Improving Suburban Mobility with Multi-modal MaaS

In the past decade we have seen an emergence of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) companies that create and manage their own platforms, aiming to make transportation efficient, easy-to-use, and available for everyone. Mobility-as-a-service provides an integrated transportation experience through a single platform allowing users to plan and pay for their journey seamlessly.

The most common example of MaaS are ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. These companies have democratized mobility-as-a-service, combining the entire experience from hailing a cab to paying for your ride into a mobile application. The emergence of ride-hailing also allowed for the spread of a C2C model in mobility, significantly increasing the supply of available transportation options. And due to the asset-light business model of ride-hailing companies it is easy to scale and launch in any country. Impact the likes of Uber and Lyft made on the mobility industry is undeniable, however, this impact is mostly concentrated in bigger cities.

An important characteristic of e-hailing services is its C2C operation model, where for the service to operate efficiently there needs to be an appropriate number of drivers willing to use their personal vehicles to provide rides to users. While this model works well in big cities it is less feasible in suburbs and rural areas that have smaller populations. If there are not enough people providing rides on Uber or Lyft people will not use the app.

It is also important to note that private and shared rides offered by ride-hailing companies are generally much more expensive than public transportation. An experiment conducted in Chicago revealed that the average public transit fare was $2.69, while Lyft and UberX rides averaged $18.13 and $17.90 respectively. This stands to prove that routine ride-hailing is not a very affordable transportation option for a lot of people. Even though ride-hailing comes with its own advantages, there are still limitations to how well it can operate in smaller cities and rural areas.

Increasing mobility coverage in smaller cities

It’s no secret that rural and suburban communities often lack access to reliable and efficient public transportation. Unreliable schedules, shortage of transit options, and lack of ride-hailing service presence significantly reduce the selection of available transportation means for suburban residents. Nonetheless, it is extremely important to connect rural populations with better transit options.

Developing a multi-modal MaaS platform can solve the inefficiency problems in the current suburban public transit system. A multi-modal mobility platform integrates different modes of transport into a single application that generates navigation directions across various transport modes and provides a centralized payment channel. The greatest advantage of multi-modal MaaS is that it provides users with a wide range of transportation options, making it easier for them to choose and combine the most efficient, convenient, and cost-effective one. By combining various modes of transportation such as public transit, ride-sharing, bike-sharing, car-sharing, and more, multi-modal MaaS offers users a seamless and integrated transportation experience that takes them from door-to-door.

For instance, if your commute from point A to point B consists of a bus ride and a 10-minute bike ride, the application will generate detailed directions to your destination, calculate your travel time according to real-time transit schedules and traffic congestion, and allow you to pay for both the bus and bike-sharing fee all on the same platform. Thus, a multi-modal MaaS offers the potential to integrate public transit with other mobility options, creating a higher range of transportation choices for users. By adding more variety into transport supply, a multi-modal mobility platform could transform a relatively inflexible transit system into one that is extremely efficient, cost-effective and easy-to-use.

Customized multi-modal MaaS case study

In 2022, AUTOCRYPT developed a multi-modal transport sharing platform for Jeju Island, a scenic tourist destination off the coast of Korea. The island is notorious for being hard to navigate without a private vehicle. So, the platform was designed to help tourists and locals get around the island without a car. By integrating alternative means of transport, such as electric bikes, electric motorcycles, and electric scooters, to complement public transport, the platform offers users an extended range of transit options, where all services can be accessed and paid for through a single application. The app also included benefits for users in the form of discounted transfer between public transport and micromobility.

Beta testing services began in April 2022, and the platform was officially launched in October of the same year. Operational data collected throughout this period revealed that the platform gained nearly 10,000 account registrations and had over 3,000 active users, serving a total of 10,312 trips. The number of account registrations almost tripled between beta testing and the official launch. The number of trips made via the platform also increased from 1,157 in April to 1,838 in October.

The operational data indicate that both locals and tourists used the platform to navigate the island with ease. Not only has the platform expanded transportation options for users, but it has also opened up new routes to more distant destinations. This is a significant accomplishment as it has allowed people to explore remote areas that would have otherwise remained unvisited, and at the same time helped local businesses in hard-to-access areas gain more customers.  

Moreover, the platform collects valuable data that can be used to improve the local mobility infrastructure. For instance, data of frequently used routes can be analyzed to help improve public transit and micromobility availability for these routes. Additionally, operational data can be used to indicate off-peak times, which can be leveraged to introduce dynamic pricing strategies.

A similar platform tailored to unique local needs can be created in any region. Such a platform would help improve suburban mobility and expand transportation options for local populations.

