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Tomorrow’s Mobility Ecosystem Requires Efficient, Multimodal Integration

Over the next decade, the mobility industry, driven by the convergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected and autonomous vehicle technology, could account for nearly $11 trillion in economic value. How automotive and technology stakeholders recognize and respond to the challenges is the “line in the sand” moment that ultimately will determine winners and losers in that space, according to Andreas Mai.

Mai, the former director of smart connected vehicles for Cisco Systems Inc., kicked off the Forum as moderator for the panel “Creating an Ideal Mobility Ecosystem.”

“The ideal mobility ecosystem is seamless,” said Chuck Gulash, director of Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center. “It’s one where people can have the most access and flexibility.”

How that is accomplished can take many forms, panelists said.

Mudassir Sheikha, who co-founded Careem, one of the largest ride-sharing companies in the Middle East, said mobility as a service can bridge the gap between traditional modes of transit such as fixed bus routes. In Dubai, for example, Sheikha said ride-sharing plays a key role in growing the country’s economy by connecting people to jobs. However, he acknowledged that western nations are slower to embrace ride-sharing as an industry disruptor.

Addressing the “elephant in the room,” Steven Fernandez, director of investor relations for Abertis Infraestructuras, said building the infrastructure necessary to support next-generation mobility remains a challenge, especially when 25 percent of roads and bridges across the United States are already in need of repair. Fernandez said public and private partnerships can augment funding from state and federal grants.

“There is no such thing as a free road and the private sector can bridge that gap … but it’s not just about putting down asphalt. People need to see real value,” he said.

As an example, Fernandez said his company is developing dedicated lanes in France for electric vehicles and working with the State of Oregon on a plan to charge residents per mile driven to fund infrastructure upkeep.

In responding to a question on the impact of mobility on automakers, Gulash said Toyota has embraced the changing landscape and is taking steps to transition from traditional automotive company to a full-service mobility provider. In 2015, Toyota announced a $5 billion investment in the Toyota Research Institute to focus on the development of robotics, autonomous driving and artificial intelligence.


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