Forth’s March event explored how auto manufacturers (OEMs) are handling advancements in connected, autonomous, shared and electric technology (CASE). Jessica Nigro, Manager of Outreach and Innovation Policy at Daimler North America spoke about what CASE has meant for Daimler and what it could mean for mobility in a large city such as Seattle.
OEMs are beginning to make the shift to being mobility providers. As new technologies arise, OEMs know they must adopt a mobility ecosystem to remain a part of people’s everyday lives and continue to prosper. Jessica explained that Daimler North America companies such as Mercedes-Benz will make an effort to be a transportation partner without the necessity of purchasing a vehicle. This could occur through a model which streamlines transportation needs into one application or one transportation wallet. Additionally, Daimler is exploring a fleet model for autonomous vehicles through their platform car2go. The goal is to create a sharing model accessible to everyone. Vehicle sales will continue, but we’ll see an increase in electric and autonomous sales.
Business models are diversifying and creative partnerships are necessary to ensure success. Daimler has redirected their marketing strategy to be geared more towards the technology industry and not the auto industry. This is a trend which will continue to be seen within the automotive sector. Daimler is committed to equitable and fair transactions. They are increasingly investing in start-up companies and are more open to experimentation. Daimler’s autonomous vehicle (AV) pilots have led to an emphasis on the importance of partnerships. OEMs need the backing of government affairs and other key organizations in order to run pilots in cities.
Jessica noted that it’s important to make cities smarter without leaving rural areas behind. Rural groups should be included in the discussion as transportation options are developed; they stand to benefit from reduced transportation costs and increased accessibility. There will be sufficient infrastructure needed to be able to roll out electric vehicles (EVs) to these areas but AVs are an opportunity now. Daimler is committed to an EV future but in the meantime, they are also committed to an accessible future.