MaaS aims to provide users with a seamless transportation experience, making it easier and more convenient to get around cities. A multi-modal mobility service takes it a step further by offering a range of transport options through a single custom-made platform to provide users with a flexible, integrated, and sustainable transportation system that can improve mobility and enhance the quality of life in any region.

From EV to Autonomous Driving: A Look Into the Mobility Industry in 2022

2022 was a turbulent year for the mobility industry. As the economy has been recovering back to its pre-pandemic state, we have seen a surge of technological advancements that are shaping the industry.

To commemorate the end of the year we have carefully analyzed the market and gathered four key insights to discuss the biggest trends of 2022 and see what the trajectory for the future of the mobility industry looks like. 

1. The tipping point in EV adoption 

In 2022 we have seen the catastrophic impact of the climate crisis on our planet. The world was struck by extreme heatwaves in Europe, hurricanes across multiple US states, and monsoon floodings in Asia. The intensity of these devastating climate disasters has been increasing as a result of climate change. And as the global climate crisis continues to unfold governments are taking action to tackle the dangers of climate change by rolling out net-zero carbon emission policies to accelerate the road to decarbonization.

One of the largest industries contributing to the climate crisis is transportation, which is responsible for 20% of carbon emissions worldwide. Decarbonizing the mobility and transportation sector is imperative in reaching net-zero goals, and electrifying the roads is the most effective way to do so. Electric vehicles have been at the forefront of the transition in the mobility industry. As the world strives toward net-zero emissions, governments are increasingly pushing for electric vehicle (EV) adoption through subsidies and related policies. Europe and the United States are leading way with regulatory targets of reaching a 50% EV market share by 2030. On the other side of the spectrum, consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious and increasingly willing to make the switch in favor of electric vehicles. And as the technology gets more advanced the supply side is catching up with the demand.

The EV adoption rates are signaling a positive change in the market and bringing us closer to reaching net-zero goals in the transportation sector. However, we are still far from achieving decarbonization and need to take drastic measures in accelerating EV adoption across the board. Continuing to expand the charging infrastructure, supporting change with government policies and subsidies, as well as encouraging innovation are some of the key steps we need to take to meet decarbonization targets.

2. Autonomous driving

Electrification on the roads lays down the groundwork for further innovation opportunities in the mobility industry. To accommodate EV production, manufacturing facilities had to be redesigned and rebuilt from scratch, this allowed OEMs to trial new technologies and software in their vehicles. As the EV market grows, we can see the expansion in related automotive technologies, with innovations ranging from connectivity to autonomous driving.

The buzz around autonomous driving technologies has been around for a while; rightfully so, as autonomous driving technologies are extremely beneficial in increasing road safety and access to mobility. And 2022 was a notable year for the collective movement toward achieving higher levels of autonomy. Currently, major OEMs have achieved Level 3 autonomy, or conditional autonomy, where the vehicle can drive itself under appropriate conditions, but a human driver must always be present in the car. The main technology that allowed us to achieve Level 3 autonomy is Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or ADAS. ADAS uses radars, cameras, ultrasound, and a variety of different software to achieve vehicle automation. While ADAS is an essential element in providing autonomous driving, it is simply not enough to achieve higher levels of autonomy.

Autonomy Levels 4 and 5 entail high levels of autonomy with minimal to no intervention from the driver. To achieve these advanced autonomy levels, we need more comprehensive technologies such as connectivity. At the heart of vehicular communication technologies, we have vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology that connects the vehicle to the network, infrastructure, other vehicles, and passengers around it. V2X communication utilizes wireless communication between the vehicle and the environment around it to gather real-time data on traffic conditions, road signs, warnings, and much more. V2X technologies are also very beneficial in ensuring road safety as they include connectivity with other vehicles (V2V) and pedestrians on the road (V2P).

This technology can greatly improve the effectiveness and accuracy of existing ADAS technologies and fast-track the path to full automation. 

3. Universal mobility

EV passenger vehicle numbers are growing, but so do the numbers of EV commercial fleets. In the past years, we have seen governments deploy electric buses, trams, and taxis in attempts to decarbonize public transport systems as well as increase access to mobility. Universal mobility entails having access to transportation for all members of society. The ultimate goal is to achieve universal basic mobility (UBM) and democratize the sector so everyone can access safe and efficient transportation. Among the latest technologies aimed to provide UBM are mobility-as-a-service (MaaS), robotaxis, and carsharing services.

The emergence of MaaS is not surprising, as it allows access to transportation for everyone who owns a smartphone. MaaS is currently on the rise with multiple successful cases worldwide, namely Kakao Mobility, Uber, and Lyft. These companies have been able to integrate multiple modes of transportation into a user-friendly mobile application, making transportation easily available to people at the tap of their fingers. 

