A World in Constant Motion – Transportation 2030
Welcome to a day in the very near future.
You’ve just woken up in Stockholm in the year 2030.
When you wake up, your electric car is returning from its part-time job, autonomously shuttling passengers to earn money while you sleep. The digital currency you earn on passenger fees and ancillary entertainment during the trip automatically updates your car loan account, so some months you have no payment at all.
Payments for many things related to your car, from charging time to maintenance to rider fees, are negotiated on surge pricing algorithms in real time. The car’s connected payment processors contain AI linked to a variety of data input streams so they can update transactions in private blockchains.
In the week ahead, you plan to join your friends in a local investment collective that will finance for a fleet of driverless cars. As personal car ownership has become more rare, fleet financing has grown much more common. Banks are increasingly brokering data gathered from riders and analysis of that data instead of money.
As you get dressed in front of the augmented reality mirror, you check your bank services for updates on the services you requested before you head to your car. Your bank handles micro-loans for business projects and concierge services for bundled financial offerings.
The 9-to-5 job only exists in history books, so there’s no rush to go anywhere. Work is what you do, not a place you go.
Your car’s on-board AI engine plots out a route based on who you plan to meet and which tasks you want to get done, both personal and professional. Your calendar, refrigerator and supply closet sent their updates on which items are running low as part of the rout planning.
As you get ready, everything is online and connected thanks to the IoT ecosystem around you, from your shower to the clothes you wear to the mirror you check before heading out the door. All the data gathered from your mood and goals will inform what your car prepares for your ride to the next destination.
As you settle in the wide, comfortable back seat of your self-driving car, data visualizations and videos of information you will need for the day are displayed on the augmented reality windows. Today will be extra special because you will use the Hyperloop to Berlin for lunch with your new teammates. These remote co-workers, part of your digital ecosystem, are Digital Specialists at the Ports of Hamburg, Copenhagen and Malmö, which are collaborating on a transnational logistic hub. They are responsible for handling more than 20 billion of tons of freight using AI to direct autonomous traffic on sea and land.
Over lunch, they will discuss enhancing the AI-based algorithms that adapt inner city traffic light networks based on the size and frequency of containers at the docks. Light rail and long-distance, autonomous, electric trucks will rely on these programs to move smoothly through the cities with minimal stops at red lights.
After lunch, you’ll meet up with family members coming into Stockholm by electric bus. Autonomous cars and on-demand ride-shares have greatly reduced private car ownership, so large parts of the city are now pedestrian only shopping streets. To move around the city, you travel by AI-controlled personal modular pods that connect and separate as needed to deliver everyone to their destinations.
Overnight, your home powers up and feeds necessary information to your hydrogen-powered car for a leisurely long-distance drive to Gothenburg. This trip combines a mini-vacation with a work-related tour of MobilityXlab, where you’ll learn on how transportation could change by 2040.
Return to 2019
Back home in 2019, the technology underpinning the future you just witnessed is already here, but exists in pockets distributed around the world. You can estimate the most likely course for the road ahead based on emerging trends, existing plans, and cutting edge technology that is moving rapidly toward commercialization. In terms of banking and financial services, KPMG’s 30 voices on 2030: The Future of Financial Services is a valuable roundup of ideas on where payments and car loans are very likely headed in the decade to come.
For example, Norway is leading the world in the adoption of electric cars. On the other side of the planet, Singapore is the most advanced society in terms of applications of autonomous vehicles. Closer to home, Spain has taken the lead with the first full-sized Hyperloop capsulein production.
Here’s a closer look at these three technologies.
Electric Cars in Scandinavia
Norway offers a glimpse into what sustainable transportation will look like in the immediate future. Electric vehicles made up 60% of all new car sales in the spring of 2019, up from 39% in 2017. Even at this rate, it will be difficult to meet the Norwegian Parliament’s goal of 0 vehicle emissions by 2025. The problem is not that more people don’t want electric cars, but that they don’t have private parking spaces where they can charge the car overnight, according to the Institute of Transport Economics (ITE).
In comparison, electric cars represented just 6% of Sweden’s vehicle market, but that is still enough to make them a world leader in zero emissions transportation.
Another challenge is that as more people avoid fueling up at gas stations, the loss of tax revenue impacts many public sector areas like budgets for road repairs. The drain on electricity at home charging stations is also starting to strain the energy grid, so significant investment in infrastructure and clean energy sources must move in step with transportation changes. Options that have been floated to make up for tax losses include a per-mile tax, assessed by IoT sensors and tracked in a blockchain network.
Autonomous Cars in Southeast Asia
The first autonomous vehicle test center was opened in Singapore two years ago in the Jurong Innovation District. The center was designed to support the Centre of Excellence for Testing & Research of self-driving cars.
The lack of established international standards for autonomous vehicles meant establishing this center in Singapore moved country into the forefront in spearheading the testing and development of a range of emerging technologies like self-driving cars.
In 2019, they are still teaching themselves how to drive, however. Most tests with AVs around the world have been done in closed-circuits and not public roads and lack of real-life unexpected situations. Expect that to change soon with upgrades to visual processing and road sensors.
Hyperloop in the Global South
A small town called Bobadilla in southern Spain features a $500 million transportation complex dedicated to the development of technologies like the Hyperloop. The Bobadilla region actually hosts more than 9,000 companies in transport and logistics and is the second largest aerospace cluster in Spain.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) is currently at work to build a test track in Toulouse, France. HTT is working with a Spanish engineering firm to construct new passenger capsules.
The Virgin Group, led by Richard Branson, said they expect a Hyperloop track to be open for business with human passengers by 2021.
They have stiff competition because HTT also has plans in the works to have their first working section of Hyperloop track ready for display at Expo 2020 in Dubai, with plans to eventually extend the network to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, around 1,000 kilometers away.
Data on Radical Innovation
All these changes are coming fast, but we’ve found some startling results that could impact where and when they arrive. When we searched for the top capabilities of transportation companies in our own database, which includes thousands of innovative projects around the world.
It turns out that transportation companies are very capable at tasks that require incremental innovation, like efficiency improvements. In fact, our global database shows that they are scoring nearly as well as the top quartile of performers across all industries.
However, radical innovation remains a challenge for transportation firms. It is precisely radical innovation what is needed to bring together all the strands of promising technologies into the sustainable transportation grid of tomorrow. That kind of radical innovation requires breakthrough thinking and original applications of concepts from outside the industry.
It’s clear that getting from A to B in the decade ahead will involve much more than just upgrading to environmentally friendly cars.
This future will be built on coordinated developments in digital currencies, distributed ledgers, peer-to-peer transactions, new sources of tax revenues, 5G wireless, turn-key remote work solutions, and innovative thinking across the board.
Just as mobility and connectivity have, the next wave of advances in technology will trigger massive changes to the structure of business, cityscapes and society itself. These large scale changes will be led by the most innovative transportation companies and the businesses that support them.
Join the Conversation
During Almedalen 2019 DNB is inviting experts and thinker to discuss this exciting topic in depth. Join the conversation on July 1st at Hamnplan 5 in Visby, further details about the program can he found here. I hope to see you there!