There’s a ton of hype around the future of mobility; the possibilities appear endless!

Some conversation about the future of mobility and transportation is very real. And some of it is just car lover fantasy and transportation buff daydreams… but for the iDSC Podcast, I truly do love covering it all!

In iDSC100 I touch on primary areas of the mobile future with the greatest potential for impact on our society as a whole – but especially right here in Southern California.

Tom Smith pictured in airport baggage terminal with luggage and his son in a stroller as part of the iDriveSoCal Podcast 100 banner. The Future of Mobility - What's Hype and What's Real?

***Show Notes***

Recorded July 18, 2018, in Los Angeles, CA

The Future of Mobility Editorial 

Welcome…

  • This is 100!
  • The Future of Mobility – what’s real and what’s hype?
  • First a quick note if you’re new to the podcast – mobility is how we move both people and stuff.
  • For many that has given the impression of Golden Girls, walkers and wheelchairs. And that’s not wrong – but there’s much more to it.  We’re talking technical advancements and innovation.  The future!
  • So here goes – this mostly my opinion after 99-episodes and constant journalistic research.
  • Simpson’s – Monorail Episode.
  • A lot of innovation is happening – that’s undeniable.
    • Start-ups, scooters, electric cars, driverless cars, flying cars, driverless flying cars, hyper-loops, underground highways w/ The Boring Company, electric aircraft, and space travel.
    • Tech in cars definitely advancing.
    • And let’s not forget car sharing.
  • Which brings me to the beginning of iDriveSoCal.
    • Yes, it started from my severe love of driving and cars along with an equally severe loathing of sitting in my car driving in traffic congestion.
    • But if there’s so much car sharing going on then why does traffic congestion continue to get worse?
  • Simpson’s Monorail Episode – Season 4, Episode 12.
  • We’re going to talk a bit about each of the previously mentioned categories – again… this is mostly my humble opinion:
    • Start-ups: More and more – both brand new companies and companies re-inventing themselves.
    • Scooters:
      • Lime-bike, Bird, OjO.
        • Random locations & UCLA
        • Unicorn companies
        • Bird’s nesting – sharing economy.
        • OjO – one of the first podcasts.
      • All working on the last mile…
        • Obesity, heart disease and general health?
        • Seems to be more legal booze cruising in MdR and tourists.
        • How about the ole’ heel-toe-express for that last mile conundrum?

EVs – Electric Vehicles

  • Electric Cars:
    • They’re here. No doubt.  Traditional manufacturers have deep plans.
      • Require less maintenance.
      • The torque is incredible – performance overall.
      • Probably electric performance will exceed fuel combustion in performance by far.
    • Zero emissions is great but let’s not forget:
      • Those huge electric batteries that are running them – what happens to those when they’re done? Landfill?
      • All that electricity is coming from somewhere. Produced by coal, by a nuclear power plant?
      • Or, produced by solar? Great then what about the emissions from producing the solar panels to capture the solar power?
      • And what about the disposal of those solar panels when their lifecycle is over?
      • Same goes for wind-power and hydro-power.
      • And don’t get me wrong – I’m not anti-any of this; I’m just posing some questions to think about.

Autonomous Driving

  • Driverless cars – We did a whole podcast on the levels of autonomous driving. Check it out at iDriveSoCal.com.  It was our 43rd  Aka iDSC043.
    • At the top level of autonomous driving, you have no driver needed – at all.
      • That can only happen with infrastructure for the vehicle to maneuver within, talk to, work with and be guided by.
    • So, regarding fully automated vehicles. Here’s what I think happens in the not so distant future.
      • Our highest populated cities become the hubs of this innovation.
      • Cars advance to a certain point with tech inside them.
      • If you want to take your car into the city then you must have the tech to connect to the cities grid as you enter the city limits.
      • Once on the grid, there is no traffic because it’s all totally regulated by software.
      • You, as a driver are completely or almost completely hands off because the city’s grid is operating your vehicle.
      • Or your vehicle and talking to the grid and the operation is happening in real-time based on your data input – not your physically pressing the accelerator, brake or steering wheel.

No Traffic Doesn’t Mean No Waiting

  • There will be wait times – similar to the wait for a train to cross through a road.
    • There will likely also be wait times to enter the city and its grid.
    • But once you’re on it – just like an automated car wash takes you and your car – the city’s grid takes you to wherever your pre-determined destination happens to be.
      • I think it’s safe to say the tech is all there right now.

Red Tape Cutters

  • It’s the legal aspects and political red tape involved in this all happening is mind-numbing.
    • However, Uber and Lyft have seemingly circumvented the impossible in that regard – slashing through the issues to bring mobility tech to the masses. And the people have clearly spoken – they want it!
    • But then we’re going to have social issues to deal with.
      • No more cruising the city for teens looking for something to do.
      • And I’m sure some activist groups will freak out about aspects of the change such as the man (or the woman) taking away their right to cross the road whenever they want.
  • Now about the lower levels of autonomous driving – there’s so much to consider each is a deep and wide topic of its own.
    • It comes down to this – if you don’t have infrastructure then you have your vehicle’s tech having to make decisions. And therein lies the serious rub.
    • As drivers and human beings, we know that sometimes our options, when having to decide something, come down to either bad or worse.

