sense.

The last speaker of the day was Richard Stobart, CEO of who asked the question, is it possible to charge an electric vehicle from a streetlamp? This question is particularly pertinent for city dwellers as 30% of UK dwellers do not have charging facilities off-street, this figure rises to 78% for London dwellers. He spoke of the myths about the low power of streetlamps and quantified the quite high amperage and voltage available from them. Obart showed the device.

To close, Alex Kreetzer conducted a discussion and round-up of the day, which brought together speakers and attendees to discuss how the industry would achieve success through the pillars of future mobility. Through an extremely interesting and productive half an hour session, the conference closed with an overall understanding of what is needed, be that collaboration, standardisation and innovation.

Thank you to all of the keynote speakers, panelists and our audience who participated at this year’s New Mobility Global 2018 at the International Business Festival in Liverpool and we look forward to seeing you again next year.

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