As MaaS continues to grow businesses will need assistance in rolling out their own mobility services. AUTOCRYPT launched its mobility service solution AutoCrypt® MOVE, integrating its fleet management system with big data analysis and demand-oriented service modeling to help businesses and NGOs easily establish their own mobility services and reach universal basic mobility. 

4. Increasing need for cybersecurity

As vehicles become increasingly automated and connected, the need for effective cybersecurity measures becomes more important. With the proliferation of connected vehicles, hackers have more opportunities to gain access to vehicle systems and potentially cause harm. In addition, the increased use of automation in vehicles means that there are more potential points of failure that could be exploited by malicious actors. 

One of the main reasons for the increasing need for cybersecurity in the automotive industry is the growing number of connected vehicles on the road. Many modern vehicles are equipped with internet connectivity, which allows them to communicate with other vehicles and with external systems, such as traffic control systems and other infrastructure. This connectivity opens new possibilities for vehicle operation and convenience, but it also creates new vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. For example, a hacker who gains access to a connected vehicle could potentially take control of the vehicle’s systems, including its brakes, steering, and acceleration. This could result in dangerous situations, such as collisions or loss of control. In addition, a hacker could potentially access sensitive personal information stored in the vehicle, such as location data or information about the vehicle’s owner. Exactly that happened in January of this year when a researcher was able to hack into 25 Tesla vehicles and gain access to vehicle control and the personal information of car owners. 

Another reason for the increased need for cybersecurity in the automotive industry is the growing use of automation in vehicles. Many modern vehicles are equipped with ADAS and vehicular communication technologies, which can assist with tasks such as lane keeping, automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control. While these systems can improve safety and convenience, they also introduce new potential points of failure that could be exploited by hackers.

Overall, the increasing use of automation and connectivity in vehicles is creating new challenges for cybersecurity. To protect against these challenges, it is important for the automotive industry to develop and implement effective cybersecurity measures. This may include measures such as encryption, secure authentication, and regular over-the-air (OTA) software updates to protect against known vulnerabilities. 

This year has seen positive strides in the mobility industry. The expansion of electric vehicle adoption, autonomous driving, universal mobility, and cybersecurity points to an industry-wide trend toward electrification, decarbonization, and innovation. However, in order to achieve the full potential of the technological shift within the sector we must remember to support this expansion with government policies, investments, and innovation.

As an automotive cybersecurity and mobility solutions provider, AUTOCRYPT offers secure connectivity technologies that support the expansion of the mobility sector. From securing V2X communications to embedded vehicular systems, AUTOCYRPT ensures that all connections are secured before vehicles hit the road. 

Infographic: Potential Cyberattacks in Connected Cars and Mobility

Cyberattacks in connected cars are becoming an increasing threat. A modern connected car has a highly sophisticated electrical/electronic (E/E) architecture that contains up to 100 electronic control units (ECU) linked through multiple Controller Area Network (CAN) buses. Moreover, vehicle and driving data generated from the internal system are exchanged and shared with outside parties–including the OEM cloud, third-party clouds, smartphones, and other road users–through various forms of connectivity protocols, from satellite and Bluetooth to Wi-Fi and cellular. As a result, the modern vehicle contains a lot of endpoints that may be vulnerable to attackers. To secure a connected vehicle, it is crucial to consider all potential attack vectors that attackers could use, from man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks to message spoofing.

The below infographic illustrates some of the most common entry points and how they must be secured.

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Entry Point I. Head Unit

The vehicle’s head unit is the closest entry point to its internal system, often containing a mainboard ECU that serves the infotainment system, and a gateway ECU that directs application requests to the CAN bus. If a hacker gains access to the head unit, they are only one step away from gaining control of the CAN buses and ECUs, potentially taking over the vehicle.

Risks? Vehicle hijacking, vehicle takeover

By who? Criminals


AutoCrypt IVS

  • Intrusion detection and protection system (IDPS)
  • ECU protection
  • Vehicle security operations center (vSOC)

Entry Point II. V2X Messages

In the C-ITS environment, V2X messages are transmitted between road participants like vehicles, infrastructure, and pedestrians in real-time. Attackers can attempt to spoof the V2X messages broadcasted from these participants, leading to wrong judgments and even potentially controlling the targeted vehicles. They could also sniff the messages to steal data.

