A sign of the time

Calgary city planners have given their blessing to the city’s first condo tower built with NO parking spaces.

Calgary city planners have given their blessing to the city’s first condo tower built with NO parking spaces. Car sharing is a rapidly growing trend around the world, and particularly in Canada.  Calgary and Vancouver lead Canada’s push to avoid car ownership.

Car sharing users are expected to reach 650 million by 2030. Considering that shared driverless vehicles will certainly be available by then, this number may be underestimated.

 

Image : GEC Architects

Highly automated vehicle models abound

Volvo and Subaru are just some of the auto manufacturers that are promising the delivery of cars that avoid crashes.

Volvo and Subaru are just some of the auto manufacturers that are promising the delivery of cars that avoid crashes.

Consequently, even before fully self-driving vehicles are navigating our roads and highways, we will be benefitting from technology intended to compensate for driver error. This will have a tremendous implication on numerous industries, including insurance, car repair, …

The 2015 NHTSA Report on Vehicle Crashes estimates that 94% of car accidents are due to driver related issues.

UK: driverless leader?

British MPs are calling for a Minister for Driverless Cars.

British MPs are calling for a Minister for Driverless Cars. The reason: the UK wants to ensure that the country does not miss out on the economic opportunities presented by new vehicle technologies. Louise Ellman, Labour chair of the Commons transport select committee: “The government should be more active and have a much more holistic strategy to make sure this new technology has the maximum effect… We need someone in charge of this, looking across manufacturing, technology, regulation and testing.”

The UK’s economic development driverless push is having some excellent results. In Milton-Keynes alone, one of the areas where testing of driverless technology will be undertaken, it is estimated that 7000 new jobs could be created, 5000 new homes built and a potential of £150m public and private investment.

To ensure that the UK takes and maintains the lead in this area, a comprehensive, multi-ministerial approach working closely with industry is prioritized.

From managing to optimizing: “Collaborative” Technologies are Re-Inventing Businesses

Mobility has seen a great number of innovations in the past few years with the adoption of smartphone technology by drivers and passengers. Most information technology features that previously needed expensive specialized hardware and infrastructure no longer require them.

Smartphones vs specialized hardware

Mobility has seen a great number of innovations in the past few years with the adoption of smartphone technology by drivers and passengers. Most information technology features that previously needed expensive specialized hardware and infrastructure no longer require them. Who needs an onboard GPS now that you can use your smartphone? With millions of apps offering concierge, taxi or even food delivery services, smartphone technology has forever transformed mobility models.

How is that possible? Well, a few years ago, one had to set up a long and painful hardware design and testing procedure but now the development of smartphone software significantly reduces time to market. It also provides you with instant access to a community (colleagues, friends, volunteers, etc.) from which you will be able to spread your ideas into a full service proposition.

What is the result? A transport service that can be easily deployed by a few engineering companies with an innovative service and a web platform, making them de facto “instant transport operators”.

With increasing smartphone equipment penetration, technology can spread more easily and your ideas can rapidly become a success story.

The collaborative economy has been more and more popular in the last five years, thanks to its use of internet and smartphone technologies. By mastering tools to match supply and demand in an instantaneous manner (Uber, BlaBlaCar, etc.), it has radically changed the way people use transport services.

Collaborative economy services respond to the need for an immediate solution in an original, transparent, simple and structured way that reassures users.

VALUE vs USAGE

Collaborative economy models have a role to play in future transport trends by offering mobility alternatives and flexibility to users as well as by optimizing transport USAGE. For example, “all in one” mobility platforms such as Moovel combine in two clicks several real-time transport databases (bicycle, bus, train, car-sharing, carpooling, taxi, etc.) into one useful personal mobility tool, thereby offering scenarios that allow people to have the most efficient commute depending on time of day, budget and location.

With the arrival of new transport operators willing to move from an extensive use of cars to an intensive use of cars, we can observe the creation of several “mobility niches” in the mobility business: work carpooling platforms, airport car-sharing,   parking – lot  sharing, wheelchair-access vehicle car-sharing, etc.

Collaborative models can also boost technology adoption by bringing new customers to test a new service or a new product. Bollore, a French car manufacturer, adopted electric vehicles for its AutoLib public worldwide car-sharing service. BMW has done the same with its DriveNow program in San Francisco, Munich, Berlin and soon, in Vancouver. These shared mobility programs are introducing customers to the advantages of electric vehicles while reducing the number of cars used in busy metropolitan areas.

Optimizing current vehicle use 

Collaborative practices can also help local businesses and communities get access to new mobility services and discover new markets. While several local or national carpooling operators are currently specializing in work commuting solutions, a trend in Europe is to implement corporate car-sharing models.

OpenFleet, a corporate car-sharing solution based in Montreal, has developed custom-designed fleet sharing technology and services targeting companies. It makes use of existing conventional, hybrid or electric motor pools.

By making company cars available, not only for professional use but also for personal use on a 24/7 basis, companies are building new mobility services that make life more flexible for their employees. As a staff member, you’re no longer borrowing a vehicle, you’re helping your own company to lower its Total Cost of Ownership and even to generate revenue through shared mobility.

A good example: a European national postal service charges its employees for using its “off-duty” vans and trucks for personal use evenings and weekends.

Such programs allow fleet owners to use their inventory of barely-used vehicles sitting idly in parking lots more efficiently. By combining these fleets with collaborative technologies, the result can be greater mobility in suburban or even rural areas, areas that are traditionally deficient in local transport infrastructure.

