What happened in 2018, and what can we expect in 2019? We believe 2018 could represent a distinct tipping point from thinking, talking about, and planning for future mobility to implementing it. It’s the year when a firework of electric-vehicle (EV) launches began and charging infrastructure became solid in key regions; when cars enabled by artificial intelligence (AI) began to replace “dumb” ones; when we moved from advanced driver-assistance systems to autonomous vehicles (AVs) in real life; when the automotive and mobility industries shifted from a driver- or owner-focused value proposition to a customer-centered one; and when micromobility started to scale up.
You can make the case that all four ACES trends—autonomous driving, connected cars, electrification, and smart mobility—made appreciable advances in 2018, despite some setbacks. It was the year when theoretical discussions about the future of mobility turned into concrete actions across businesses, cities, and key world regions. Please join us in reviewing some of the highlights from this singular year and exploring what the future could bring. Autonomous vehicles Possibly the furthest into the future measured by large-scale commercialization, AVs still appear on track in terms of technology. While manufacturers are still working to ensure safety requirements are met, they seem to have overcome major technology hurdles and most of them made exciting moves in 2018. OEMs are seriously considering AVs as a business.
They reallocate capacity and their vehicle portfolio to free up cash for AV investments, restructure their organizations by moving key executives to AV business units and are most aggressive in forming partnerships with cities and local municipalities. High cost is an ongoing concern, however, which is one reason major automotive, high-tech, and mobility players are teaming up (Exhibit 1). The field is becoming more crowded as well—for example, with all three of China’s big tech players now pursuing AVs.
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