Answer 8 of the dossier “40 KEY QUESTIONS TO UNDERSTAND THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD”, coordinated by me at request of the communication group “GRUPO Z”, where an expert in each subject answers a question about the trend of a certain topic. In this specific case, this question is answered directly by me:
Our evolution as a civilization has always been related to our ability to mobilize people and goods; and for the same reason, the future development of transport will notably mark our evolution as a society.
To focus this article, we will basically talk about land transport, which will have three major centers of revolution:
The first is the massive electrification of means of mobility: private cars and small urban transport will open the way, but they will soon be followed by the heavy transport of goods and people. Environmental awareness will be the driving force, but the massive expansion of this type of transport will come from its functionality. Its implementation will come much sooner than we can think, thanks to the following accelerating factors: regulation, massive installation of charging points, wide range of car models, cost savings, less mechanical problems and social effect coming from the latest trends. In the next 5 to 10 years we will see a totally different picture in our cities and roads.
The second factor will be self-driving technology. Geolocation and digitalization will convert cars into robots driven by electrical energy and governed by artificial intelligence. There will be a period of adaptation at the legal, moral, labor and structural levels; but there is little doubt that seeing people driving can be exceptional in a few decades. And with it we will gain a lot in comfort and security; as the “robocars” will comply with all traffic regulations, can anticipate risk situations being communicated with other vehicles and a lot of data from the environment, and also will not drink alcohol, nor will there be learners, nor will they drive with the reflexes of an 85 year old grandpa.
But the third factor will really revolutionize land transport. The electric and self-driving cars will only be a necessary step to reach the real paradigm shift: the maximization of the most efficient public transport in the cities (electric, of course) will add to the practical disappearance of the private car. We will no longer need to own cars, because mobility services will be developed through apps or platforms that will offer us contracts for use, fees, low cost or premium, which will pick us up and move us where we need to. Different companies with large fleets of autonomous vehicles will compete in costs and efficiency, and will not think about selling cars, but rather providing us with transportation solutions. It is very likely that in a short time having a car of your own will become something exotic, similar to what it is now to have a horse.
ALBERT BOSCH: : Expert in leadership attitudes and future trends. Adventurer, entrepreneur and writer. Author of the book “The Explorer of the Future”.