We're celebrating our 20th birthday this month, and we've invited industry experts, researchers and scientists to write in and paint a vision of the future, 20 years from now. Here's what Amit Gupta, CEO and Co-Founder, Yulu had to share about his vision of the future
India is at the cusp of growth in various sectors. As one of the fastest-growing economies of the world, India has the potential to transform the mobility system for the future of the world. Owing to its unique demographics and diverse commute needs India has potentially developed a system that promotes an optimistic future by the adoption of shared mobility through PBS in many smart cities, bridging the gap between the broken public Transportation system for first and last-mile connectivity and pulling together the developmental calibre through digitalization and connectivity.
However, India, as a country of examples, must ‘grow responsibly’. India is deemed to be the fastest-growing economy in the world. With rapid industrialization and mass scale urbanisation, we face the dichotomy of being a member of the Paris agreement with a commitment towards environment conservation. Sustainability must be one of the key driving forces to lead the trajectory towards the growth of the country.
Nations around the globe are altering their consumption patterns to a green one with congruence about the ill effects of consumerism. While India is also witnessing a growing consciousness towards sustainable consumption there lie a number of demographic challenges ahead. The growth of the new middle class with its unique demands needs a substantial supply to be created.
Nonetheless, the future of mobility in India is buoyant.
Air pollution and traffic congestion’s impact on the environment is a worrying trend that needs to be addressed through technology. The future of mobility is Smart, Shared, Sustainable and Small and Electric vehicles have a big role in this transition. Hence, the idea of smaller and efficient clean energy vehicles was an obvious route that should be chosen.
According to the Modern-age mobility framework, there are 5 fundamentals to mobility.
Smart- Convenient real-time availability with instant planning and execution.
Sustainable- Green solutions with a real positive impact on the environment which is economically justifiable.
Small- Practical small-sized solutions with a minimalistic design to reduce traffic congestion in small towns to big cities.
Shared- Lesser Vehicles on the roads preventing traffic congestion with one vehicle used repeatedly by different riders on use basis.
Safe- Solo ridership with natural social distancing especially needed during the Pandemic.
There is a requirement for a practical solution to today’s traffic problems which engulf all major cities in India. Increasing urbanization is leading to higher density on roads and thus worsening levels of pollution leaving cities unlivable. In an environment where one truly enjoys riding or driving when it comes with ease, it is imperative that we change our mobility options. In the present day, it's difficult to find a mode of commute that offers comfort, convenience and efficiency while being affordable at the same time. There is a need to redefine new forms of mobility with the boundless innovation that India has at its disposal. These features should be the key drivers in the journey of the country to evolve its industry with modified features keeping in mind the following factors:
Enough light has been shed on the designs of the Indian cities debunking them as ‘fundamentally wrong.' There has been a growing anti-car sentiment against individuals sitting in cars alone and cramming the streets while their automobile emits harmful gases into the environment. Thus, India is remodelling its cities with a smart set-up to incorporate the demands of the future such as green spaces, paths ways and cycle lanes. The citizens have realised the unequal area distribution between the roads and green spaces. There has been a viable accommodation of people from all walks of life making the Indian city planning a more equitable and inclusive one.
In wake of these developments, a new version of mobility has to be maturated which is both equitable and inclusive while being sustainable. These modes of Mobility must work on the principle of the 3 As - Accessibility, Affordability and Availability.
The 15 Minutes Vision talks about the possibility of reaching from a given point A to point B in 15 mins by creating an ecosystem where people can live, work and play. And thus, the spaces that were allocated to cars running and parking are now being cut and appropriated to be used by sustainable alternatives like bicycles tracks and parking and pavement for walking. The equation of public transport will be completed with shared mobility coming into the picture as the means to connect the first and last-mile needs of the riders.
The number of females having a driving license is greatly outnumbered by males in India. The two-wheelers are designed to be more male driver-friendly around the world. The women in turn have to manage to ride these vehicles putting their safety at risk. The realm of humanity is remodelling itself to become more inclusive and gender-neutral with equal opportunities in all walks of life. There is hence, a fortuity of manufacturing automobiles that are fairly apt for the female build up and can provide them comfort while handling it.
Similarly senior citizens. In modern India with the nuclear family type picking up pace, the elderly too need to be self resilient for their independent living. India will have demography with an inverted pyramid-like structure where the 60+ will account for the dominant population. Thus, we need to envision a safe vehicle suitable for their solo commuting, starting now. The mobility alternative must be designed in a way that suits their age and is adaptable to first-time users likewise.
Given the situation, India should have a compelling policy for EVs to deal with these dilemmas as it offers a lightweight engine and body with noise reduction and easy handiwork as a solution.
With technology comes digitalisation which brings with itself efficiency and predictability. Relying on a single click to get a mobility solution at service eradicates the desire to hoard on part of the consumer. The technology guarantees transparency and access to its users. Electric vehicles are matured technologies that will further evolve with time and resources. The battery technology is likely to be adaptive to the new innovations and discoveries of the different modes of energies. The breakthrough of conversion and storage of the various energy sources have the ability to transform the way we live now. We need to transverse an economically viable method to commercially capture, convert and store energy. This becomes all the more decisive owing to the exhaustive nature of the resources we currently use.
The changing technology is the enabler for digital transformation and it also helps in driving business transformation and innovation. In today’s age of big data analytics, machine, and deep learning, technology is playing a pivotal role in many industries. The modern IoT Technology is the driving force in creating UMaaS (Urban Mobility as a Service) which is an affordable and scalable solution of the first and last-mile commute option to citizens
While our cities are choked, India still has one of the lowest penetration of personal ownership of vehicles, so the transition to shared and environment-friendly is expected to be faster. Fixing urban mobility and improving our air quality is the need of the hour. We have begun on the journey to make urban commuting efficient and eco-friendly. We have to visualize a canvas that is structured to the tune of building and creating livable cities of tomorrow. The Indian government is also nudging towards electrification of vehicles by proposing various schemes and incentives that make EVs a resourceful alternative to gasoline or diesel vehicle. The growing tech-savvy ideas accompanied by the sustainability pitch is sure to revolutionize the mobility sector of India in the next decade. Hence, with shared EVs, the future of mobility can become more human, inclusive and equitable. India can become a country where all mobility forms, public, private and shared, coexist and interact to create an enjoyable experience for all.
The citizens are enjoying the little joys of life and have realised the requisite for a minimalist lifestyle for the good of all. Because it's not about having more but making room for what truly matters.
By- Amit Gupta, CEO Yulu
To read what other industry leaders and experts have to say about the future in their respective fields, visit our 20th Anniversary Microsite
Contributions from industry leaders and visionaries on trends, disruptions and advancements that they predict for the future