Ready or not? – Autonomous vehicles are coming and they represent a change to more than just driving

Jaguar Land Rover have been coming up with their vision for autonomous vehicles, and it looks nothing like a Jaguar or a Land Rover.  I would liken it more to the vehicles of the future as depicted in Woody Allen’s The Sleeper.  It goes by the name Project Vector.

The compact, flexible vehicle concept measures just four metres in length and is designed for the city, packaging all its battery and drive train components into a flat floor to allow for a variety of uses. The revolutionary interior cabin space allows seating configurations for private or shared use, and even the opportunity for commercial applications such as last mile deliveries.

Prof Sir Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover’s Chief Executive Officer said “Project Vector shows Jaguar Land Rover as a leader in innovation to make our societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner. Through this project, we are collaborating with the brightest minds in academia, supply chain and digital services, to create connected, integrated mobility systems – the fundamental building blocks for Destination Zero.

The intention is to collaborate with Coventry City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority to plan a mobility service from late 2021, as a living laboratory for future mobility on the streets of Coventry.  How long do you think it will be before these services  (yup, mobility as a service) roll out?  I Suspect my 14 year old will need a driving licence, but how about my nine-year-old stepdaughter?

I was speaking with an architect last weekend on the subject of autonomous vehicles.  Now, I will give you that Sandy is a bit of a visionary, but his vision is really interesting.  The way we live will probably completely change. For instance, we can sleep and work whilst we travel, so we can work and live in ways we have yet to envision.  With super high-speed data through 5g (and beyond) and AI, the work that we need to fulfil will change through automated processes, robotics etc.

So much will be automated and require little or no human intervention: journey planning, vehicle charging, fund transfer, income, paying and collecting taxes, food and shopping deliveries, remote healthcare, medical diagnostics, accounting, forecasting, asset management, statutory inspection and reporting, communications, construction, infrastructure design and build, entertainment… The list really is endless.  I know a soft fruit grower who is looking at robotics to collect his crops.  I’m sure it will take a while for the yields to be as good as humans but it will come.

Think how much has changed since since I was a teenager, just 27 of companies from the original FTSE 100 in 1984 are still included.  Looking forwards, Dell’s recent IFTF report outlines how 85% of jobs that today’s 10 year olds will do have yet to be invented. 

Organisations and people are going through or about to go through radical change, as big if not bigger than the industrial revolution. It is time for us to think seriously on what changes we need to make to our businesses so that they stay relevant for the coming zero carbon, technology-driven age.  Only by doing this will we secure value in our businesses and security for our families and work colleagues.

THE Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil.” Sheikh Zaki Yamani, a Saudi Arabian who served as his country’s oil minister three decades ago.

By Charles Whelan on 20/02/2020