Risks? Vehicle hijacking, vehicle takeover, theft, terrorism, data breach

By who? Nation-states, criminals, thieves


AutoCrypt V2X

  • Message encryption
  • User verification via Security Credential Management System (SCMS)
  • Integrated certificate management

Entry Point III. EV Charging Station

When an EV is plugged into a public charging station, the charging operator collects the owner’s membership and payment card information for transaction processing. An attacker can target the Plug&Charge (PnC) system to steal membership credentials and credit card details, or potentially attack the power grid.

Risks? Data breach, payment card fraud

By who? Nation-states, criminals


AutoCrypt PnC

  • PKI-based Plug&Charge user verification
  • Message encryption
  • OCPP support

Entry Point IV. OBD-II Port

Onboard diagnostics (OBD) tracks a vehicle’s condition and driving behaviour. Such information is used by fleet operators and technicians for management and maintenance. The OBD-II port provides access to information on the powertrain, emission control systems, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and all kinds of driving information. When targeting the OBD-II port, an attacker could gain access to these sensitive data and possibly even inject malicious code into the CAN bus.

Risks? Vehicle hijacking, data breach

By who? Nation-states, criminals


AutoCrypt IVS

  • Intrusion detection and protection system (IDPS)

AutoCrypt FMS

  • Secure fleet management through machine learning and AI
  • Proprietary OBD-II units

Entry Point V. Smart Key

Smart keys unlock a vehicle with electronic signals. Unlike keys with buttons, smart keys continuously release signals to allow keyless entry. Thieves could hack the smart key and redirect the signals to unlock and even turn on a car.

Risks? Vehicle theft

By who? Thieves


AutoCrypt Digital Key

  • PKI-based certification and user verification
  • Carsharing and restriction settings

Entry Point VI. Telematics Control Unit

The TCU facilitates all wireless communications between the vehicle and the outside world, normally containing an eSIM, radio data system (RDS), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and a V2X connectivity unit. When the attacker access the telematics of a vehicle, possibly by injecting malware through a malicious app on a connected smartphone, they could attack the head unit directly.

Risks? Vehicle hijacking, vehicle takeover

By who? Criminals


AutoCrypt IVS

  • Intrusion detection and protection system (IDPS)

AutoCrypt V2X

  • User verification via Security Credential Management System (SCMS)

6 Trending Technologies in the New Age of Automobile and Mobility

Mobility is one of the most vibrant industries today with tremendous room for technological and market growth. As we get accustomed to having smart devices and internet connectivity on hand wherever we go, it becomes inevitable to integrate computing power and connectivity into the automotive and mobility environment.

The focus of the mobility industry is to make the experience of road users enjoyable and the mobility ecosystem efficient and sustainable. To achieve these goals, businesses across diverse fields have been pouring investments and resources into the industry, including automotive, transportation, electronics, energy, ICT, semiconductors, computing, and software. By now, there is no doubt that the next innovation boom will encompass the automotive and mobility industry.

What are the key technologies driving this innovation boom? By examining every aspect of the mobility ecosystem, we observed six trending deep technologies that will rule our roads in the coming years.

Trend 1: Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a crucial technology that drives a wide range of mobility innovations, especially autonomous driving. First, there are the ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems), which many refer to as Autopilot. Even though we often say that ADAS are based on cameras and sensors, the underlying computations are powered by AI. The cameras only capture the imagery, while the built-in AI identifies the captured objects based on their shapes and movement patterns, then instructs the vehicle to react appropriately using intelligent modeling.

Next, there is V2X (vehicle-to-everything) communication, which serves as the bridge towards Vehicle-Infrastructure Cooperated Autonomous Driving (VICAD), a set of necessary features for higher levels of driving automation. V2X is a wireless communication technology that enables vehicles to transmit messages in real-time with other vehicles (V2V), road infrastructure (V2I), and pedestrians (V2P). Again, these messages are read and processed by AI, allowing every road user to respond and cooperate in real-time.

Besides AI’s role in autonomous driving, it is used to enhance the user experience for a wide range of mobility services, including carsharing, ridesharing, and ride-hailing platforms, where algorithms help match demand and supply at the right time and location.

Trend 2: Big Data

If data is the new oil, then the mobility ecosystem is the oil reserve. At any given moment, data are generated by hundreds of millions of vehicles and mobility services around the world. These include panel data with information on vehicle condition, driving behavior, location, traffic load, service usage, and many more. Moreover, the number of connected vehicles in use worldwide is forecasted to reach 120 million in 2025 and 700 million by 2030. These connected vehicles will contribute to a tremendous volume of big data that will be used for two main purposes: automation and optimization.