By developing “on demand” car-sharing ecosystems in peripheral zones, French peer to peer car-sharing operator Koolicar is progressively giving access to vehicles owned by local businesses to communities of individual users. Fleet managers therefore generate additional revenues. logo_koolicar_HD

Through its efficient use of information technology, the collaborative economy helps to optimize current vehicle utilization, reduce congestion in large municipalities and create new leasing services in suburban areas. It also allows for more sustainable practices by taking unused vehicles off the streets.

More than two decades after the launch of CommunAuto, Montréal’s car sharing service, and 15 years after the launch of Zipcar, most automotive OEMs are now involved with or closely monitoring car-sharing practices all over the world, adapting to new mobility trends. While automotive technology and infrastructure continue to evolve (autonomous vehicle, electric highways, etc.), collaborative economy solutions allow company fleets to be used more efficiently by businesses and individual users.

 

Special contribution from

Bruno is Director of Business Development (North America) for PVP Technologies, a Montreal-based company designing comprehensive corporate car-sharing technologies and services through its OpenFleet solution for fleets, cities, rental groups, pure players and car dealers.

 

New entrants & alignments

New entrants & alignments

Mahindra, the electric vehicle subsidiary of the Indian UV specialist, has submitted proof of concepts of driverless technology to the UK and Singapore governments, requesting permission to test prototypes on public roads.

Nissan-Renault and Daimler are reportedly eyeing the codevelopment of self-driving technology.

Continental’s Chief Executive opened the door to Apple for the development of a car.

Baidu’s [China’s largest Internet search engine] CEO has teased about an autonomous vehicle release this year. It is rumoured that Baidu is working closely with BMW on introducing aspects of vehicle automation.

Electric transport

A number of EV projects were discussed over the last few weeks.

A number of EV projects were discussed over the last few weeks.

Pacific Gas & Electric have asked California regulators for permission to roll out an unprecedented 25,000 EV charging stations.

While EVs have proven themselves as passenger vehicles, electric propulsion has yet to make significant inroads in the heavy vehicle space.  However, numerous investments in battery technology are paying off and this will contribute to electric propulsion in heavier vehicles. One of Tesla’s co-founders, Ian Wright, is targeting Class 8 garbage trucks as the benefits are significant for an application that is estimated to do 130 miles with 1,000 hard stops and 1,000 full brakes per day. There are over 110,000 refuse trucks in the US alone. His company, Wrightspeed, has raised $32 million, and is developing quiet garbage trucks with a strong payback.

 

Photo : Wrightspeed

Ford vehicle for ride sharing

Earlier this year, Ford announced 25 mobility experiments.

Earlier this year, Ford announced 25 mobility experiments. Some of these involved ride sharing.  More information has been provided about a dynamic shuttle that is being proposed for the ride sharing market that will be tested with its employees in Michigan. Users would request a ride through an app. A premium mini-bus will collect and drop off passengers with similar routes. So, will Ford be competing with transit in a world where the lines of mobility are increasingly blurry?

Photo: “2012 MV-1 in civilian dress” by Mr.choppers – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2012_MV-1_in_civilian_dress.jpg#/media/File:2012_MV-1_in_civilian_dress.jpg

Idaho self-driving bill

A new bill allowing the testing of vehicles on Idaho’s roads would encourage self-driving car developers to invest in R&D activities in the state.

A new bill allowing the testing of vehicles on Idaho’s roads would encourage self-driving car developers to invest in R&D activities in the state. Another example of how SDC activity in many jurisdictions is an economic development push.

Ride sharing insurance

An increasing number of insurers are rolling out ride sharing policies.

An increasing number of insurers are rolling out ride sharing policies. With over 160,000 Uber drivers alone in the US, this emerging market presents interesting opportunities for those carriers who are interested in getting involved.

A brief overview of insurers and their offerings to this segment (many focus on Colorado as this state is one of the first to pass a rideshare insurance law):

Metromile: Using a Metronome device, the company tracks mileage and charges for miles driven. The carrier is targeting Uber drivers in California, Illinois and Washington. The Metromile policy is in force until a passenger is assigned and then, Uber coverage takes over.

Farmers: Offering ride sharing insurance in Colorado. “One of the unique benefits of the Farmers Rideshare endorsement is that it provides the same coverages a driver currently has in place and extends those benefits to customers during the Period 1 [seeking passenger]”… Coverage reverts back to ridesharing company when the driver picks up a rider. The endorsement will add, on average, an additional 25% to a customer’s premium”.

USAA: An endorsement to Colorado customers that covers ridesharing during the period of seeking a passenger. The additional premium: $6-8 / month.

MetLife: Offering Lyft drivers in Colorado that covers all periods of driving, even when a passenger is in the vehicle.

Geico: Beginning with the state of Virginia, Geico’s policy offers coverage during all driving phases. Pricing is expected to be somewhere between a personal and a commercial policy. The plan is to have a national rollout.

Erie: Ridesharing insurance offered to drivers in Illinois and Indiana. Coverage provided to those that have a “business use” endorsement on their personal auto policy. “Business-use policies cover people who use their personal car for things like delivering flowers, but historically it has excluded coverage for people who use their cars as taxis.”

Google’s insurance play

To date, 14 insurance companies are working with Google on its recently launched auto insurance comparison site.

To date, 14 insurance companies are working with Google on its recently launched auto insurance comparison site.

Some insurance industry auto analysts are suggesting that the comparison site “may not be just about an additional revenue stream [for Google] – it could be about collecting more information on how the different insurance companies price the same risk”. This will allow Google to use that information in case it wishes to underwrite auto insurance in a future of shared, driverless vehicles, where some component risk may very well be included with the price of travel.