opinion | Mobility and artificial intelligence: do not fall into the trap of continuity innovation

In France, from July 14, 2022, drivers will be allowed, under certain strict conditions, to activate level 3 autonomous driving software, allowing them to drive without hands. This amendment bears witness to the advances in artificial intelligence solutions applied to mobility, which still come up against a technological wall despite everything, particularly in securing interactions between the vehicle and other road users.

Artificial intelligence should not pave the way for “continuity innovation”

The relaxation of legislation in the West is not necessarily good news. It demonstrates that the application of artificial intelligence in the field of mobility is too often perceived as a “continuity solution” by our decision-makers. The emerging legislative direction thus encourages the pursuit of a model based on the individual car, which still accounts for 60.7% of emissions from the transport sector in the European Union. It’s hardly surprising that in the United States, the country of solo driving, around thirty states already authorize the circulation of autonomous vehicles on open roads.

Although counter-intuitive, the idea that an autonomous electric vehicle would only offer a marginally favorable carbon footprint compared to a thermal vehicle is gradually emerging in the scientific community. Indeed, artificial intelligence applications could, according to the conclusions of a report conducted in March 2021 by La Fabrique Écologique , produce 1.3 million GB of data per year and car, to which it is necessary to add the carbon footprint linked to the construction of autonomous vehicles loaded with technologies. To this must also be added numerous indirect effects, such as the perpetuation of the model of urban sprawl or even the aggravation of road congestion by the multiplication of buyers, attracted by the prospect of passive driving offering numerous potentialities (work , reading…).

The generalization of the autonomous vehicle model as an individual mode of transport would be, above all, in the context of the transition towards an ecologically sustainable society, perfectly counterproductive. Autosolism, even autonomized, remains a scourge.

Artificial intelligence must be put at the service of collective and shared mobility

In this context, it is necessary to make artificial intelligence a tool at the service of more collective and shared mobility, by acting on the factors favoring the modal shift from the car to public transport. As such, it must contribute to making collective mobility safer, more fluid and more accessible. What remains within our reach in a relatively short time.

In the field of safety, the operational applications are thus numerous. In the United States, the American company Remark Holdings has thus actively contributed to reducing the frequency of accidents on one of the deadliest rail sections in the United States, the Florida line Brightline, by managing to deprive itself of a large part of human assistance. In France, Altamétris, a subsidiary of the SNCF Réseau group, uses artificial intelligence as a vector for generalizing predictive maintenance, making it possible to avoid dangerous interventions, while limiting the impact on train traffic.

In terms of fluidity and accessibility, the development of intermodal solutions – commonly referred to as the “Mobility As a Service” –, allowing the optimization of the use of the different modes of transport via digital applications, the operation of which is still too much in silos, must thus become one of the priorities in all mobility areas. Futuristic mobility projects using artificial intelligence are not left behind and respond to the priority of promoting the modal shift from the car to public transport, such as the Nancy Urbanloop, autonomous capsules making it possible to reach the city center from the peri-urban areas.

Public authorities must guide the legislative framework and mobilize public investment to make artificial intelligence a tool for ecological and shared mobility. And not a tool for perpetuating a model of society, whose ecological emergency invites us to get out as quickly as possible.

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opinion | Mobility and artificial intelligence: do not fall into the trap of continuity innovation

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