CAV Technology and IoT in the Time of COVID-19
A new era in transportation and mobility
I hope this issue of the CAVita News Digest finds you safe and healthy. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted virtually every part of our lives, from the ways we work and socialize to how we commute…or lack thereof. Normally, I travel constantly and write this editorial while on a plane or between meetings. The past few weeks have given me some time to observe the change in habits many of us have had to make, especially as it relates to transportation and mobility. How will the business models for Mobility as a Service (MaaS), Mobility on Demand (MoD), transit, and Micro Mobility platforms adapt and evolve to a post-COVID-19 world? While the news looks dire, sometimes these abrupt and unexpected changes help bring about innovation. On the bright side, I have seen society leverage IoT technology like never before. The widespread acceptance and use of video conferencing and virtual meetings over the Internet have been amazing. Will this help accelerate the Digitization of Transportation, including CAV and IoT? It appears so, but that will depend on each organization’s willingness to embrace change in the throes of all of the other changes happening at the same time.
One impact of the COVID-19 virus that is already becoming apparent: the economic decline and the uncertainty of business activity as usual. This is true for public agencies as fewer miles are traveled, and lowered tax revenue impacts public sector and private sector investment in transportation. The impacts are being felt by traditional infrastructure operators, all the way to private company investments in innovations like MoD, MaaS, and Highly-Automated Vehicle Systems.
The other thing the pandemic has shined a spotlight on is the dramatic decrease in traffic congestion, pollution, and traffic-related accidents. Since this was really only theoretical in the past, in the form of simulation, we are now able to see the potential long-term impact on roadway safety, efficiencies, and emissions, from cities as far apart as New Delhi and Los Angeles. Many of our connected and adaptive systems are gathering real-time data now, but can we make this a permanent goal for efficiency, that connecting vehicles and intersections can help deliver in the near future? I think so.