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Continuing MobilityW hich technology is most responsible for shaping our world over the last 100 years? The strongest arguments might be for cheap and plentiful energy, telecommunications, modernhealthcare or perhaps transport systems that have enabled unprecedented personal mobility.Vehicle manufacturers, of course, are advocates for personal mobility. After all, 80 per cent of land journeys are made by car today - a fact that has had a major impact on where and how we live and work. Given the mobility revolution that the automobile has powered, it is worth considering that the car is still evolving. It has become a point at which the key technologies of the last 100 years are converging.This evolution is being motivated by urgent necessity and driven by an enormous investment. In Europe alone, the automobile industry is the largest private investor in research, with the 18 ACEA members committing over ?26 billion annually to R&D. This is helping the industry to adapt to a changing world, creating new forms of mobility that communicate more and are better connected, that use energy more efficiently, that are cleaner to manufacture, to use and dispose of, and are safer in every respect. The connected and networked driving experience is already a part of our lives: vehicles use satellites for navigation, receive digital radio for in-car entertainment and link with mobile phones for safer hands-free use. Increasingly, these systems are linked together through the embedded IT system (along with access to information on the vehicle and on driving conditions) to produce a seamlessly integrated experience. This is radically changing the vehicles we drive and ride in. Vehicles are being designed with integrated safety and communications technologies right from the start."those looking for a more economical, greener driving experience are buying cars that automatically moderate fuel consumption and also use stop-start technology to reduce emissions when the vehicle is at rest."Ivan Hodac, Secretary-General, The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA)It is also changing how people interact with vehicles, offering an experience that more closely resembles how we use consumer electronics. This shift is being accelerated by the availability of ubiquitous access to high-speed wireless internet, and is resulting in cars that communicate with the driver, the road, the traffic and the wider world. Travelling no longer means being disconnected from our stationary surroundings.Such innovations will hugely increase safety, comfort and convenience. However, it raises important questions about the relationship between human drivers and computer intelligence, and whether this will lead to a more passive travel experience and to a world in which integrated virtual control is the norm, rather than a quirky novelty. In any case, it is essential that the driver stays in control of the vehicle, but computer intelligence has a particular role to play in alerting and augmenting the driver's own abilities. Automotive manufacturers are already 120 transport and mobility

"Travelling no longer means being disconnected from our stationary surroundings "Pictured: (below:) Blue is the new green! Vehicles are increasingly a combination of technologies(left:) New and efficient engines are reducing the carbon footprint of road transportinvestigating these considerations. Often motivated by safety, manufacturers are developing systems - such as lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking - that keep the driver safe before they even have time to react. Many of these systems work best when they connect with other vehicles and with the road. Elsewhere, technology is assisting the driver in the pursuit of sustainability: for example, those looking for a more economical, greener driving experience are buying cars that automatically moderate fuel consumption and also use stop-start technology to reduce emissions when the vehicle is at rest.One hundred and twenty-five years ago, the automobile began a gradual revolution in personal mobility Today, we face serious questions about how we will use vehicles in the future, even as technology brings unprecedented change to how we build, drive and enjoy getting around. Knowing that people will always need to travel, perhaps in 100 years they will look back at this as the time and the place where the automobile industry started the revolution again. n The automobile manufacturers have jointly launched an on-line platform facilitating the debate about mobility and shaping the world of tomorrow - join in at THE AUTHORIvan Hodac has been ACEA's Secretary-General since 2001. Building on a large experience in EU affairs, he maintains close relationships with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU representatives of the Member States. As a representative in Brussels of the 18 European automobile manufacturers, Mr Hodac is also counterpart for other industry associations, NGOs and consumer organisations.transport and mobility 121