According to MIT Sloan Professor Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and coauthor of Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future, “If you want to understand the connected, intelligent, and personalized future of urban transportation, and help shape it, then read this book. There’s no one on the planet who I would trust more to explain this revolution than these authors.” The book is Faster, Smarter, Greener: The Future of the Car and Urban Mobility. The authors: Venkat Sumantran, auto industry veteran and Chairman of Celeris Technologies, Charles Fine, MIT Sloan professor and founding president of the Asia School of Business in Kuala Lumpur, and David Gonsalvez, CEO and Rector at MIT’s Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation.
Published by MIT Press in 2017, the ideas put forth in Faster, Smarter, Greener have been rippling through the transportation industry, changing the way people think about automobiles and driving. Sumantran, Fine, and Gonsalvez are all industry experts, and they predict fast-moving changes in 21st-century transportation. The way they see it, urban planners are shifting from designing cities for cars to designing cities for people. Societies are gearing up to charge user fees and offer subsidies to encourage consumers toward more sustainable practices. And the sharing economy is coaxing many consumers to shift from being owners of assets to being users of services. The auto industry is responding with connected cars that double as virtual travel assistants and by introducing autonomous driving.
Smartphones vs. Smart Cars
How did we get here? The authors note that while the 20th century was the century of the automobile, the 21st will see mobility dramatically reenvisioned. Cars altered cityscapes, boosted economies, and made personal mobility efficient and convenient during our century-long love affair with the automobile. But today, the authors say, people are more attached to their smartphones than their cars. And that change is not just about the fickle affections of consumers. Cars are no longer the quickest mode of travel in cities, and vehicular emissions pose an increasingly ominous threat to the planet.
Sumantran, Fine, and Gonsalvez believe that an innovative mobility architecture must be developed to meet the needs and expectations of an era with new social and economic realities. Faster, Smarter, Greener charts a course for achieving it. The authors envision a new world of mobility that is connected, heterogeneous, intelligent, and personalized (CHIP architecture). CHIP architecture embodies an integrated multimode mobility system that builds on ubiquitous connectivity, electrified and autonomous vehicles, and a marketplace open to innovation and entrepreneurship. Consumers will exercise choice on the basis of user experience and efficiency aided by “intelligent advisors,” accessible through their mobile devices.