Flying Cars

  • Next up is Flying Cars.
    • My boyhood fascination!
    • If having a driver’s license represented freedom then having a flying car represented – utopian freedom.
    • The big difference now over the Popular Mechanics cover that had me drooling about the possibility of taking off in my flying car straight out of the garage is drones.
    • The technology of drones is there – and it’s been demonstrated to be scalable to handle bigger cargo – including people.
    • We dropped a story in the newsletter just last week about Audi hooking up with Airbus on a prototype and Angela Merkel even designated a city for testing the flying car concept!
    • I’m no pilot and the air traffic controllers seem to have their hands full as it is.
      • But common sense would seem to indicate there’s much less stuff to hit in the skies than on the ground.
      • Granted the accidents are going to be horrifying.
      • But how about flying car air-bags and parachutes for the entire vehicle to land softly on the ground when things go wrong in the air?

Flying Driverless Cars

  • And Flying Driverless Cars might just happen sooner than flying cars themselves.
    • Take the human out of the equation altogether.
    • And this all might sound crazy and far off into the future but:
      • Uber Elevate Conference.
      • Uber Nasa Joint Venture.
      • Media credentials WTF?

Hyperloops 

  •  Hyperloops:
    • Like a blood-vessel shooting through our veins.
    • Fast moving Capsules that can’t hit each other in tubes underground.
    • But if they do somehow hit each other the capsules and everyone in them will be pretty much greasy vapor.

Underground Highway / Electric Railway

  • Underground highway-slash-electric railway thing;
    • Elon Musks thing.
    • The Boring Company.
      • Hats & Flamethrowers.
        • Not-a-flame-thrower
      • Hat was for LA tour…
        • Who won those tours?
      • Now Chicago on their website.
      • Where’s my interview?

Electric Aircraft

  • Electric aircraft:
    • Ampaire – Another podcast.
      • 9-passenger.
      • Flying in the next 6-months was the plan.
      • Cool design.
      • Biz plan to support other existing airlines.
    • UK/Europe – Small electric aircraft carrying a couple people are flying. Upon that last podcast Ampaire some of the aircraft are here in the US but can’t fly legally.  More rules and regulations.

Interplanetary Mobility / Space Travel

  • Space travel:
    • All of that isn’t going to make a difference because we’ve destroyed this planet so it’s tech we’ll be taking with us to live on Mars while we colonize the Universe.
  • In the meantime, you very well may be listening to this podcast stuck in traffic!
    • Oh, the irony!

iDriveSoCal

  • But that brings us to another important element of iDriveSoCal.
    • I’m not the only one who loves cars.
    • There are legions of car lovers – tens of millions of us right here in the US alone!
    • Just look at all the car shows – just in SoCal alone.
      • We have many on our events page.
      • Which gets surprisingly high traffic.
      • And don’t forget to check out all the podcasts from
  • And as we continue to wait for the future of mobility to arrive we still have to live our lives.
    • And that means getting into our cars and driving – every day.
    • So when it’s time for you to buy or even think about buying please connect with our awesome automotive retail partners.
      • Seriously we only work with the best – the guys and gals that don’t play games and are truly friends of ours.
        • Sorry to name drop but we have some favorites.
          • Rock Honda in the Los Angeles suburb of Fontana California.
            • David Latif
            • Hamid Javid
            • Veronica Orozco
            • Ruben Serna
            • Oly Garcia
          • Ontario Volkswagen – in Ontario, California.
            • Earl Reed
            • Scott Reed
            • Randy Halcomb
            • Jim Straley

Mobility in Southern California

  • So that’s the skinny on mobility – 100 episodes into the iDriveSoCal experience. It’s been a lot of fun for me personally – a heck of a lot of work but it’s not work if you’re loving what you do.
  • As we move forward with technological advances with mobility I’m going to wrap this up with a little personal news.
  • My 9-month old son is very-very mobile.
  • Started in Chicago during the ASCO Convention my wife and I go to each year for the stomach cancer patient advocacy organization we created – Hope for Stomach Cancer.
    • We napped and he didn’t fall off the bed!
  • Now I’ve been baby-proofing the house because he’s crawling around like crazy.
  • So going back to the top of this podcast mobility is truly a concept that we’re going to be hearing and experiencing a lot more about coming years. Changes, advancements innovations.
    • It’s impacting everything and everyone – young and old.

And because there’s just way too many pics to cover everything we shared in this podcast… but mostly because I’m completely in love with my son – the pics in the gallery for this podcast are mobility pictures of my baby boy.

For iDriveSoCal I’m Tom Smith – thanks for listening!