« Previously: Decoding Intel's 'Passenger Economy' concept  

I found choosing the year 2050 as a base year for Passenger Economy predictions interesting.

Clearly, neither Intel nor Strategy Analytics foresees a sudden market explosion for fully automated vehicles even though the first Level 4 model—not Level 5, though—is expected to reach the market in 2021.

Strategy Analytics isn’t predicting fully autonomous [Level 5] robo-cars to “begin proliferating globally until 2035.” The report said, “By 2050, the base year of our scenarios, [fully autonomous vehicles] account for nearly 50% of all vehicles sold.”

A 50% share for pilotless cars in 2050 might strike some people in Silicon Valley as too conservative.

The report is mindful of “a significant paradigm shift” needed among consumers in the use of pilotless vehicles. Consumers’ perceptions of safety and reliability are important. This will also require “a major change in consumer views toward vehicle ownership,” the report pointed out.

The report asserts that changes needed for the regulatory and potential infrastructure to accommodate driverless cars will happen “over the next generations instead of the next few years.”

20170608_Intel_Passenger Economy_02 Figure 2: Passenger Economy service revenues 2025-2050. Source: Strategy Analytics

Converting drivers to passengers

The report confirms that Mobility-as-a-Service is a reason why we all believe fully automated vehicles will sell. This is the motivating assumption of everyone in the autonomous vehicle community.

The expectation is that a new Passenger Economy “will drive change across a range of industries, displacing vehicle ownership with Mobility-as-a-Service, and defining a new landscape of concierge and ride-hailing services, as well as pilotless vehicle options for businesses in industries like package delivery and long-haul transportation,” according to the report.

Further, the report predicts that such Mobility-as-a-Service solutions are so attractive that they will eventually convert drivers to passengers.

What would Mobility-as-a-Service look like?

But, seriously, aside from Uber, Lyft, Zipcar, and a few other ride-hailing and car-sharing services that already exist, what other solutions would Mobility-as-a-service provide?

The report offers a few interesting ideas. In on-demand transportation, it lists “work-commute sharing,” “Event- or theme-optimised vehicles,” and “transportation as an amenity or compensation.”

The report sums up: “In practice, consumers will be completely uncoupled from the vehicle with the ability to select from a broad range of Mobility-as-a-Service providers to move freely from place to place and vehicle to vehicle when desired.”

Actually, one of the enlightening predictions I read in this report is the idea of leveraging Mobility-as-a-Service for delivering not just people but goods and services.

The report says:

Rather than building new brick-and-mortar locations, land-restricted businesses like retail stores, hotels and restaurants will fuel another wave of business expansion by adding “mobile stores” that deliver their goods and services directly to the consumer. And consumers will now be able to choose to go to a “place” to buy a product or service or they can choose to have that “thing” delivered to their home if and whenever they wish. In short, vehicles will be delivering people and things within a vast array of networked, personalised mobility services.

We all grew up expecting to eventually drive George Jetson’s flying car. This was a concept to fire the imagination, unlike today’s mundane Uber reality. More to the point, according to the Intel report, will be a Sleep-Cab that a tired worker can take on his commute home from the office, or a Pizza-Cab that serves him pizza and a few drinks on the way home. Intel’s Davis noted, “You can imagine all kinds of services” to go with automated vehicles.

Indeed. But for someone like me who grew up in Japan, what’s the big deal? For years commuters on Japan’s efficient and comfortable mass-transit trains have eating bento boxes—or pizzas—on the ride home, with a beer and a nap.

Let’s face it. Pod cars with geo-fenced limits aren’t that different from trains, subways, and buses.

We are enamoured by driverless cars, substantially because a vehicle offers a perfect, visible platform to showcase highly automated technologies backed by advancements in sensors, artificial intelligence, and HD maps. But if the technologies are really the point, their impact won’t be limited to cars or transportation. They will transform, if Intel’s right, all the other markets around them.

As for that $7 trillion, we—no, our kids—will see.