As the world's population continues to grow, our cities are becoming increasingly congested, and as such, the need for sustainable transport solutions is greater than ever before. Fortunately, we are on the cusp of a transportation revolution, powered by electric vehicles (EVs), autonomous vehicles (AVs), and connected technology.
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The EV market in the Middle East and Africa is expected to reach a valuation of US$93.10 million with a CAGR of over 15 percent between 2023 – 2028, according to a Mordor Intelligence report. This projected increase of EVs on the road and the opportunity for intelligent transport systems is reassuring, as it will ultimately enhance the safety, efficiency, and convenience of transportation on our roads.
With the automotive industry accelerating, the development and adoption of EV technology, alongside regional governments’ ambitious net zero targets, the demand for more sustainable and carbon-neutral mobility options is increasing exponentially. By investing in smart mobility systems, we can help design a safe, coordinated, and intelligent transport network, as well as forge further into the future of sustainability within the industry.
Connectivity sits at the heart of how we will experience mobility in the future. By enabling this within vehicles, we can significantly reduce congestion and the number of road accidents caused by human error. This can lead to enormous potential benefits for society in the form of increased safety and access to smarter transportation.
Additionally, the incorporation of lifesaving technology and built-in safety features allows for driver assistance and management. An understanding of the vehicle and driving behavior patterns, gives car manufacturers room to increase productivity, and the general safety of the vehicle and driver. This is done through a 360-degree understanding of driving circumstances including speeding, abrupt braking, and harsh braking.
This focus is important to regional governments, as evidenced by the UAE’s mandatory rollout of the eCall system, to connect drivers automatically to emergency services in the case of duress. This showcases that connectivity is shifting from a nice to have – to an essential aspect of the driving experience.
EVs further contribute to reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality. With the inbuilt technology we are seeing across the EVs coming to market, there is potential to help optimize traffic management by providing road conditions, congestion, and alternative routes.
Taking the seamless experience, a step further is the ability to identify the best locations for charging stations based on usage patterns, traffic flow, and other factors. This benefit is two-fold, as consumer preference can be used to inform and elevate the placement of charging infrastructure, aiding governments to incentivize EV ownership.
Another important aspect of integrating intelligent transport systems within the daily drive experience, is the subject of range. The smart technology being put into place within the latest generation of vehicles will help alleviate concerns on this front, by informing on best live route options. Through using real-time traffic and weather data, the systems can provide drivers with the most efficient routes to their destinations, reducing the energy consumption of their vehicles, and enhancing the already impressive range promised by EVs.
It is essential that electric and autonomous infrastructure keep pace with technological innovations to support this transformative change—including the roll out of EVs and AVs—which is shaping the future of mobility. With inspiring sustainability visions being brought to life throughout Middle Eastern countries, the major public-private sector partnerships are essential to make us electric, autonomous, and connected-ready.
We are already seeing evidence of this in the region, with the UAE spearheading the shift and committing to switching 25 percent of all transportation trips to smart and driverless by 2030. Saudi’s Vision 2030 has also stipulated that 30 percent of the cars on the road in Riyadh must be electric by the close of the decade, feeding into the region-wide call for change. Already underway across the region is the enaction of new legislation for individuals, companies, and public entities to enable the entry of autonomous self-driving modes of mobility, and it will be a true milestone seeing this brought to life.
Through driving awareness towards the current condition of EV infrastructure, such as charging points and substations, there is a stronger argument to support the viability of large-scale EV use, which will boost adoption and enable forecasting of network capacity.
Intelligent transport systems for EVs represent a significant opportunity to enhance the performance, safety, efficiency of electric mobility and customer experience. The benefits for EVs are clear, but realizing these benefits requires significant investment, coordination, and collaboration. Addressing the challenges of infrastructure, standardization, privacy and security, consumer awareness, policy and regulatory frameworks will be key to achieving widespread adoption of these technologies for EVs.
The future of transportation is bright, and with the right technology and collaborative approach, we can create a world that is greener, cleaner, and safer for generations to come.
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