Today, “voice-enabled devices” are transiting us into a new dystopian world, which is also impacting the way we move
Artificial intelligence is transporting us into unimaginable mind spaces.
Just ten years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine that we could command a machine to do mundane chores. But, we have to recognize the “inevitability” of machines taking over our daily chores, as chess champ Gary Kasparov famously said.
Today, “voice-enabled devices” are transiting us into a new dystopian world, which is also impacting the way we move. Huge disruptions are unfolding in urban mobility, as globally countries and governments are making a paradigm shift towards smarter and sustainable transportation.
Countries are testing “Smart” intelligent highways, roads which will be paved with solar panels, mapping sensors and electric-battery rechargers, and will charge electric cars from the ground up. Autonomous cars are not in the realm of science fiction anymore and neither is a cherry red electric car orbiting our solar system.
In India too, we need to brace ourselves for the transformation in our urban transport ecosystem. IoT enabled connected cars in the nascent stages in India will grow exponentially. Worldwide, it is expanding at the rate of 35% as customers demand more “connectivity” within and outside the vehicle.
These cars can perform a stream of clever activities on their own, such as warning you of an impending collision with another vehicle, or drive you to your office in the mornings, after you belt up.
You can also have an IoT enabled, smart battery in an electric vehicle providing daily updates about its health to optimise the use of energy in your car. These batteries are connected to a network that can guide you to the nearest charging or swapping station. Companies around the world are capable of creating newer technologies that allow swapping batteries in a few minutes. This is a reality.
Shared mobility services too have started to turn traditional transport models in India on its head. A study by PwC reveals, more than one in three kilometres driven will be under one of the many forms of ‘sharing’ by 2030.
Metro rails and Smart Cities et al have opened the doors for more innovation in technology, energy and infrastructure in the transport sector.
In terms of technology, there is traction in mobility-related app services. New players with business models in transportation, such as mobility-as-a-service, offering services customised to suit people’s needs are emerging.
Shortly, through an app a commuter can have access to all modes of transport, public and private, allowing them to pick and use the most suitable combinations of travel and pay electronically for it.
On the energy front, conventional energy with its attendant soot emitting fuels in the future will be replaced by batteries, solar power, charging infrastructures, and swapping stations. The way energy is produced, stored and consumed will be completely revolutionised.
New technologies are being crafted to suit this evolving, tech agnostic and diverse ecosystem such as innovative charging and swapping stations, vehicle-to-grid systems, connected car components, big data, etc. By 2030, this energy market is expected to touch $200 billion.
India’s transport industry has always gravitated towards cost-effective and convenient solutions that have often resulted in large-scale adoption.
Electric mobility is one such model, it is emission-free and modular to conform to India’s different requirements, requires less maintenance and suitable for our public transport. But, EVs are currently facing a number of challenges, such as high costs, lack of infrastructure, and long refuelling time, which are blocking its mass adoption.
Globally, however, there is a surge in investments by OEMs worldwide in research, development and deployment of EVs, pushed by falling battery prices and innovative energy storage technologies. Today, we have hi-end battery technology capable of storing up to 13.5kWh of electricity.
Europe, USA and China are accelerating their drive to adopt more EVs, with investments in EVs from the EU and US automotive industries expected to shoot up to 90 billion Euros in the next five years. Moreover, globally 55% of cars will be electric by 2030.
As a nation, we have the opportunity to create a global differentiation and lead this transformation in mobility. We need an “India centric” solution to suit our diverse transport systems, to leverage our growing renewable energy reserves and solve our pollution issues. Can India adopt a different path to address this space and offer it to the world?
(Chetan Maini is the Co-Founder and Vice-Chairman of SUN Mobility. Views expressed above are his own)