Big data is the fuel that powers AI and autonomous driving. Even though it is quite easy for an autonomous vehicle to learn how to drive by the rules, on the road, there are countless situations where rules are broken by unusual situations and environments. To ensure that vehicles can respond to every unusual situation safely, a massive quantity of data must be fed into the machine learning process. Researchers at the University of Michigan claimed in their research that 17.7 billion kilometers of autonomous driving data must be collected to prove that driverless vehicles can operate safely at an 80% confidence interval. To put it in perspective, this is 118 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun.

Another use of big data is product and service optimization. Many automotive OEMs, including the BMW Group, collect vehicle data from their vehicle fleets under their customers’ consent. This allows them to improve vehicle quality and maintenance services, as well as to make feature enhancements based on the customers’ behavioral feedback. For instance, by tracking mileage and usage data, customers will be notified whenever periodic maintenance is needed. Also, by analyzing data on the number of times a feature is activated, the OEM can prioritize enhancing certain features and phase out some unused features. In the case of BMW, the company also shares its fleet data with other businesses in the European Economic Area (EEA) who wish to use the data for innovative business models, such as pay-as-you-drive insurance policies. Other service providers like Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) operators can learn from the usage data generated from their platforms to establish more efficient and responsive ride services.

Trend 3: Next-Generation Communication

As mentioned earlier, the wireless connections used for autonomous driving are generally referred to as V2X, which forms the vehicular ad-hoc network (VANET), a mobile network that facilitates both direct and indirect transmission of messages. V2X can be facilitated by several different communication protocols, utilizing Wi-Fi, LTE, and 5G standards. The Wi-Fi-based protocol was established by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and first introduced in its IEEE 802.11p release, widely referred to as DSRC (dedicated short-range communication) or WAVE (wireless access in vehicular environments), allowing vehicles to communicate directly with other OBUs and RSUs on the road using Wi-Fi technology.

The LTE and 5G-based protocols were developed by the 3GPP, collectively known as C-V2X (cellular V2X). This can be further broken down into direct C-V2X, which utilizes the PC5 interface; and indirect C-V2X, utilizing the Uu interface. Like WAVE, The PC5 interface allows road users to communicate directly with other vehicles and infrastructure nearby using embedded LTE and 5G connectivity. On the other hand, the Uu interface connects road users to the cellular network, allowing all participants to connect indirectly with the Internet as a medium. Such indirect C-V2X is sometimes called V2N (vehicle-to-network).

Whereas 3G and 4G LTE standards were developed primarily for smartphones and mobile communications, next-generation communication standards like 5G and 6G emphasize serving the needs of IoT and vehicular communications. Therefore, we will continue to see faster and more reliable ICT technologies in the future, driving innovations for a seamless and safe mobility experience.

Trend 4: Embedded Hardware/Software

The E/E (electrical/electronic) architecture of vehicles is undergoing continuous experimentations and improvements. Traditionally, the computing power of a typical vehicle is entirely contributed by microcontrollers called electronic control units (ECU) – typically up to 100 of them – each of which serves a particular function; some control the mechanical components while others control the infotainment system. However, the computing power of these ECUs is becoming increasingly insufficient for the new software-defined computer-like vehicles. Consequently, OEMs are introducing more creative ways of arranging the in-vehicle system by adopting a more centralized architecture. Many are experimenting with embedding one or two CPUs into the system so that dozens of functions can be controlled by one central computer. These changes have pushed the need for more chipsets and software modules with greater computing capability and functionality. Even though automotive chips and components were once considered an unattractive business for many semiconductor firms due to small purchase quantities and low profit margins, this growing need for more sophisticated components is driving more chipmakers and software suppliers into the mobility game.

Trend 5: Next-Generation Powertrain

Electrification is revolutionizing the vehicle powertrain. Everyone knows that electric vehicles (EV) generate less carbon emission than ICE vehicles, but how do the two different powertrains compare in terms of performance? Perhaps the two major differences are engine efficiency and energy storage. Looking at ICE powertrains first, Internal combustion engines are surprisingly inefficient, in which when they burn fuel and transform it into power, a lot of extra energy is wasted in the form of heat. Nonetheless, the upside is that gasoline is very easy to store. On the other hand, electric motors are much more efficient, transforming most of the energy into power with very little heat waste. Yet, it is much more difficult to conserve energy within the battery, especially in freezing temperatures. Ironically, since electric motors are so efficient that very little heat is generated, it becomes a problem in the winter as all the heat must be transmitted to the battery to maintain adequate performance, leaving no leftover heat for the cabin (meaning that additional electricity is consumed to power the heater).

Therefore, current research and developments in the automotive industry are focusing on battery technology, especially on ways to conserve energy and keep unnecessary drainage to a minimum. Energy firms are dedicated to increasing battery efficiency and reducing carbon emissions in the battery production process, while OEMs are working on making powertrain improvements for more optimized energy distribution within the vehicle.

