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Visualizing the future of transportation

Markus Scherbaum
21 Dec 2022

What will the future of transportation look like? What does the vision mean for commercial vehicle OEMs, and what can they do to position themselves for a leading role?

The vision

In the future, more and more goods will need to be delivered to more and more destinations. And those deliveries will certainly need to take place at a low cost and without emissions.

To make that possible, we believe the future of transportation is likely to feature three elements:

1. Long-haul transportation

Long-distance road transport will be by electric trucks powered by either batteries or fuel cells. These will drive autonomously or (in the medium term at least) in platoons along major routes, relying on a mega-watt charging grid.

2. Short-haul transportation

First- or last-mile pickup or delivery on minor roads or in cities will be carried out by smaller trucks or vans, supported by drones.

3. Integration hubs

Just like trains, long-haul transportation will operate between hubs where goods are handed over from or to short-haul. This setup will require sophisticated, connected planning of both routes (by transporters) and the grid (probably by energy providers).

This scenario will reduce the number of drivers needed, but the drivers that remain will operate in comfortable, fully connected workspaces that will make the most of their skills. They will have access to a wide range of related, always-connected services to adjust their routes according to up-to-date charging, traffic, or planning information. Driving the trucks of the future, with all their assisted or autonomous driving features, will leave a lot of time for other things; therefore, the driver’s job might even evolve to include managing a large part of the logistics process.

While classic transportation companies will still exist, they will be supplemented with Uber-style external transportation platforms.

This vision implies an increasingly complex transport industry ecosystem, with additional types of players involved – from governments to energy providers and transportation platforms. Effective collaboration will be the key to success. And that collaboration can only happen if different ecosystem players’ views of the future are aligned.

The role of the commercial vehicle ecosystem: an answer – and more questions

We recently commissioned a study from IDC to investigate the extent to which commercial vehicle (CV) OEMs’ expectations match those of transportation companies since these two groups are the two classical players in the new ecosystem.

Reassuringly, we found a high level of agreement in many areas, not least connected services, which will be fundamental to the new ecosystem. The study found that 93% of transportation companies are already using or planning to use connected vehicle features (see IDC InfoBrief, p6) confirming that OEMs and their customers are thinking along the same lines.

This agreement also shows that the connected services market is a huge one for the future. So who should take over the business of providing those services? Will it be the OEMs, transporters, energy companies, transportation platform providers, or, perhaps most likely, a combination of many players? As the ecosystem takes place, we’ll have to answer that question and many more like it.

About this series

In this blog series, the Capgemini Commercial Vehicles Acceleration Hub (CVAH) will seek to address some of these questions, drawing on our recent research as well as our ongoing collaboration and dialogue with major truck OEMs.

We’ll return to the general topic of the CV ecosystem in our next article. Later in the series, we hope to cover the relationship between connected services and electrification, the future of autonomous driving, and the right approach to sustainability – all in the context of CVs. Throughout, colleagues from right across Capgemini will contribute their viewpoints, both as authors and from behind the scenes.

As the realization of our vision continues, the major challenges will remain the same, but that doesn’t mean there is plenty of time. The opposite is true, given the complexity of the transformation, the urgency of the environmental situation, and the expected duration of some of the changes required (for example, the changes to the power grid will take around 10 years). The time to start is definitely now, so please get in touch today if you’d like to discuss how these issues will affect your company.

About Author

Markus Scherbaum

Program Director, Head of the Commercial Vehicles Acceleration Hub
Markus Scherbaum is a Global Program Director at Capgemini and a member of the global automotive sector. He leads the company’s strategic initiative with SAP for the automotive industry and the GTM for Trucks. Markus has a track record of more than 20 years in automotive. His passion is to drive transformation and innovation for the industry.

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