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In light of the upcoming Autonomous e-Mobility Forum in Qatar, where do we stand today, and what challenges lie ahead

For over a decade, we have referenced the Connected, Autonomous, Shared Ownership, Electric (CASE) mobility framework to make sense of the biggest opportunities and to forecast the future in each of these areas. Ahead of the Autonomous e-Mobility Forum 2024 in Qatar, where do we stand today, and what challenges still need to be solved across these facets of mobility?

ConnectivityVehicle connectivity is one area of mobility that has largely lived up to its promises since the CASE framework was introduced. Tesla was first to prove that vehicle driving dynamics could be changed through software updates delivered over-the air.

Legacy automakers were quick to jump on this bandwagon, keen on not only the hope of saving billions in warranty and recall repair work, but equally excited to envision a future where consumers could unlock vehicle features such as full-self-driving and enhanced vehicle range and power, as a pay-as-you-go monthly revenue stream. The promises of the ‘connected city’ seem a little farther out of reach, but great advancements are being made through both vehicle connectivity and smart city infrastructure.

Autonomy

In 2014/2015, many of the top consulting firms forecasted that by now, half of new vehicle sales would be fully autonomous. For many reasons, that level of autonomy has not yet been achieved for passenger vehicles. For the most part it has turned out to be a far harder challenge to solve than expected a decade ago. Having said that, full autonomy for commercial, agricultural, mining, and other industrial use circumstances in fixed routes environments, when not transporting human cargo, has proven to be a much easier case to satisfy.

Shared Mobility

Like with autonomy, consulting firms expected a future where few consumers would own their own passenger vehicle, with the general population preferring to hail personal transportation from their mobile app. The promise of full autonomy would have dramatically reduced the cost of operating ride hailing services like Uber and others driving massive adoption.

Even without autonomy, ride hailing has proven to be a great complement to passenger vehicle ownership and usage. However, shared mobility has never lived up to the hope that we would by now have witnessed massive ownership substitution. This can be equally observed in the US, Europe, as well as in Qatar and the wider Gulf region.

Electrification

Tesla showed the world that a gradually growing segment of consumers would indeed adopt electric vehicles (EVs). The Chinese had the foresight to make large investments into the EV battery supply chain, as well as providing top-down incentives to stimulate local EV demand. As a result, China has leapfrogged ahead of any other country in the world, in terms of EV sales, infrastructure, and EV technological competence.

While headwinds to EV adoption seem to be appearing in countries like the USA, the global shift from internal combustion (ICE) vehicles to EVs at this point seems inevitable.

Autonomous e-Mobility Forum in Qatar

Hosted and strategically partnered by the country’s Ministry of Transport, Doha will provide a meaningful backdrop for the Autonomous e-Mobility Forum in April 2024. Qatar has long worked towards cultivating itself as a hub for international exchange on topics of not just regional, but global relevance.

Knowledge-driven advances to solve the world’s critical sustainability challenges, be it from a technological or a policy perspective, are indeed central aspects of Qatar’s National Vision 2030, that likewise supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) and their translation into action.

Governments around the world are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and their transportation systems are focal to the urgently needed transition towards more renewable energy sources. Qatar is no exception. Its selection as venue reflects the country’s interest and commitment to future-oriented transportation solutions, as well as existing strategic plans for a smart autonomous vehicles infrastructure.

Beyond that however, Qatar and its fastest-paced neighbours in the Gulf alike feature the unique circumstance of rapid population growth and completely new urban developments rising from previously empty spaces. These new neighbourhoods and cities in the region provide ideal real-life testing grounds for the future of mobility that can hardly be found anywhere else in the world.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Steve Greenfield

Quelle/Source: Gulf Times, 23.12.2023

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