Another related industry is the EV charging industry. Currently, the charging process can be quite complicated as users need to download apps for each charging provider and register as a member. Plug&Charge (PnC) technology is developed so that the entire charging process becomes standardized and automated. The user only needs to plug in their charger and payment will be made to the respective charging provider automatically.

Trend 6: Security

As the mobility ecosystem becomes increasingly interconnected with data sharing occurring in real-time, cybersecurity must be implemented wherever data exist to keep them safe from theft and tampering. Given the high volume of personal and vehicular data in the industry, it is only a matter of time before threat actors start targeting our roads.

Fortunately, governments and industry working parties have taken a step ahead of the game by establishing regulations like the WP.29 updates that mandate cybersecurity type approval for vehicles and infrastructure, as well as standards and protocols for user verification and message encryption, such as the Security Credential Management System (SCMS).

AUTOCRYPT is a leading security deep tech in the industry. Its AutoCrypt IVS in-vehicle security solution is designed to meet WP.29 regulatory needs by providing security design, testing, implementation, and monitoring for OEMs. It combines an industry-leading intrusion detection system (IDS) with ECU protection capabilities and a vSOC (vehicle security operations center) that monitors fleet safety in real-time.

AutoCrypt V2X integrates security modules into the V2X connectivity units (OBUs and RSUs) to enable message encryption and data security. AutoCrypt SCMS utilizes PKI-based credential management to sign and verify V2X users, compatible with the SCMS, European-based C-ITS CMS (CCMS), and Chinese-based C-SCMS.

Apart from autonomous driving security, AUTOCRYPT also offers secure fleet management for fleet operators and PnC solutions that secure EV charging.

To learn more about AUTOCRYPT’s end-to-end solutions, contact

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The Future of the Car: A Paradigm Shift of the Century

A key characteristic of the fourth industrial revolution is that conventional machines and electronics are reinvented or combined into “smarter” all-in-one products, blurring their original definitions. For instance, the smartphone was reinvented by combining a conventional cellphone and a computing device. The smartwatch was created by combining a conventional watch and a computing device. The smart speaker was a combination of a conventional speaker and a computing device. The list goes on. Instead of drawing new things out of scratch, the fourth industrial revolution seems more like an overhaul to our existing world, where we reinvent existing items and redefine their purposes, often by combining them with computing capabilities and connecting them to the cloud. What’s more interesting is how people’s perceptions and attitudes towards these products change as they experience and interact with them. Since these reinvented products tend to serve a variety of purposes that overlap with one another, users have more options available at their hands to do the tasks needed, making daily lives more seamless.

The automotive industry is no exception. However, changes here are less visible as they occur at a slower pace. Perhaps it is because cars are relatively expensive items with longer lifecycles, or because cars directly determine our physical safety, or that cars have been around for much longer compared to other electronic devices and appliances. Indeed, since the world’s first engine-powered vehicle was invented by Carl Benz in 1885, essentially the same car concept has been with us for more than a century now. Yes, the appearance of cars has evolved considerably, but their functionalities and benefits have remained unchanged. For over a century, people have viewed the car as a mode of transportation for people and goods from point A to point B.

With the fourth industrial revolution, we are finally starting to witness a change to the century-old definition of the car. This enormous paradigm shift can be characterized by several seemingly unrelated industry trends.

2000s: Car Tech

For many decades, the only digital technology the average car had was the radio. Yet, starting in the 2000s, new technologies began to emerge, one after the other. From GPS navigation to Bluetooth, hands-free calls to voice command, phone mirroring to video streaming, the car had become a sophisticated computer with countless features.

As people interacted with these new features, their perceptions and expectations changed. These changes made it more challenging than ever for automakers to build a satisfactory car. In the past, a car was judged only by quality, comfort, and performance. Excelling any two of the three aspects would pretty much guarantee success. This was how big and prestigious automakers survived all these years of competition. But even the big names are facing difficulties today because consumers are so used to car tech and demand more and more of these tech features manifested in the most intuitive and useable manner.

The increased demand for car tech signaled the beginning of the paradigm shift; cars were no longer a simple means of transportation, but an experience to enjoy.

2010s: The Growing Popularity of SUVs

This is by far the most visible change that can be easily observed by anyone attentive to the road – sedans are being taken over by SUVs. Almost every automaker worldwide has reduced sedan lineups, favoring prioritization of the rollout of SUVs. Even OEMs that traditionally focus on the niche market are now abandoning sedans and moving to SUVs as an attempt to capture the mass market. Porsche is a typical case where the brand repositioned itself from a sports car brand to a brand focused on luxury SUVs. Even Rolls Royce, Bentley, and exotic makers like Lamborghini are adding SUVs into their flagship lineups.

