More than ever, the mobility industry continues to invest in ground-breaking innovations. Advancing autonomous driving, connected vehicles, sustainable and smart city transportation, and the use of mobility as a service (MaaS). These technological advances are driving the focus and work of the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) in the mobility industry.
In more recent years, several lifestyle trends have arisen, particularly with adults who are comfortable with technology, that have influenced the mobility industry. Increasingly, we see a growing desire for the development and use of assisted driving and increasingly automated vehicles. Meanwhile, concerns over safety and security issues indicate that we may be a long way from truly seeing highways dominated by self-driving vehicles.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought on enormous challenges in how society functions, and this included a significant decline in commuter traffic as well as a shift in the types of transportation people, especially younger adults, are willing to use. One thing remains constant: people want easy and accessible mobility in both urban and rural areas. We saw an increase in the amount of people using apps and public transportation in lieu of personal vehicles, and we expect this trend to accelerate in the years to come as many younger adults living in dense urban areas are reluctant to invest in vehicle purchases and upkeep.
As we look toward 2022, we reflect on several advancements in the mobility sector while also noting three major trends for 2022.
1) Building Trust in Autonomous Vehicles
While 2021 brought continued advancement of autonomous vehicles, we saw several incidents across the world where technology failed which clearly indicates we have a long path ahead. According to a recent study, self-driving cars currently have a higher rate of accidents than human-driven cars, but the injuries are less severe. As we look towards the future, IEEE SA is looking for ways to help address these issues and improve upon the technology through the development of standards.
Future vehicles will be increasingly more connected, automated, and smart due to computerization and software embedded intelligence; enabling technologies for highly automated driving include features such as sensors and sensor fusion, connectivity, high definition maps, and various artificial intelligence (AI) techniques for different purposes. There are many advantages to autonomous vehicles, including lower fuel consumption, reduced accidents and last mile services. Currently, we are all drivers of cars. As time evolves, the challenge is that cars will no longer be standalone automobiles and will become part of an end-to-end mobility system.
An autonomous vehicle cannot be trustworthy unless it is safe. However, trustworthiness also implies reliability, availability, and resilience. It is critical that a connected vehicle has the ability to sense its surroundings to model the environment and react safely. To do this, additional safety risks, such as AI black box embedded functionality, must be alleviated.
Autonomous vehicles have the potential to revolutionize transportation, but we are cautious to predict when we will see communities with fully autonomous driving vehicles.
As technologies continue to evolve, IEEE SA will continue to develop standards for highly automated vehicles The IEEE P2846 Draft Standard for Assumptions for Models in Safety-Related Automated Vehicle Behavior, for example, defines the minimum set of reasonable assumptions used in foreseeable scenarios to be considered for road vehicles in the development of safety-related models that are part of an automated driving system.
2) Continued Shift Toward Sustainable Transportation
During the pandemic, more people were working from home and fewer people were on the road. But as more people return to offices and personal ventures to travel, recreate, dine out, and shop, mass transit and roadways will become more utilized again. Nonetheless, we can see shifts in urban areas in particular, where younger people are fueling the demand for smarter, more efficient means of transport from one place to another.
This shift in transportation highlighted the initiatives for green transformation of transportation of the mobility sector and the reason for future cars having electric and other powertrains. To make this happen, new infrastructures such as charging networks and hydrogen distribution networks need to be developed and widely deployed.
In this rapidly evolving space, IEEE SA offers a portfolio of standards, test suite specification, and conformity assessment program to further deployment of safe and efficient DC rapid EV chargers. In addition, we provide a cross-industry collection of standards and resources to promote adoption and integration of distributed energy resources (DER), which will eventually facilitate sustainable transportation.
3) Mobility as a Service and Smart City Transportation
While the pandemic created a period of time during which commuter traffic declined, the fact remains that many citizens—especially the younger generation—prefer alternate means of mobility, including mass transportation and cycling. Further, issues with the supply chain have challenged the automobile market; fewer new and used vehicles are available, and the prices are higher, thus forcing some to consider alternative mobility options that may not necessarily be their first choice. While the demand for vehicles dropped, it simply doesn’t erase the fact that an increasing number of younger adults want public transportation.
The shift from individually-owned vehicles toward interconnected shared mobility solutions used as an if-and-when needed service—often referred to as Mobility as a Service (MaaS)—has increased. Younger generations, including GenZ, are trading in their vehicles for city bikes, scooters, and rideshare options. Of course, they are tech-savvy and are comfortable using smartphone apps, so it’s no surprise we’ve seen widespread adoption and growth of highly successful rideshare apps. MaaS providers typically act as intermediaries and offer smartphone applications for real-time and on-demand mobility services like end-to-end ticketing and payment.
MaaS offers integrated private, shared, and public means of transportation to conveniently move people from one place to the next. MaaS enables inclusive mobility for anyone and, in particular, for people who are elderly or disabled. It provides a framework to manage disruptive forces and leads to an accessible, fair, and sustainable transportation future. MaaS has risen in popularity in cities and countries around the world. While a smart city in Europe may look different than a smart city in the United States, both are working to offer a multimodal capability which bundles transport options.
Get Engaged with IEEE SA
In 2021, we saw many changes and developments in the mobility industry shaping technological, economic, and social innovation. Moving into 2022 and beyond, IEEE SA will continue to help the global mobility ecosystem address existing and new opportunities to drive a more trusted, secure, and connected mobility transformation.
IEEE SA offers a full ecosystem designed to work across industries and sectors to drive worldwide participation and champion the benefits of open standards and solutions, accelerating their adoption and the advancement of technology. We offer an inclusive, neutral platform that enables global collaboration, which includes:
- Industry Connections program enabling exploration of emerging technologies to incubate new standards and solutions;
- Conformity assessment and certification program to speed up market adoption of standards and build confidence in product functionality and safety;
- IEEE SA Open – a comprehensive open source development platform that helps raise the world’s standards through new communities of technology collaboration.
We welcome participants from academia, government, businesses, technology providers, as well as stakeholders from other industry sectors.
- Hermann Brand, IEEE SA Mobility Practice Lead