Mobility is a term used often, especially at conferences that cover future automotive trends and the ongoing developments in technology that will bring us to a fully autonomous driving world, or so the mobility gurus say. But what does the word mean, and how can it be applied to the present situation?
The concept is not about driving less, Bailo clarified, but about people needing to get from point A to point B.
"Mobility is really the movement of people or goods from place to place, job to job," she said. "It really provides ladders of opportunity."
She added: "When we talk about mobility, let's talk about just getting people to where they need to go to improve their quality of life. And that brings us to an entirely different problem than driving less."
But smart mobility, she said, relies on the successful execution of, as mentioned earlier, the triple zero: zero accidents and fatalities, zero carbon footprint and zero stress.
For Bailo's description of a triple zero, multimodal society — where people are walking and biking, while easily and safely interacting with autonomous, connected, electric and shared vehicles — to become a reality, it will require the elimination of a certain "security blanket," she said. And that security blanket is your personal vehicle.
"The only way we're going to solve the congestion issue is not by everybody owning their own autonomous vehicle, but by sharing vehicles and having a multimodal society, which means you need a lot more people walking [and] biking," she said.
Bailo is quick to admit that in order for people to get rid of the security blanket, however, it requires seamless alternatives that are not quite available to consumers yet.
"For example, if you go to a city today, you probably have to download about four to five different apps to be able to figure out how to get around the city. There's probably one for the bus system, one for the subway system, one for Uber, Lyft," she said. "We need to have that all in one place: one integrated system where you just say you want to go from A to B, and you get a menu of options."
Other challenges to a connected and autonomous vehicle future also remain, such as murkiness around insurance and liability, as many in the industry saw earlier this year with headline-grabbing accidents involving Uber Technologies Inc. and Tesla Inc.
But the biggest issue, Bailo said, is public policy. Many states, including Michigan 2016, are establishing their own rules allowing automakers and tech companies to develop autonomous vehicles without guidance from a federal policy that would coordinate testing and regulation among all 50 states.
For example, Michigan's policy allows vehicles without steering wheels or brake pedals to drive on public roads, but that is not the case for other states across the nation, Bailo said.
"Most states today say you need a steering wheel and pedals to be able to put a vehicle on public roads. That has to change, clearly," she said. "It's being challenged now in the federal government by [General Motors Co.], and we'll see how that goes."