Smart Transportation: Will You Still Own a Car in 10 Years?

During a recent panel discussion at the 2016 IoT Symposium in Mumbai, IoT experts discussed the future of connected transportation. The panel faced questions about ownership, business models, interoperability, and one of the hottest button issues in the world of IoT — security.

The discussion got me thinking about the future of all the different types of transportation: railroad, buses, metro, connected cars, ships, aviation — the list goes on. Each of these possibilities is an extensive topic to which I’d like to give due diligence in time.

But let’s take a second to imagine together what a world where nobody owns a car would look like.

The Future of Transportation and the IoT

  • Integrated mobility: Transportation infrastructure is going to change. We’re going to start seeing the presence of integrated transportation hubs, better ticketing, and better scheduling of transportation to meet the needs of consumers flowing in and out of it.
  • Mobility as a service: In the future, car ownership will be passé. People will seamlessly move from bicycle, to car, to metro, to bus in a context-aware environment set by their preferences and schedule. Essentially, this will create a personalized version of integrated mobility. When this concept is married with tiered pricing, traffic management improves, resulting in fewer traffic jams and auto accidents.
  • Automated driving and telematics: We’re starting to see all sorts of self-driving cars hitting the streets for testing. Google is hiring “drivers” to monitor its self-driving vehicles and has currently logged more than 1.6 million self-driven miles. Self-driving cars will soon be sold to the general public in mass, and with advanced telematics, they’ll be safer and more efficient than ever before.
  • Big, fast, and open data for effective management: All of this infrastructure is going to require massive data centers and platforms to manage them. This is Intel’s oeuvre, and we’re keeping pace with the latest developments to keep big data under control.

Big Issues Smart Transportation Will Face

To talk about some of the big issues, let’s shift gears into connected cars. New-age technologies like 5G, mobility, artificial intelligence and the IoT are all swirling together in this emergent industry.

I agree that mainstream driverless cars are at least a few years away — but, concepts like warnings triggered by driving patterns, geo-fencing, remote diagnostics, personalized insurance, and emergency response could improve the present. There has been much debate surrounding data ownership, business models, and the implications all this will have on security and interoperability.

For instance, in the Rhode Island state senate, a bill has been introduced that would regulate the generation, collection, and analysis of user data from telematics devices in vehicles. You can already start to see that the web of data is going to become more convoluted as more states involve themselves and federal guidelines are put into place.

On this issue, I have a pretty extreme prediction (though owning a Tesla one day is a personal goal). We could very soon see a world where no one owns a car. Instead, they are consumed as a service and regulated by the government. We are already seeing changing attitudes among youth in the U.S toward car ownership and commuting methods. Millennials are comfortable paying for a subscription to an experience rather than owning it (think Netflix for TV and movies, Spotify for music, or Uber for transportation).

In light of these changing demographics and demands, it will be exciting to see how quickly carmakers, aftermarket, tech companies, and regulators can adapt to meet the needs of the IoT economy. In 10 years, will owning a car be unusual? It’s no exaggeration to say that auto manufacturers have started weaving transportation strategies into their product maps.

I think that’s enough for now. In future posts, we’ll examine other changing modes of transportation and the challenges and opportunities presented by incorporation of the IoT.