New technologies: sustainable mobility or new brave world

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Theme N°: 

New technologies and new forms of mobility are strictly redefining the frontiers in the automotive industry. The previous GERPISA conferences and in particular the 2015 conference in Paris pointed out the interconnection between the technological trajectories and the role of incumbents and newcomers in the industry, the state and private actors in the transport system. But the “new” automotive industry requires many innovations: products (raw materials, architecture definition…), services (car-sharing, connected cars…), new business (battery rental, after-sale activities…), policies (aids, regulations...) and, of course, integrators of all those innovations transforming them into reality.
In the call for papers for the 2016 GERPISA in Puebla we paid attention on the respective role of market, which might be covered by each technology: electric vehicles (full size and micro), full and plug-in hybrid vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, but also LPG, CNG and biofuel vehicles. Major hurdles remain regarding the electric vehicles’ limited diffusion to date and the national legal framework and its regulations and laws which may favour or disadvantage the introduction of new mobility services in cities.
We require contributions able to describe and understand the role and impact of public (environmental or transport) politics in supporting the new powertrains and forms of mobility and in shaping the integration with old technology. For example tightening regulations and technology innovations are driving automakers to switch to 48-volt systems, but this solution has implications for the whole automotive industry.
Some topics have only been tangentially addressed in the previous GERPISA conferences:

  • Demand approach to the market of new powertrains, vehicles, and new mobility services, including customers/citizens’ needs and mobility patterns but also their acceptance to changing their behaviour, and the incentives that cities and/or companies implement to promote new mobility services.
  • The issue of charging infrastructure that might be linked to public and private investments (public policies, but also carmakers investments or even commercial facilities investment to attract EVs owners, to generate an eco-image).
  • Autonomous and more connected vehicles (cars, trucks and busses) will be launched into the market. One question regards their impact on mobility tendencies but also the real state of the art in terms of cybersecurity.
  • New technologies to improve fuel efficiency do not regard only powertrains. The reduction of emissions can be reached also by downsizing and lightweighting. These involve new component design, new material mix and innovation in manufacturing process.

One area that continues to grow in the auto industry is the use of Big Data. It provides manufacturers daily downloads of data from millions of customers from their in-vehicle connections such as OnStar. It is used by ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft to customize and improve their service. It offers new entries into the electric vehicle industry the support for downloading software updates to the vehicle. And it is the basis for autonomous vehicle “deep learning and artificial intelligence” as these vehicles share their knowledge across fleets. But the sheer volume of data collected in these enterprises dwarfs previous Big Data such as census records or household and vehicle registration data. Today’s automotive Big Data is so voluminous that manufacturers do not have enough server space and download/upload time to keep more than a few days worth of data, and they need to develop new analytical techniques to use the data to their advantage. This year’s GERPISA conference is accepting papers about how auto manufacturers and mobility companies use Big Data for marketing, manufacturing, and product development, and how they may use it in the near future. We encourage researchers with case studies on this topic to present the challenges and opportunities they see coming for Big Data in the automotive industry.
Industry 4.0 is the current trend of automation and creates what has been called a "smart factory". It represents a new productive scenario by means of innovating solutions in different parts of the value chain, which translates to higher efficiency. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things and cloud computing. How has this process been affecting the automotive industry (firms, workers, unions, skills and so on)? What has been achieved so far and what should we aim to achieve? What will be the impact on the industry?
Most of the questions remain to be analysed to reflect upon the notion of “new frontiers” in the global automotive industry. As specified in the call for papers R/evolution can be understood literally also as new technologies, new innovation fields, new applications and regulations. It is fundamental to know who are the actors involved in shaping these new territories of production, consumption and innovation.

Copyright© Gerpisa
Concéption Tommaso Pardi
Administration Géry Deffontaines

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