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The Future of Autonomous Mobility

Autonomous driving has now firmly moved out of sci-fi fantasy and onto our city streets. With applications spanning from domestic use and taxis to supporting logistics, it’s no wonder so many businesses are fighting to stake their claim as the leader in this space. Here’s what’s happening right now, and what we can expect in the future.


Autonomous driving is no longer a stranger, and while Tesla has long led the way in this field, Mercedes beat them to the punch in 2022 to achieve Level 3 autonomy status. This important milestone allows the driver much more freedom away from the wheel: able to answer calls, check emails and even watch a movie. This marks a crucial distinction from Level 2 – where much of the industry currently remains – because Level 2 autonomy still requires the driver to be able to take the wheel if necessary.

Regardless of the technical capability, it’s still a legal requirement in many countries for a human driver to have both hands on the wheel. However, we’re seeing more and more tests of completely driverless vehicles, with taxis representing the biggest economic opportunity.

One such example is Waymo, backed by Google’s parent company Alphabet and making waves in the industry by providing the first fully-driverless fleet of vehicles. Much like you would hail an Uber or Lyft, you can now do so without muddling through small talk with your driver. While this service is only operating from a small number of locations in the USA currently, others won’t be far behind.


In the next few years, we can expect to see the industry target Level 5 autonomy, meaning that a vehicle is able to operate completely independent of human intervention in all conditions. While autonomous driving has huge potential for increasing road safety, there are still key hurdles to overcome.

Namely, the transition to self-driving technology will be a slow burn, meaning for some time these autonomous vehicles will be sharing space with human drivers. Human drivers that are unpredictable, at times irrational, and that don’t always stick to programmed-in rules in the way you’d expect a computer to. The ability to operate safely in spite of this will certainly determine how quickly we see the transition to a critical mass of autonomous vehicles on the roads, and with forecasts suggesting it could be 2040 or even later before we reach this point, it’s clear we have some way to go.

Logistics will also become a more prominent market for self-driving technology, as firms and whole industries look to become more efficient and address the global drought of HGV drivers. In the wake of this, autonomous trucking startup TuSimple completed its first fully-driverless journey in December 2021, shaving 10 hours off a 24-hour journey during a pilot run in Arizona.


Long-term it’s not unfeasible that autonomous driving technology will go off-road. We’re not talking about your local dirt track here; the next autonomous revolution could be taking to the skies with AirBus and Japan Airlines just two of the firms looking for a slice of the pie.

It’s not just air travel that’s riding this wave either. A £200m government funding package provided to Transport for London in February 2022 included stipulations to explore the feasibility of driverless trains, though retrofitting such capabilities onto dated infrastructure like the London Underground is expected to present serious challenges in terms of cost and fire safety.

The future of mobility isn’t just shared

The Paris Agreement and COP26 have outlined the impact we’re having on the natural world, and in return the impact our choices will come to have on us. We’re just years away from irreversible climate change and the world is crying out for solutions that will allow us to progress as a species in a way that’s sustainable.

A global pandemic has shown us just how much time we spend commuting and the opportunities that exist if we’re able to make that time more productive, both for individuals and for businesses.

A host of trends and technological advancements will play a key role in this change throughout our society, which fall into four key areas: Autonomy, shared mobility, electrification and connectivity.

We recently published a guide exploring developments across each of these catalysts of change in the mobility space.

Read it here:

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