CES 2020 is kicking off into full gear in Las Vegas this week and that means the world's top technology minds have gathered in one place to share their vision of the future.
In the mobility space, particularly with autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles, advanced or new technology is playing a major role in shaping the vision of this industry. Data, or rather the analysis of big data through AI, is being laid as the foundation to the future of mobility.
This topic was the point of discussion for three industry experts at CES – Hardik Bhatt, Leader Digital Government, Amazon; Seleta Reynolds, General Manager, Los Angeles DOT; and Marcus Welz, CEO Siemens Mobility Intelligent Traffic Systems, Siemens Mobility.
How Technology will Shape Automotive Mobility
Seleta Reynolds leads one of the most populous department of transportation agencies in the U.S., which means she has access to a lot of transportation data to improve the function of the area she manages. For example, utilizing traffic data and predictive AI, L.A. has already started to dynamically change parking meter cost to maximize revenue and optimize who parks where.
She went on to mention how this same technology is shaping the timing of traffic lights and other DOT systems across the city. Technology and big data are helping governments manage public roadways, and that's good because how public roadways are being used is changing too.
Cars are no longer autonomous. They're data-collecting machines that patrol the streets through various levels of autonomy. That means that our mobility infrastructure is no longer static either, that infrastructure is now a data source and a data interpreter.
The group collected at CES stressed that the future of mobility is one where each part works in synergy to improve the overall function of the mobility system. All this collaborative technology work comes at the hand of massive, massive amounts of data.
Data can help build trust in the mobility sector
Hardik Bhatt of Amazon discussed a pilot Amazon worked on with the city of San Jose. The city had fantastic traffic infrastructure already – lights that would read intersections and change if it noticed a car was waiting. The traffic system was is also able to pre-emptively change to accommodate emergency vehicles, shortening their trips and decreasing wait time.
The city needed help determining how much money and lives that were saving, a problem Amazon was able to solve. It was a data analysis problem, after all.
Through this, the city was able to shift the conversation from "look how efficient our system is" to "look at how much money we saved and how many lives we saved through better technology." It's conversations like this that ease concerns with technology adoption and use throughout the modern infrastructure.
At the core of that mobility advancement that ultimately saved lives and increased traffic efficiency is the management of big data.
Digital twins in mobility
For anyone that has been involved in manufacturing, more specifically in factory management, knows the idea of a digital twin. It's a concept of creating an entirely digital version of a factory, complete with real-time data feeds, to effectively manage the entire pipeline in one place.
For the city of Los Angeles, they took this concept and created one central city data management system that is essentially a digital twin of the entire city's transportation network. This central hub was then transformed into a compliance standard for technology companies. This meant that all road closures, construction data, and/or accident data were compiled into one "digital twin" system for the city.
This not only improves the ability of the city to understand what's occurring on its streets on a day to day, but it welcomes technological advancement through delivery robots, autonomous vehicles, and other pieces of tech into the city with ease. The city can simply say, as long as you can comply with our central city database, you're welcome to start innovating our streets.
At the end of the day, this increased ability to collect and manage data is improving mobility solutions for the entire world. Mobility has shifted from an analog space focused on getting from point a to b. It's now a highly digital space that focuses on saving lives, using as little fuel as possible, and maximizing human well-being. The future of mobility is arriving on the backs of delivery robots, autonomous vehicles, and even through smart stoplights.