Connected and automated driving promises to revolutionise individual mobility within the space of just a few years. It will offer new mobility solutions that are cleaner, safer and more consumer-focussed than ever, but equally create new areas of business for the automotive industry.
Fuel consumption – and with that CO2 emissions – will be reduced, traffic will become even safer, and roads can be used more effectively, thereby reducing congestion. Car-connectivity and automation will also bring considerable economic gains for society at large. And let’s not forget how these developments will improve access to mobility for the elderly and people with disabilities, or those who live in remote areas such as the country side.
At the same time, connected and automated driving will create new areas of business that will change traditional automotive business models. Manufacturers will become providers of innovative mobility solutions, rather than ‘just’ being producers of vehicles. Manufacturers and suppliers are therefore spending a big part of the €60.9 billion that the automotive industry annually invest in R&D, on connected and automated driving.
However, it is important to make a clear distinction between automation and connectivity. Both will deliver distinctively different benefits and mobility solutions for society, and pose very different challenges for both the automotive industry and policymakers.
- Connected vehicles can exchange information wirelessly with other vehicles and infrastructure, but also with the vehicle manufacture or third-party service providers.
- Automated vehicles, on the other hand, are vehicles in which at least some aspects of safety-critical control functions occur without direct driver input.
Automation and connectivity are clearly not the same thing. For example, an automated vehicle will not use data received from other vehicles or from the infrastructure to make decisions about steering or braking. However, automation and connectivity are complementary and will reinforce each other in the medium to long term.