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Editor's Notebook

The Future of Mobility… is Right Around the Corner

One can’t dispute the fact that things are changing — and for the better.

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This model of a fully drive-by-wire system, on display at the Michelin Movin’On Summit in Montreal last month, can be easily modified into an autonomous vehicle.

At the intersection of innovation and transportation, you will find sustainable mobility — defined as means of transit that are sustainable in the sense of social, environmental and climate impacts. Behind the charge is ensuring the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability to satisfy the needs of future generations.

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Creating solutions for sustainable transportation is one of the greatest challenges facing cities today, and also a great opportunity to reduce traffic congestion, increase vehicle safety and improve air quality. But, it would require different types of public transportation — things like bicycle and pedestrian lanes, electric vehicles, car sharing, autonomous vehicles and the like.

While there is a mixed reaction as to what degree these seemingly unreliable or unrealistic (even futuristic) transport trends will gain acceptance or come to fruition, one cannot dispute the fact that things are changing — and for the better — as various interest groups lead the charge to make the world a better place, one sustainable innovation at a time.

Creating a forum to help define tomorrow’s mobility today, Michelin’s Movin’On Summit, held June 4-6 in Montreal, Québec, Canada, showcased the size, scope and potential of sustainable mobility, with the objective of moving from ambition to action.

The event was attended by more than 5,000 leaders from the academic, government, environmental and business sectors who explored the challenges, opportunities and cutting-edge solutions required to lead the way forward on issues of sustainable mobility, through a variety of conference sessions, workshops, labs, interactive experiences and networking opportunities.

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Topics included sustainable investment strategies, rethinking urban mobility, electric vehicle fleets, autonomous vehicles for goods transport, the effect of global warming on mobility, AI-driven e-commerce, building public trust and infrastructure for autonomous vehicles, connecting rural and suburban areas through multimodality, and much, much more.

You are likely already seeing many vehicles in your business with autonomous features and technology through ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), including forward collision warning (FCW), automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning (LDW), lane keeping assist (LKA), blind spot monitoring (BSM), rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA) and adaptive cruise control (ACC).

Next-level ADAS features are on the horizon before we’ll likely see a driverless car trend, where the proper tire design and features become even more critical to the safe and efficient operation of both autonomous and electric vehicles. (At the Movin’On Summit, Michelin also unveiled its newest breakthrough in mobility: a revolutionary prototype airless tire called the Uptis [or Unique Punctureproof Tire System]. Search tirereview.com for additional details.)

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Shift in Mindset

Beyond the need for a proper infrastructure to support sustainable mobility advancements, cultural-level challenges of a preference to own a vehicle, the need for a balance of incentives (carrots) and regulations (sticks) to move people to action, the element of trust and the ability to provide tangible solutions, connectivity, reliability, efficiency and the need to optimize resources and supply chains that are currently filled with disruptions, there needs to be a shift in mindset to get the sustainable mobility pendulum in motion.

Along those lines, here are some interesting tidbits from the Movin’On Summit that helps put the issue of sustainability into perspective:

  • The private, single-occupant vehicle, the most commonly owned vehicle by citizens around the world, is considered to be the enemy of air quality.
  • While the autonomous personal vehicle space will be a tough nut to crack, there will be applications where it will come earlier — like autonomous trucks for long hauls.
  • In some highly congested cities, pedestrians are likely walking two times as fast as the cars are moving.
  • We are a victim of our own behaviors. Do you really need that new XXX overnight?
  • The greenest mile is the one not driven.
  • Some countries are more progressive than others in this initiative. Singapore, for example, has committed to having more than 80% of households be less than 10 minutes from a metro station by 2023. Also, by the end of this year, Santiago, Chile could have more electric buses than in all of the U.S.
  • Autonomous vehicles won’t be parking, they’ll be cruising, so cities need to think about how they’ll make up for almost 40% of [lost] revenue from parking and citations.

The overarching consensus at the Movin’On Summit was the need to engage all stakeholders in the private and public sectors to work together to facilitate a sustainable transportation ecosystem. Undoubtedly, technology will play a key role in the “frictionless” experience at obtaining multimodality.

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Check out the rest of the June digital edition of Tire Review here.

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