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Future Mobility

9 months 6 days ago #11 by Valela
Valela created the topic: Future Mobility
If all you wanted was milk, you wouldn't buy a cow, would you? So why do we buy cars that sit idle for 95% of the time and half of that time in traffic? Ask any production manager who only has 5% utilisation of his plant how he feels about that. You wouldn't get answer because that plant would long have shut down even at 50% utilisation. The low utilisation of our motor vehicles has created a whole new industry and has made the automotive industry the best candidate for technological disruption. For years the auto industry has been feeding our insatiable need for faster high-performance machines in pursuit of the elusive "driving pleasure". These machines are fast becoming the leading cause of death amongst you people (a South African dies every 40 minutes from from road crash), they are responsible for over 30% of emissions and congestion that cost over R100bn pa on lost productivity.

These societal problems are the biggest motivation for disruption that is sweeping the automotive industry. One would have expected that the automakers would have innovated enough to get us out of this mess. In fact compared with mobile phone technology in past 22 years (since we started using them in South Africa) the automakers hardly been innovative. The only ground-breaking technologies they came up with were the Electronic Stability Control, Air-Bags and ABS Breaking. Other than I can't think of any serious invention that addresses the aforementioned problems associated with the cars. Instead we have had recalls for factory faults and emission scandals.

It was only a matter of time that the tech disruptors of the Silicon Valley saw this gap and lurched on it. The race to driverless cars was not initiated by the auto industry, but this industry had to do something or face extinction. Since Google started working on the self-drive prototype in 2009, more and more telcos have moved in and they include the likes of Intel, Uber, Lyft, IBM, etc. Automakers had no choice but to follow suit, but they could not innovate on their own. They have been teaming up with these telcos.

Quo Vadis, South Africa? Our response to this is the establishment of the Mobility Centre for Africa, which will be a collaborative platform for government, industry and academia to research, test and deploy autonomous and connected vehicle technology. We believe that the country needs to proactively manage the disruptive forces in this sector. Whilst we were not ready to deal with the ride-hailing disruption, we can begin to anticipate future disruptions and plan for them better. Failure to do this the current Uber-Metered Taxi standoff will be like the proverbial Sunday picnic. We are encouraged by initiatives like the Transport Forum, wherein we can talk about these issues. However at some point concrete action will have to be taken by government to create a conducive environment for this change.
The following user(s) said Thank You: HarryvanHuyssteen

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4 months 4 weeks ago #13 by Johan F Muller
Johan F Muller replied the topic: Future Mobility
Hi Valela,

Thanks for the detailed note above.

Can you give some feedback as to the traction that the Mobility Centre for Africa has been getting specifically from government buy-in?

Perhaps this is an offline conversation...

ps: I love the idea of the Mobility Centre, and that the presentations are made available post the Round Tables.

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