Mobility Regulation in an Increasingly Connected World

A look at the future vehicle through the eyes of SAE International

As a mobility professional, you understand that the world is becoming increasingly connected. When we think of a connected world, we think of the technological advances that have allowed us to, globally, reach out to one another in ways that we couldn’t even a couple decades ago. Outside of the readily obvious avenues of connection (social media, the internet, etc.), the world is also connecting through the increase of connected devices and objects.

How does the future of mobility to fit into this? Furthermore, with increased connection, there may be a need for increased regulation, but is that always the appropriate approach?

We recently interviewed three WCX Leadership Summit session moderators regarding these concerns. Read more to learn from Carla Bailo, President and CEO of the Center for Automotive Research; Roger C. Lanctot, Director of Automotive Connected Mobility at Strategy Analytics; and Alan Hall, global communications manager at Ford Motor Co.

What do you see as the future of mobility?

Carla Bailo: A connected and automated world—mobility as a service, automated mobility on demand, mixed modal roadways.

Roger Lanctot: Shareable cars available on demand with sharing of data for a fully, fleet-like networked experience. We will no longer be isolated in our vehicles.

Alan Hall: I’m particularly excited about the future of self-driving vehicles and how it will impact mobility for people around the world. Our approach to autonomous vehicles includes the movement of both people and goods, and we’re working with great partners like Domino’s, Lyft, and Postmates to enable far more than just an efficient way to do business. For instance, self-driving technology will help ensure access to jobs and services for people who live in underserved communities and can enable businesses to grow and improve the customer experience with autonomous delivery.

You’ve mentioned automation, self-driving vehicles, and a networked experience. How does this vision of the future of mobility fit into the idea of a “connected world”?

CB: It is integral in achieving this vision.

RL: If the car is part of a network, it automatically changes the assumptions regarding the experience and expectations of the consumer. Mobility is just one piece of this—though “mobility” is a somewhat meaningless expression.

AH: Working with our partner Autonomic, Ford is building an open cloud-based platform called the Transportation Mobility Cloud that will be designed with global cities in mind to truly unlock the potential of our increasingly connected world. We believe this will help cities manage traffic flow; reroute in real time for commuting times, emergencies, or special city events; and help solve multi-modal journey planning and congestion problems.

Given some public anxiety regarding devices and systems becoming more network-connected in general, what regulations do you think should be in place as we move more toward autonomous vehicles? Are there already regulations in place, and if so, what are your thoughts on them?

CB: We need to have global, national, and state regulations that are aligned. Automakers are global and need standards. We need certification standards to deem “how good is good enough.” The current state regulations are just the tip of the iceberg. However, we do need to be fast and agile with regulations considering the pace of technology.

RL: In my opinion, the best regulation is the least regulation. As long as the car maker takes responsibility for the results of the functioning of its autonomous vehicles, the regulators need not step in. That being said, the hot-button issue is the question of exemptions from existing safety standards and the allowance for no steering wheels or brakes. Exceptions will need to be found and made for these use cases. It is worth bearing in mind that for the foreseeable future, fully automated vehicles will be moving fairly slowly except for geo-fenced automated driving on limited-access freeways.

AH: In general, Ford thinks it is important to avoid a patchwork of federal and state AV laws and regulations. Ford believes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) should continue to set vehicle design, construction, and performance standards, while states should continue to carry out their traditional roles with respect to vehicle registration, licensing, insurance, liability, and inspections, for example. NHTSA is currently working to address federal safety standards that don’t account for driverless vehicles, and Ford, along with other stakeholders, is constructively engaged in that process.

We thank our interviewees and look forward to hearing more from them at WCX World Congress Experience this year. Of course, this conversation is just the tip of the iceberg. The views articulated by the influential figures in mobility above have been—and continue to be—hot topics in the field as the industry moves toward increasingly interconnected devices and systems.

At WCX, attendees will get to learn more about the benefits and concerns of the future of mobility, and discuss the implications of innovation and invention. Come and be part of the conversation.

Join us April 10-12 in Detroit, MI, as the entire mobility industry converges to explore the promise of the future of transportation engineering.

Visit sae.org/wcx to learn more.

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