Will ‘new’ mobility mean the end of ‘old’ automotive?


Randall Miller

EY Global Advanced Manufacturing & Mobility Leader

Passionate about manufacturing, mobility and disruption. Champion for women and diversity & inclusiveness in the Advanced Manufacturing & Mobility industries.

3 minute read 1 Feb 2017
Related topics Automotive Technology

Automated vehicles can create more efficient transportation solutions. But when will most consumers be on board? 

Autonomous vehicles will not only play an integral role in the urban mobility ecosystem but will also support a number of new business models. The potential is fueled by advances with systems and components, such as GPS and radars. Together, they can help address safety concerns, increased demand for fuel efficiency and traffic gridlock by creating more efficient transportation solutions.

But how will society grow to accept autonomous vehicles? There’s an emotional aspect of human driving: some people will be reluctant to give up control of their cars, and others just simply enjoy driving.



Car accidents caused by human error, according to the National Safety Council

We can find lessons in other types of transportation. For example, autopilot is an accepted part of aviation. Technology was introduced into industry incrementally, and standardized operating procedures were defined for numerous scenarios. Regulators, manufacturers and service providers collaborated, and pilots were educated through exhaustive training and simulation exercises.

The same is true in some rapid-transit systems. At Heathrow Airport, a 3.8km route linked Terminal 5 with a car park, and 18 driverless, battery-powered pods operate on the route, carrying four passengers (and luggage) each. The pods were then brought onto Greenwich’s streets and allowed to navigate independently, and used to record exactly how the public reacts to self-driving vehicles.



Maximum reduction in crashes among cars that have forward collision warning systems and automatic braking features

Stages of evolution

There are several other areas to consider:

  1. Vehicle intelligence needs to be self-learning and adaptive. The requirement of artificial intelligence in the car will push software development beyond its current limits. It will open up entirely new opportunities for IT and technology companies to add significant value to the cars of the future and also capture future mobility customers.
  2. Vehicle design needs to evolve. “Completely new interfaces are supported as the steering wheel, shifter, brake and pedals are no longer required,” said Kristin M. Schondorf, North American Automotive & Transportation Mobility Leader. “I envision reconfigurable seating and interiors that easily adjust to meet the varying needs of passengers.”
  3. Automakers and technology companies will need to allow customized HMI for multiple users sharing a car. This can be done through seamless integration of various “brought-in” personal devices, personalized interior options and more.
  4. The new division of labor between humans and fully automated vehicles — including a logical, safe and seamless transition of control between the two — will be essential. A framework that defines the delegation of authority and balance of control under different circumstances is needed.



Of drivers are willing to let an autopilot steer their car if given an option of taking over the wheel in an emergency.

Building trust

As these advances and debates take shape, what does the route to consumer acceptance look like? We see four crucial steps.

Making incremental improvements in automation: The industry has been introducing driving assistance features over the past few years. This bodes well for autonomous technologies. A step-by-step approach will help gain consumer trust, assuming they do not have a poor experience.

Humanizing driving: Vehicles must be designed to mimic aspects of human driving and adapt to personal style. Not everyone drives the same way. Mimicking needs to gradually move beyond average driver behavior toward varied driver profiles.

Taking cues from the aviation industry: Consumers have grown to trust commercial airplanes, even in autopilot mode. Learning from the aviation industry will help win consumers’ trust.

Educating and incentivizing customers: Dealers and automakers need to educate and incentivize prospective customers on autonomous features and technology.

To provide more comfortable and safer urban mobility, vehicles with more connectivity and self-driving functionality will be required on our roads.
Randall J. Miller
EY Global Automotive & Transportation Sector Leader


Automation must continue to evolve, and customers need to be educated and incentivized. To see the way forward, you can also look toward the aviation industry.

About this article


Randall Miller

EY Global Advanced Manufacturing & Mobility Leader

Passionate about manufacturing, mobility and disruption. Champion for women and diversity & inclusiveness in the Advanced Manufacturing & Mobility industries.

Related topics Automotive Technology