Author: Lukas Kaestner, Head of Marketing, Hamburg Aviation & ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research
With smartphones moving into everyone’s life and pockets, the past decade was all about the mobile revolution. Will the next 10 years give us the mobility revolution? There are several aspects hinting into this direction.
The most visible revolution will take place in the sky: Urban Air Mobility is gaining huge traction these days, with aerospace giants, tech corporates and startups spreading their wings in this new segment alike. Germany is one of the front runners in the UAM industry, with globally renowned startups Volocopter and Lilium, as well as the CityAirbus, positioned in the evolving urban air taxi market. Unmanned drones from German companies such as Wingcopter could also bypass traffic jams in the future, providing urgent deliveries like medication and lab samples through the sky. How to securely add a new layer of air traffic to a densely-populated area like Germany is the focus of several research projects, like Windrove in Hamburg - and will be prominently discussed in this year’s SXSW program too.
Among many other things, Germany is famous for its cars. However, for how long will there still be a traditional automotive industry? Several trends, taking into account changing lifestyles, have started to blend car country into a greater mobility industry already. One is the advent of the sharing economy to automotive: Car2Go, DriveNow, and most recently urban minibus project such as Moia and ViaVan are prime examples for this - all featuring prominent launch partners from the German car industry. Another disruptive element is new technology. Whether it is the ‚Auf Wiedersehen‘ to fossil fuels (electric as well as fuel cell driven), or autonomous driving – which will probably hit the streets earlier than we think, but in long-distance trucking instead of private cars. Inside our cities, new ways of getting around are coming of age, too. Some are new, like e-scooters, some well known, like bicycles: In modern urban planning, bike lanes and bike sharing systems are becoming an ever-more important aspect.
Lastly, the new mobility revolution will be not about a certain technology itself, but about interconnectivity. One long-term goal is to make no European journey longer than 4 hours door-to-door. This implies the smart linkage of transportation methods from bikes all the way to planes, and the use of artificial intelligence to calculate the fastest combination of options in real time. Not only German companies like Moovel are already doing this today: If you’re wondering when AI in mobility will become a part of your own life, just grab your phone and do a route calculation in Google Maps. You will see that you are already using it now.