Statistically, the market share of SUVs has increased dramatically over the past decade. Between 2010 and 2019, the global market share of SUVs in total car sales increased from 17% to 41%, with the figure reaching as high as 50% in the US. In a matter of a decade, SUVs have become the most popular car segment on every continent.

Why are SUVs becoming more popular? While there are many hypotheses, most of them point to a change in the general public’s perception. SUVs can make people feel more powerful, and while sedans are built with performance in mind, SUVs allow for more space and a greater onboard experience, rather than the drive itself. Therefore, since the paradigm of the car is shifting away from driving and more towards the onboard experience, there are simply fewer and fewer reasons to buy sedans over SUVs.

2020s: Environmental Responsibility

For decades, cars have been blamed as a major culprit for climate change and global warming. This forced the industry to seek more sustainable options, going from gasoline to hybrids and now towards electric. The electrification trend is less related to the car itself, but more of a result of external pressure.

Why has the electric car gained popularity in such a short period of time? This can be attributed to multiple reasons, such as better battery technology, success in Tesla’s marketing campaigns, and increased environmental awareness worldwide. But the most critical reason behind this trend is that people are gradually seeing cars as more of an innovative tech than a conventional machine. Since the paradigm shift has already blurred the definition of the car and changed public perception of what a car should be like, it is now a lot easier for people to adopt electric vehicles. It is also easier for EV makers to experiment with bold and exotic designs.

An interesting phenomenon is that the more people interact with electric cars, the more their perceptions of the car will shift towards them. This again further accelerates the process of EV adoption. Based on this effect, it certainly won’t be long before EVs surpass ACE vehicles in sales.

2020s: Autonomous Driving

Autonomous driving has been one of the most controversial topics in the automotive industry due to a wide range of concerns on safety and legality. Now, with the advancement of big data and artificial intelligence, along with the increased stability of the cellular network, the public is now finally ready to trust the car to drive itself. Even though most of the current semi-autonomous vehicles rely on cameras and sensors, this is about to change as V2X technology starts to roll out in newer vehicles. When V2N technology gets adopted by the mid-2020s, many of the vehicles on the road are expected to reach full autonomy.

Again, the public’s increased acceptance for autonomous driving is not only due to technological advancement, but rather, caused by the paradigm shift. Reemphasizing the point that cars are now more associated with their onboard experience rather than the driving experience, people are more willing to let the car do the driving and focus themselves on the cabin experience.

2020s: Mobility as a Service

The paradigm shift has redefined the car to become less of a transportation tool and more of a mobility experience. Now some may ask, what about those who only want a simple transportation tool without having to own a bunch of add-on features? Those needs can be answered by a new market: mobility-as-a-service (MaaS).

For those who choose to not purchase the complete experience and only want a minimalistic ride, MaaS is becoming an appealing alternative to owning a car. With the help of big data and machine learning, ride-hailing and ridesharing services are becoming increasingly popular among those who do not like owning cars. Advanced fleet management systems allow the operator to perfectly match vehicle supply to passenger demand, dispatching the perfect number of vehicles to each area in need, and automatically carpooling those on the same routes. These on-demand services will completely transform public transportation so that people no longer need to look for bus stops and are no longer confined to living near subway lines.

The New Paradigm: A Lifestyle on the Go

In essence, the car is becoming less and less of a transportation tool and more of a mobile home characterized by entertainment, convenience, and comfort. With more and more workers working remotely, people are now having more time and freedom to live and travel to any place they like. The car represents this dynamic lifestyle, offering a private space that feels like home, with all the enjoyment, convenience, and comfort of home. Only automakers that can best adapt to the paradigm shift will survive the 2020s.

Top 5 Driverless Mobility Services in 2021

The automotive industry and the tech industry have spent the past five years developing and testing technologies for autonomous driving. As automakers (OEMs) focus on applying autonomous driving technology into our daily cars, tech startups are focusing more on leveraging the technology to provide driverless mobility services. Despite using the same set of technologies, their target markets are quite different because they serve different purposes.

Note that full automation does not necessarily mean driverless. In the consumer car market, the demand for eliminating the driver’s seat and steering wheel is low because the driver is most likely the car owner, and that the car owner would still likely want to take control and enjoy driving from time to time. As such, autonomous driving technologies are mostly used to assist the driver, not to replace them. However, this could change soon as people slowly adapt to the trend.

