Automotive

The increasing relevance of data in mobility

2nd December 2021
Beatrice O'Flaherty

Whilst attending MOVE 2021 at the ExCel in London, I had the chance to speak to a range of mobility startups, as well as well-established companies in the industry, to learn about new data trends and revolutionising technology.

I spoke with Jan-Maarten de Vries, CEO of Bridgestone Mobility Solutions. He told me about Bridgestone’s development in the mobility sector from tire manufacturer, now incorporating sustainable solutions to make mobility greener, safer and more efficient.

De Vries shed light on the evolution of mobility. The industry has seen a shift from the simple mobility options that end users were offered, whereby people had limited choice in the way that they travelled. The latest mobility technologies have revolutionised transport and the way that we live.

Multi-mobility is now virtually limitless. People are no longer faced with decisions of just public transport or personal vehicles, but now met with a new generation of complexities. Not only has public transport transformed in recent decades, but even choosing a car comes with a long series of considerations.

A noticeable shift has been made towards the rise of electric vehicles (EVs). Those looking to buy a car must ask themselves whether they want to spend more up front but save in the long-term by investing in an electric or hybrid car.

As mobility becomes more seamless, it is revolutionising the way we think about travel – and the desired features in choosing our mode of travel. Cars are no longer about getting you from A to B. It’s about the horsepower and the additional features.

C.A.S.E.

De Vries said that the four biggest trends are best expressed through the acronym: C.A.S.E.

This stands for ‘connected’, ‘autonomous’, ‘shared’ and ‘electric’. De Vries said that this is a widely known term in the mobility sector, but could create very profound effects.

Connectivity of vehicles is increasing, particularly as they become more autonomous. This may be through advanced automated features, or even the possibility of cars without drivers in the longer term future.

The electrification of passenger cars, as well as in commercial mobility, is also a big transition that the industry is observing. This goes hand in hand with a new age of digitalisation. De Vries said that the introduction of the internet and development of phones has had a disruptive effect on many industries, not least mobility.

Value of data

A combination of connectivity and digitalisation has enhanced the value of data greatly. IoT is embedded within all of these spheres, as data is produced from connected vehicles with sensors. De Vries refers to the sensors as the “eyes and ears” of the car. They work on the roads and detect problems in vehicles, as well as measure the driver’s behaviour.

The collected data is used for analytics and AI to provide automated functions. For years people have acknowledged the value of data, but de Vries noted that not everyone knew how to process and use this it.

Data can now be funnelled more effectively, thus becoming purpose-driven. Exponential technology growth means that AI can develop at a rapid rate and process data more effectively. Using smart technologies, you can detect and extract patterns from datasets.

More companies are also emerging that capitalise on data aggregation. Data is not only driving the growth and development of various industries, but it’s become a marketplace in itself.

Industry fragmentation

When asked about what trends he foresees in the next five to ten years, de Vries suggested that many independent parts of industry chains are trying to “reinvent the wheel.” For example, in the automotive chain you have different tiers of suppliers and eventually reach the end user. Now, they wish to set up their own ecosystem and compete with one another.

With this, de Vries believes people should start to share their data horizontally, even with competitors. This will maximise the value of data. This in turn will increase the prominence of the role of data aggregators.

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