From October 29th to October 30th, 2020, the “4th Global Future Mobility Conference” was held in Deqing International Convention Center. The conference was attended by well-known executives from domestic and foreign host factories, experts and scholars in the automotive industry, and representatives from relevant government departments, focusing on the theme of “Mobility Technology Linking Future Cities.”
At the conference, Zhang Yongwei, Secretary-General and Chief Expert of China Electric Vehicle Hundred People Association, delivered a speech on “Reshaping Mobility: The Integration and Evolution of Shared Mobility and Autonomous Driving” and presented the “2020 Blue Book of Future Urban Mobility”.
The key points of his speech are as follows:
Ladies and gentlemen, according to the tradition of this conference, our research team will conduct some research. This year, the team has produced two research achievements:
First, an overview of future urban mobility, analyzing the basic modes of transportation and trends in change.
Second, we have analyzed the macro effects of the integration of future shared mobility and autonomous driving. The specific contents of the two reports have been printed and shared with everyone. Due to time constraints, I want to briefly report our main points.
In our “2020 Blue Book of Future Urban Mobility,” we have proposed a new suggestion for how to redefine the transportation industry.
The importance of the transportation industry may have undergone some major changes compared to the past. Especially with the country proposing to realize a new development pattern, expand domestic demand, and increase investment, the four important strategic areas that we can support are: clothing, food, housing, and transportation.
Among these four areas, “transportation” should occupy a core position. Our food, clothing, and housing all have upgrading needs, but the scale and driving force for innovation may be more in the field of transportation. This field plays a more critical role in the strategic support of the country.
But this “transportation” is very different from the past. In the past, we understood transportation more based on equipment, using the idea of automotive carriers and more industrial thinking to understand the transformation of transportation. Now, it seems that we need to break through traditional thinking, use more technology concepts, and intelligent thinking to understand the changes in transportation, especially the profound impact of technological innovation on transportation.
Every Industrial Revolution has a landmark technological innovation.
These technological innovations have been applied deeply in the field of transportation, bringing about huge changes in transportation, even some disruptive changes.
During the agricultural era, transportation relied more on waterways and carts. In the first industrial revolution, bicycles and public transportation were invented. Especially with the steam technology of the first industrial revolution, the railway revolution occurred. The second and third industrial revolutions were electrification and automation, which gave rise to the Ford Model T production line and rapidly popularized cars.The scale of the automotive industry was widely applied in the second and third industrial revolutions, especially during the late stage of the third industrial revolution. Now we define it as the fourth industrial revolution, where the widespread and profound application of information technology and the internet leads the revolution in the automotive and transportation industries, bringing about tremendous changes in transportation.
We must break away from the industrial thinking of the third industrial revolution and combine current innovations to understand transportation. It is because of the application of so many cross-border technologies that sharing, new types of rail transportation, BaaS, autonomous driving, and the streamlining of transportation services have emerged in the transportation industry as a series of innovations. This is why we believe that we have entered a period of major background reconstruction in transportation.
In terms of specific transportation fields, China’s characteristics determine that public transportation should become our main mode of travel, as highlighted by leaders in the Ministry of Transportation and Dean Wang Xiaojing. This also determines that from a technological innovation perspective, the field of public transportation is most in need of introducing new technologies and new modes, and its development speed should be faster than other fields. It should make a huge contribution to improving the entire society’s transportation.
The Last Mile is the Huge Gold Mine for Transportation Change
It has the highest added value and the most active innovation. “The last mile” refers to shared two-wheeled bikes that mainly solve the consumption space of 1.5~3 yuan, covering 1-3 kilometers and about 20 minutes of travel time, with the fastest development rate in this field.
Later, we had shared electric cars that extended the distance. “The last mile” is the most active in innovation. In the “last hundred meters,” more innovative business models emerged during the pandemic, such as community logistics. With so many daily deliveries, more than 3 million couriers in China deliver community logistics. We call this “the last hundred meters,” and to improve its convenience, we need to use new intelligence to reconstruct it, such as smart community logistics, including park logistics and smart parking. Therefore, this area is a huge gold mine for transportation change, with the highest added value and the most active innovation.
Although the business model is still being explored, the rapid increase in its penetration rate worldwide cannot be ignored. Therefore, a business that is still facing losses is also showing a high-growth trend, which is what we call shared travel now.
However, we believe that the most anticipated aspect of this field is not just a business model but its combination with autonomous driving. Experts from the World Bank and the World Resources Institute have mentioned this concept that once autonomous driving is combined with shared travel, it will be a future mode of travel worth looking forward to. The prospect of this combination is becoming more and more evident, and some expectations worthy of commercialization have emerged.According to our team’s research, current autonomous taxis are still L2 and L3 level vehicles. The safety cost, mainly composed of safety staff and monitoring, accounts for 60% of the total vehicle cost. Model calculations show that the cost reduction rate will exceed 90% in the next 5 years. In another 5 years, operating costs will account for half of the total cost, and human costs will be almost negligible. Therefore, the effects of this model have intrinsic motivation and the resources invested become a market-driven force. This expectation is worth looking forward to at this time.
Once the two are integrated, we have also analyzed the benefits through models. For example, safety can significantly reduce the probability of traffic accidents, achieving safe travel, meaning 96% of traffic accidents can be prevented. Secondly, it can reduce congestion. When the penetration rate of autonomous driving reaches 90%, road congestion can be reduced by 60%. More importantly, it can also release city space, achieving the ratio of automatic and private ownership replacement. This replacement ratio is not comprehensive, as there will be some private ownership and some autonomous driving. However, every additional autonomous driving vehicle used for operation can replace and limit the number of private vehicles owned by 11-14, thus reducing 20 parking spaces, increasing the utilization efficiency of the entire vehicle, releasing more urban space, and of course bringing significant energy-saving and emission-reduction benefits.
Of course, this is only an expected future. The specific paths towards this future face various problems related to technology, regulation, and infrastructure. It won’t happen immediately or may not happen at all if the environmental problems are not solved. This is what our theme advocates for, pushing for the cooperative development of vehicles, roads, travel, and cities.
The above is the entire content of this speech.
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