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Answers to contagion: Autonomous mobility and automation

Technology of transportation concept. Traffic control systems. Internet of Things. Mobility as a service.
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In partnership with Aidrivers

As the financial impact of Covid-19 takes its toll and becomes more apparent across continents we again turn to the crucial role of automation and autonomous mobility within domestic and global economies for safer and sustainable future.

The global population is set to rise from the current 7.8 billion to 8.8 billion in 2035 (UN, 2019).  As the world becomes more densely populated and more people live next to each other and on top of each other in cities the risk of contagion rises (WHO).  As a result, the current potential pandemic scenario has an increased likelihood of playing out again in the future with more regularity and it’s a time to think and to pursue for sustainable tomorrow.

We have seen extensive lengthy factory closures across China which has put enormous supply chain strain on the Chinese economy. Given that 19.7% of global GDP is reliant on China (IMF) this ripple effect will be felt globally during 2020 and there are early signs it is already having a negative impact.

The question to raise is: what if we had not just automated factories but a mobility solution that removed the direct human interactions and need for the reliance on humans to ship goods domestically and intercontinentally? Step one of introducing automation to factories only goes so far in removing the supply chain stresses presently seen in China. Introducing the next step of Ai enabled autonomous mobility automation could further dampen the financial impact of any future pandemic as well as help to reduce spreading and managing deadly viruses.

Step one of introducing automation to factories only goes so far in removing the supply chain stresses presently seen in China. Introducing the next step of Ai enabled autonomous mobility automation could further dampen the financial impact of any future pandemic as well as help to reduce spreading and managing deadly viruses.

Additionally, the removal of the need for human movement would shield regions from contagion as well as prevent the transmission of pathogens. There could be a strong argument in medical terms for this type of intervention.

As central banks devise stimulus packages to halt the economic shocks from Covid-19 it would be prudent to factor in a broader response which includes the ability to guarantee an undisrupted supply chain in the shape of autonomous vehicles. The learning from our current potential pandemic has enormous breadth and AI enabled autonomy is one of the key answers for sustainable future.

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