On the other hand, eliminating the driver’s seat and steering wheels brings significant benefits to the mobility services market because it allows the vehicle to carry more passengers and goods while saving on the cost of hiring drivers.

In 2021, the mobility service industry is expecting to see an initial wave of fully autonomous (SAE automation level 4 and 5), driverless vehicles hitting the road. Most of them are used to provide ride-hailing, ridesharing, and delivery services.

In this blog, we will take a closer look at a list of some of the early pioneers in driverless mobility services, along with their current standings in 2021.

Zoox (subsidiary of Amazon) – United States

Zoox is an autonomous driving technology startup founded in 2014 and sold to Amazon in June 2020. After six years of R&D along with prototype testing, it has finally put its robotaxis into production and revealed them on San Francisco streets in December 2020.

The newly introduced robotaxi is designed to provide ride-hailing services, tailored for crowded city streets. Looking at the specs, it is an all-electric four-wheeler with a maximum capacity of four passengers, equipped with eight LiDAR systems all around the car. The main features that set Zoox apart from its competitors is four-wheel steering and bidirectional driving. Built with four-wheel steering, the vehicle’s front wheels and rear wheels move in opposite directions to maximize turning angle, so that U-turns can be done on two-lane streets that would normally need a three-point turn. Additionally, the vehicle is bidirectional so that pickups and drop-offs can be done seamlessly.

Zoox also claims that its vehicle can travel at a top speed of 120 km/h, currently the fastest in the industry. Presently at its final testing stage, the company is preparing to launch a mobile-based ride-hailing service starting out in San Francisco and Las Vegas.

Waymo (subsidiary of Google) – United States

Beginning as the Google Self-Driving Car Project in 2009, Waymo has gone through intensive research and testing over the past decade. On October 8, 2020 – after 30 million kilometers of road testing, including tens of thousands of kilometers of driverless testing – Waymo finally introduced its first driverless ride-hailing service to the public in Phoenix, Arizona. Its mobile app is available for anyone to download, allowing anyone under its service area to enjoy driverless rides.

Instead of manufacturing their own vehicles, Waymo collaborates with several automakers to develop customized vehicles for their services. The company is currently on its way to expand the coverage of its ride-hailing service to other US cities soon. As of the end of 2020, Waymo is the only driverless passenger vehicle in the world that is under full commercial operation.

Nuro (backed by SoftBank) – United States

Founded by two of the founding engineers of Waymo, Nuro offers delivery services using driverless, all-electric vehicles. Less than two years after the initial launch of model R1 in December 2018, model R2 was finally released in 2020, and became the first autonomous vehicle to receive an approved exemption issued by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This means that Nuro can now expand its coverage to a greater number of US cities.

Model R1 has completed various driverless delivery services by teaming up with Walmart and Domino’s to deliver grocery and pizza to customers in Houston, Texas. Today, Nuro’s R2 is currently operating in three US states – California, Texas, and Arizona. It has been delivering food and medical supplies to patients and doctors during the COVID-19 crisis.

AutoX (backed by Alibaba and SAIC Motor) – China and United States

As the only Chinese firm on the list, AutoX is backed up with investments from Alibaba and SAIC Motor. In December 2020, the company deployed 25 driverless robotaxis on the roads of Shenzhen, China, for final stage testing, making it the first driverless vehicle to go on Chinese streets without the safety driver.

Chinese autonomous driving tech hubs like Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Wuhan are rapidly putting up 5G infrastructure and offering subsidies to welcome robotaxi companies to set up their services. This is part of the Chinese effort to compete with Silicon Valley. Nevertheless, AutoX also obtained permits from California in December 2020 to test its robotaxis on American roads.

Like Waymo, AutoX’s vehicles look just like a regular passenger car from the outside. AutoX has not announced when these vehicles would be ready for public use, but Chinese consumers should expect driverless mobility services in the very near future.

Cruise (subsidiary of General Motors) – United States

Cruise is another autonomous driving startup owned by General Motors. Following Waymo, Zoox, Nuro, and AutoX, Cruise became the fifth company to receive a permit from the State of California for driverless vehicle testing without the safety driver. In December 2020, the company also started testing its driverless vehicles in San Francisco. Cruise expects to slowly increase the number of vehicles on the road over 2021 while preparing them for commercial use.

The Role of Security in Driverless Mobility

Safety is the number one priority in the development of driverless vehicles. Not only must these vehicles function properly, but they also need to withstand cyberattacks. This is why all V2X communications must be secured with the security credential management system (SCMS). By issuing enrolment certificates to each member of the V2X network, as well as authorization certificates for each communication message, AUTOCRYPT V2X takes charge of the security aspect of all autonomous vehicles.

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