Recap of Future Mobility Looking Forward Forum

Posted in Blog on June 04, 2018

If you were one of the Lakeshore Advantage investors who attended the May 23, 2018
Looking Forward Forum on future mobility, you know the room was buzzing with conversation after Jeff Stout, Executive Director, North America Innovation and New Mobility, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, gave his dynamic presentation. 

Here are some highlights and takeaways from the Mobility Looking Forward Forum:

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Change is coming, it’s only a matter of when.
Jeff shared two black and white photos, both of Easter Parades taken early last century. In the photo from 1900 the street was full of horse-drawn carriages, and a single car. A little more than a decade later in 1913 the photo shows the same parade with the street full of cars, and a single horse-drawn carriage. 
 
What’s the takeaway? Not only did this dramatic change come quickly, but more importantly, carriage makers were not car makers. Today the automotive industry is rapidly changing so the question is: How can we avoid the same fate as the carriage makers?
 
Automotive Industry Application:
In the automotive world, technology companies such as Amazon, Apple, and WAYMO are winning the mobility race by providing Mobility as a Service. No longer will we have to love our cars, the experience inside the car will be what matters. This has many positive and negative ramifications in:
  • City infrastructure and planning: Some urban planners are shifting to car-free areas eliminating cars from the city center. They’ve realized the automobile doesn’t add value in the urban context. Traffic in some densely-populated cities moves slower than a horse drawn carriage. As a result, many cities have proposed “park & ride” solutions that incorporate autonomous vehicles. Some of the cities that are leading on this are Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Milan and Copenhagen.  
  • Job shifts: The need for professional drivers, parking monitors, car dealers, traffic judges etc. will shrink if not become unnecessary. Shrinking car ownership will also mean less need for car dealerships. The new jobs that will come will focus on data analytics and designing the interiors of cars.
  • Legal: Patents, ownership in the event of accident, insurance changes are broad and unknown. Tesla now offers insurance for its driverless cars as they become safer. 
  • Utilities: Incentives for home charging systems, achieving community energy goals, decreasing carbon emissions and power generation continue to evolve.
  • Changing personal habits: We must change current production to match future demand by planning 10 years out and starting the conversation about continued relevance.
  • Mobility Services of tomorrow: Check out Yanfeng’s predictions of who will be leading in providing mobility services. Wonder what the interior of an autonomous vehicle will look like in the near to far term? Check out renderings HERE. The competitive landscape is changing and OEMs will have to think differently as new competitors enter the growing market.
 
Stout’s final message to our business and community leaders is that we must continue these conversations, stay aware of the fast-paced changes and explore where our collective and individual point of entry is in relation to mobility. 

On May 31, Governor Snyder and State of Michigan leaders launched an $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge grant initiative to address core mobility gaps for seniors, persons with disabilities and veterans across the state. Mobility is here and it’s real. And it’s providing opportunities for West Michigan companies.

In the words of Bill Gates, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.”
 
At our next Looking Forward Forum in September, we will share what we’ve learned through 100 C-level executive interviews in our region with the release of our annual Business Intelligence Report. Stay tuned for details.

In partnership, Beth Blanton