At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Ford’s President and CEO, Jim Hackett, didn’t talk about future innovation of smart vehicles, but instead focused on the concept of “living streets” (you can watch it here). Living streets optimize communities, from vehicle or bike routes that reduce congestion, to pedestrian friendly places and shared public spaces that encourage community building and economic growth. Wow, that’s a lot. Obviously autonomous vehicles are a significant component, however, it’s only one piece of the puzzle (not coincidentally, Ford is building a cloud space as a foundation to build living streets).
Living streets’ key to success is not just new innovative technology, it’s largely interoperability. Interoperability allows devices to collect data and communicate with other devices in real time, without human intervention. This requires businesses, individuals, and governments to incorporate shared technology to build a smart space where smart vehicles interact with infrastructure. For instance, emergencies will trigger navigation apps to reduce traffic congestion so an ambulance can get to its destination faster, while pedestrians enjoy a safer, cleaner, space.
Much of the value of smart vehicles comes from interoperability. In fact, smart vehicles are expected to generate up to $137 billion in economic benefits by 2025, with over $60 billion attributed to interoperability. These benefits include improved safety, lower insurance costs, accident reduction, more efficient and effective maintenance for vehicles, and productivity gains. The actual benefits are even greater. Public spaces can be optimized not only to improve mobility, but to increase economic development and strengthen communities. As this technology evolves, living streets will only reach their potential through interoperability.