The mobility revolution at Vivid Sydney 2017

    Most people know the Vivid Sydney festival for the impressive light installations that takes over Sydney, but there’s another, equally impressive side to Vivid and that’s the ideas stream. This year at Vivid Sydney, a panel discussion on ‘the mobility revolution’ was held by Ford.

    With technology making such a dramatic impact with IoT,  cloud computing, data analytics, artificial intelligence and robotics, it challenges traditional business models. The panel featured Future Crunch Co-founders, Dr Angus Hervey and Tane Hunter, Dr. Catherine Ball – Author, founder, and ethics advocate, Graeme Whickman – President and CEO, Ford of Australia and New Zealand and Bryony Cooper – executive manager of City Access and Transport at the City of Sydney.

    The discussion focused on that digital revolution as it adds the manufacturing sector to its already long list of disruptions. Perhaps more than any other, the impacts and changes to the automotive industry will have the biggest shift in society and not only change how we move around, but how we think about vehicle ownership and how we live our lives.

    While Ford is yet to deliver their electric vehicle to Australia (largely due to infrastructure challenges) the industry is trending towards electric vehicles. Autonomous driving and ride-sharing will change the way we live and work, the way our cities are designed and the way we move about and transport goods in an increasingly urban environment.

    “The mobility solutions that have served us for the last 100 years, won’t serve us for the next 100 years”

    During the panel discussion Ford’s CEO repeated their commitment to delivering an level 4 autonomous vehicle by 2021.

    “We’ll have a vehicle in less than 3 years that have no gas pedal”

    He went on to clarify that’s the commercial implementation as that’s where the economics make the most sense right now. Wickman went on to say Australia that ANCAP puts the percentage of accidents where humans were the cause at around 90%.

    Given that, during the Q and A part of the session, I took the opportunity to ask if Ford’s biggest challenge is to be creative with the economics of rolling this out to more people. The answer wasn’t straight forward. The acceleration of autonomous vehicles relies on a number of parties to come together and no single company (even the size of Ford) can do it alone. Autonomous will require a combination of private and public co-operation.

    The selling of autonomous vehicles to the public was raised as a hurdle that needs to be overcome, combined with a slow legislative system, its the technology that’s the easiest part of the puzzle.

    Overall the panel contained some interesting discussions on car ownership changes, impacts on the insurance industry and if we’ll need licences in the future. We’ll have more on that soon.

    Disclaimer: Jason attended the session as a Guest of Ford Australia.


    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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