Big tech, big data and big cities will all effect future mobility.

By 2030, the world will be dominated by big technology, big data and big cities. That’s according to Project Ioniq Lab, a new think tank set up by Hyundai to consider how emerging trends will affect mobility over the next 10 years or so.

“Project Ioniq Lab extends our efforts to understand future mobility and influence the concept of ‘freedom in mobility’,” said Hyundai Motor Company Executive Vice President, Wonhong Cho. “Hyundai Motor will advance theoretical and practical understanding, innovating to develop future mobility solutions tailored to our customers’ lifestyles.”

According to Hyundai, the Lab will explore four key areas: the freedom to be mobile, freedom to connect to everyday life while on the move, freedom from accidents, and freedom from pollution and energy exhaustion.

A team of 20 academics led by Dr. Soon Jong Lee of Seoul National University contribute to the Lab. Their first project was to draw up a list of 12 ‘megatrends’ that will shape the world by 2030 and consider the effect they will have on mobility. As follows:

  1. Hyper-connected society - The ‘internet of things’ is already a hot button issue. How we connect to technology, how technology connects to us and the data that interaction produces will shape much about the world in future, including how we get around.
  2. Hyper-aging society - By 2030, 21 per cent of the world’s population is expected to be aged 65 or older. Their needs will be an ever-bigger factor in vehicle design.
  3. Eco-ism - Global warming and energy shortages will become one of the defining issues of the next few decades. Like it or not, global transport will have to be at the forefront of finding ways to minimise the problems.
  4. Multi-layered Mash-up - Closer cooperation between diverse industries through emerging technologies.
  5. Context awareness-based Indiviualization - An extension of the ‘internet of things’, in which our personal devices learn our preferences and routines to predict what we need and want to do, and when.
  6. High Concept Society - Using emerging manufacturing trends and technologies such as open sourcing and 3D-printing to respond more quickly to consumer demands.
  7. Decentralization of Power - The coming, technology-led ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ will allow groups that were previously under-represented on the world stage to have greater influence.
  8. Anxiety and Chaos - Technological advancements will lead to new threats to global and personal security, which consumers will actively seek relief from.
  9. Sharing Economy - Already a growing trend, that will eventually lead to people sharing both services and assets, including transport - neighborhoods may just have a few vehicles to share between everybody.
  10. Co-Evolution - As technology develops, particularly Artificial Intelligence, humans’ place in the world will change, especially as the primary labor force. But it also opens possibilities for new interactions between man and machine.
  11. Mega-urbanization - The United Nations predicts that, by 2030, 70% of the world’s population - 4.9 billion people - will live in urban areas. As such, urban transport, including personal mobility, will have to be completely re-thought.
  12. Neo-Frontierism - As the surface gets more crowded, civilization may have to go underground or even into the sky to find space, radically changing the way we get around.

You could interpret that as a somewhat dystopian vision of the future. However, the world is on a different development path to what we've seen before. The Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century led to huge societal changes that technology took decades to catch up to. Now it seems like technology is leading the development of the world, which will hopefully ease our own ability to adapt to the changes that are inevitably coming.

It'll certainly be fascinating to track the accuracy of Project Ioniq Lab's predictions and how the car changes to stay relevant.


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