The Future of Transportation

September 4, 2019

 

Future Gazing: Trends in Transportation

 

The universe of transportation has not seen radical changes since the 1950s when jet travel was commercialized.  Since then we certainly had improvements but only incremental and generally underwhelming.

All that is about to change. The future of transport is on the brink of very exciting developments with the power of being utterly transformative for the life of all of us. To be sure it is not only technology that needs to speed up the innovation cycle; in fact, economics and human behavior must all come together to achieve a successful evolution.

We can identify 3 time-horizons that may define the pace and structure of transport innovation: the next 5 years, the next 10 years and the next 25 years.  The Economist has recently published a set of articles, videos and infographics on this topic that illustrate how transportation is evolving within these timelines and how the investing community is responding to the call.

What emerges from The Economist work is that the present is focused on three trends:

  • Sustainability

  • Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) or the technology behind minimization of stress of payment, planning and travel time

  • Sharing economy or minimizing the stress of ownership.

The Economist also highlights gaps between the Believers (business executives that believe the technology will succeed) and Investors (business executives that are investing in the technology).  In our first time-horizon (5 years), the magazine identifies a gap between believers and investors when it comes to on-demand transport (optimization of transport, public/private services, last mile). Believers poll at 73.5% while Investors only poll 48.5%.  An acceleration of the transformative trend will require an increase in available investment capital. This will also help execute in data and security systems which could represent the weak link of this evolutionary process.

In the ten-year time horizon, we can project significant improvements in vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, widespread utilization of electric vehicles, autonomous driving and sentient tools (tools that can think, that are socially aware and work with human beings). 

The last time horizon, 25 years, promises the stuff we all dreamed about when we were kids:

  • Mass space exploration thanks to robotic technology and hopefully more breakthroughs

  • Customized travel with the introduction of new services and products

  • Multi-purpose vehicles (flying cars anyone?)

  • Super high-speed trains (hyperloop, magnetic levitation)

Of course, not all trends identified by The Economist might end up being successful and our time line might dynamically change but what is certain is that transportation is on the cusp of a life changing, transformative cycle that will define our habitat and many social rules of engagements for decades to come.

Please attend our October 10th event at the Italian Cultural Institute when a distinguished panel will discuss the future of transportation. Follow the link below for more details on the event and to RSVP. As more details become available, they will be published on our site.

 

Please note: MEET ITALY events are by invitation only. RSVP mandatory

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