There’s no doubt that business is changing. The Internet of Things, cloud computing, data analytics, artificial intelligence and robotics are unleashing innovations that are challenging traditional business models. The digital revolution that disrupted media, telecommunications, finance and retail sectors is now making dramatic inroads in the manufacturing sector. And nowhere is this transformation more evident than in the automotive industry.
Glam Adelaide went over to Sydney with Ford Australia this week for a Vivid Ideas Exchange. We explored emerging digital trends, shared bold ideas and talked disruptive technologies that are fuelling ‘The Mobility Revolution’. Joining the expert panel was:
Graeme Whickman – President and CEO of Ford Australia and New Zealand
Dr. Catherine Ball – Co-Creator, World of Drone Congress
Bryony Cooper – Executive Manager, City Access and Transport at the City of Sydney
Here are 5 incredible things they talked about that we’re super pumped for in the (near) future…
1. Driverless cars are the way of the future
Australia is on the cusp of a mobility revolution, rivalled only by the introduction of the automobile more than 110 years ago. The mobility revolution will bring forward a focus on alternative, sustainable mobility options such as multi-modal transportation and ride-sharing solutions. For many urban areas in Australia this will mean a shift away from traditional car ownership towards a different way of moving. Ford are already moving towards becoming both a transport and mobility company.
“Ford’s vision of the City of Tomorrow is not just made up of autonomous, electrified and connected vehicles, but rather, is a modern day collaboration with cities to work together providing solutions to complement and improve transport ecosystems including managing flow, multi-modal transport, etc.,” says Graeme Whickman, President and CEO of Ford Australia and New Zealand.
We already have driver-assisted cars (think parking assist, parking sensors, rain sensing wipers, blind spot sensors, hands-free features etc) but Ford are talking things like cars without steering wheels and gas pedals… what do you think?
2. We’re the second most congested country in the world
Australia’s population is expected to grow from roughly 23.8 million to approx. 30.5 million by 2031! The majority of that growth will come from major metropolitan areas. Mobility is a large issue for Australians and without change, the cost of delays and congestion are expected to continue to climb.
Future mobility solutions will provide Australians with more choice, increase safety on roads, increase accessibility, and reduce congestion and pollution through better use of existing and new vehicles, as well as more efficient use of current and new infrastructure.
3. Autonomous cars can save lives
Ford found that 90% of car accidents are caused by human error.
New transportation solutions will enable people who can’t drive themselves to be mobile – improving quality of life, access to services and engagement in society for many Australians. An autonomous future will increase the motorization participation rate for those Australians currently not able to drive, for example, people with vision impairment. Vision Australia estimates there are approximately 357,000 people in Australia who are blind or have low vision, and it projects that number will grow to 564,000 by 2030.
4. Drones are no longer toys
Drones are not just toys now. Sure they’re fun but they’re actually already changing the health and humanitarian industries in a big way, for example, they’re currently being used to assess the initial impacts of disasters and delivering supplies to grief stricken areas.
Drones are also being used for organ and blood transplants in Rwanda.
Dr. Catherine Ball says, “we’re not going to be in the mercy of robot overlords…There is one thing that computers and artificial intelligence can’t do and that is be human”.
5. Embrace the ‘Freedom of Movement’
Ford’s Freedom of Movement installation for Vivid Sydney is a celebration of innovation that fuses colour, light, sound and motion. It creates a mesmerising and breathtaking display, where each swing reaches for its limit. The festival runs to 17 June. Join the conversation using #movefreely
Cool things Ford are already doing that you might not know about…
In 2016, Ford acquired Chariot, a San Francisco-based crowd-sourced shuttle service, which operates nearly 100 Ford Transit shuttles along 28 routes throughout San Francisco Bay Area. Chariot’s routes are crowd-sourced based on rider demand and in the future they will operate dynamically – using data algorithms to map efficient routes to best serve the real-time mobility needs of communities around the world.
Ford is investing $1 billion during the next five years in Argo AI, combining Ford’s autonomous vehicle development expertise with Argo AI’s robotics experience and startup speed on artificial intelligence software – all to further advance autonomous vehicles.
The Last Mile E-Scooter Concept
In bustling cities like Melbourne and Shanghai, and all over the world, the car journey is only one part of getting to work or to family. Often congestion and a lack of affordable parking options force drivers to park far away from their actual destination. And it’s that final leg of the journey, from car to doorstep, which the E-Scooter concept is designed to enhance. The carbon fibre made E-Scooter concept can be accessed easily via its docking station in the boot of a Ford vehicle. Then, all the owner need do, is unfold it and ride it to their destination. An accompanying app, connected to the Ford Smart Mobility eco-system, gives the rider access to things like maps, distance to destination and the scooter’s battery life.
Locally, Ford is increasing its commitment to helping develop the next generation of innovators. Ford recently raised $300,000 to expand student robotics programs in Broadmeadows and Geelong partner schools. Ford engineers personally mentor students in these Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) programs to develop and program robots for competition around the world.