There is a lot of talk going on these days regarding regulation and policy making in the world of the sharing economy. Many of the services being launched will require existing legal frameworks to be revised and upgraded. However, are these types of innovation enough to drive regulatory policy making, or is there an adverse effect?
To Innovate, or not to Innovate? That is the Question
Our current form of regulation does not allow some of the most recent innovations to be used in a public manner. For example, automated driving and autonomous driving are a challenge for policymakers around the world. But every country has its own organization to engage in conversations with local regulators. In Belgium, there is FEBIAC, which represents 200,000 companies and car brands in the country.
Statistics show us that 73% of vehicles are cars in Belgium, compared to other vehicles being used. Most of these cars are owned by individual consumers, although the numbers of private and company cars has been on the rise in recent years. Most of the company cars run on diesel, which is a source of renewable energy and more eco-friendly in general. Such a positive trend should be applauded, but more efforts are needed.
The entire concept of the sharing economy is becoming more complex, especially where the car industry is concerned. The European Commission wants to get trucks out of the cities and build safer roads by integrating safer technology. Removing trucks from the cities will have an impact on overall employment, as well as e-commerce and industry competitiveness.
Alternative fuels are being promoted due to lenient taxation. Other areas, such as safety, digital connectivity and convenience are at the top of the priority list for consumers and manufacturers as well. Autonomous cars are scheduled for testing in the near future over in the UK. However, legislation is still years behind this new technology.
Creating Smarter and Eco-Friendly Cars
Cars will not only be more connected with each other, but also with other tools and services. The row of ministers to go through to make regulation happen for innovative services in the car industry is hampering growth in the sector. It keeps people in the car industry busy at all times, without achieving much in the short run. It goes without saying this is far from an ideal situation.
Connected cars are linked to other cars of the same brand. Autonomous driving, on the other hand, is all about connectivity to the cloud, allowing a car to drive on its own accord. It is important to keep in mind how cars are more than just a smartphone on four wheels, despite the public opinion saying otherwise.
Data is the currency of the digital world. The car industry is getting smarter, but the question is who gathers this data, and how that data is being used. Increased connectivity will allow the development of smart mobility, but issues regarding data ownership and data protection will need to be considered.
Cyber security is an important factor in the development of the Internet of Things. Promoting the idea of using alternative fuels and alternative infrastructure needs to step up in Belgium. Unfortunately, Wallonia is heavily opposing these ideas, causing unnecessary delays in the evolution of our society.
During the upcoming European Automotive Forum — on January 14, 2016 — there will be one full day on connectivity in the car industry. Being part of the problem does not mutually exclude being part of the solution. People get addicted to comforts and convenience, such as having one or two hours alone time in the car.
How Decentralization Can Help
There are no viable alternatives to the public transport system today. Flexibility and efficiency are two key areas to overcome, but there is a major mental hurdle to overcome for all people on this planet. One thing is for certain, though, as transparency will play a key role in shaping the future of our society.
Decentralized solutions, such as crowdsourcing innovation, are the way forward. Giving the consumer a say in how regulation should take place will create frameworks that will work for everyone. Furthermore, this also inspires developers and engineers to come up with new and create solutions to keep evolving society.
What are your thoughts on the future of the car industry? Should there be a larger focus on decentralization, and if so, in what capacity? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Crowdsourcing Week Europe 2015
Images courtesy of FEBIAC, Shutterstock, Metalworking World Magazine