Mobility: horseless, driverless, carless.
(Mobotiq proposal for TheDAO. First 4 pages.)
A NOT SO SCI-FI VISION
We’re in 2019. Paula wakes up at the soft buzz of her smartphone. A quick glance at the clock shows it’s 7:30AM. It’s a late day of May, and Paris’ life is already humming outside. The warm smell from her connected Brewing Machine entices her with freshly-made coffee and the morning news while a light rain tinkers on her windows
Since she moved in from Australia she feels like her dream has come true. Her small flat in Le Marais is the perfect nest from where she works and from where she dreams. A new generation of VR collaboration tools allows her to work from home, or a café on the Seine.
She developed the VR part of the collaboration tool one year ago, as a project funded by The DAO. Her twenty team-mates are all working from their homes on 3 continents and they don’t even need to set up meetings to collaborate and get the work done.
But this morning is special. This morning she has to go to an appointment with a peer from The DAO to discuss the newly-voted features of the VR app. It’s a pleasure to finally meet with Peter IRL. Peter is a mechanical engineer and he’s on the verge of a breakthrough on the tool and she’s asked specifically for her to meet him in person. Peter lives in Vincennes, at the immediate outskirts of the city, border to a beautifully renewed park.
8:15AM, time to move up. Paula waves at her V-Screen and a set of options to get her to the meeting location before 9AM are presented, ranked by price.
Metro subway, 2€ and 30 minutes ride
E-Velib (e-bike rental), 2€ and 40 minutes ride
Cityscoot (electric scooters rentals), 6€ and 20 minutes ride
Mobotiq (one seat, electric pod rental), 6€ and 20 minutes ride.
Autolib (electric car rental), 9€ and 30 minutes ride
She doesn’t really like the subway and moreover her SmartAssistant AI is displaying an orange flag forecast of terrorist attacks: subway will be one of the most feared places in this kind of situation. It’s practically impossible to insure security in those crowdy places and people are more and more deserting public transportation.
Paula ask to sort by efficiency and the picture changes:
Mobotiq and CityScoot are now top of the list: fast, low cost, low carbon footprint.
E-Velib? Too slow and furthermore it’s raining, as often is in Paris. Plus, you have all the usual drawbacks: comfort, safety, pollution…
Cityscoot then. Same problems as for E-Velib at 3 times the price and 3 times the risk of accidents. She’s not that brave. Nor that stupid.
Autolib would be a comfortable and safe choice. Normally she uses Autolib when she goes out with friends and they can split the price. But today she rides alone, she doesn’t need those extra seats. And then you never know how much time this could take. Traffic in Paris can be pretty hectic and she’s running late for the meeting. Besides, she has to drive the car to the closest station (no free-flow service for Autolib), plug the charger then walk for 5 minutes (in the rain) to meet Peter.
Mobotiq seems to be the best solution, as often since the service went live in September 2018. A single-seat cocoon that moves nimbly through the traffic, is fun to drive and can be parked almost anywhere like a scooter. She even uses the pod when she goes out with friends: they love to take a pod each and “platoon” to the destination, one of them driving the whole “train” across town while the others chat and browse and book trendy places.
She can “summon” a pod right downstairs from her apartment. A peer will bring it there right on time. And she’ll be free to let it parked right in front of the Vincennes café (free-floating as they call it). Then another peer might need it for its own usage or will simply deliver it to the next user in exchange for a small fee.
Paula order the pod with a smile on her face: she always likes to drive the vehicle but she also has her special interest to use Mobotiq: she invested in TheDAO back in 2016 and she voted for the funding of that fantastic mobility-on-demand solution. The first ever blockchained pod. Then, in 2017, when Mobotiq released its own tokens she bought some. She’s now part of the project, her tokens value grows with every traveled kilometer. She’s an active peer in the project: she participated at the development of the software (blockchain) and she even promoted, by voting, the cabin design to be more personal and emotional. That brought her three times more tokens. And nothing but riding helps the project: each pod has cameras and lidars recording every path, which are then stored on top of Ethereum’s distributed storage platform, Swarm. Deep learning. This serves as an incentive for peers to ride the pod, some sort of “mining”. The data will be processed and will help Mobotiq release the Level 5, completely autonomous pod in 2 years. She can’t wait to see that!
Looking at the app she sees 4 pods in the neighborhood. Two of them are fully charged. One peer, Pierre, already replaced the empty batteries with newly charged ones. He charged them the night before, in his 4th floor apartment. (Those batteries are easily swappable and they have wheels, just like spinner suitcases.). He earned tokens for that service and he bids to deliver the pod right in front Paula home to earn some more token. Paula accepts and orders the pod for 8:30am. She inputs the destination and the target arrival time; the other peers will now see when and where the pod is going to be available for them.
At 8:30 she indeed finds the pod, parked perpendicular to the sidewalk, between two cars. She hops in by the frontal hatch, unlocking at the approaching of her smartphone. She plugs the smartphone in the socket and the pod’s screens come to life, feeding her with the main data and options. She starts driving toward Vincennes. Just like a bike, a great advantage of that pod is that it is allowed to split lanes, and that always halves the ride time compared to a conventional car. The cabin is exactly the version she likes, a little taller than the other versions. The boxy shape, which other peers disliked and voted against, gives her a feeling of roominess and visibility which translates into safety in Paula’s mind. But anyway, at the end there are at least 6 cabin versions to choose from, and even more to come.
Fast forward 3 years. We’re on May 25th, 2021. Paula moved almost 1 year ago to London, the first European city to make Level 5 driverless cars street-legal. Mobotiq pods are not only fully driverless but also fully autonomous from a financial and legal point of view. They are now DAOs of their own. They form a mobility entity together with human peers (makers, users, prosumers) by self-organizing on the blockchain.
Going from A to B was never more efficient. Paula is proud to be part of such a revolution, and her wallet is better than ever: the value of the token had undergone another tipping point 1 year ago and grows exponentially ever since. Peers are adding value to the Mobotiq project by the hour. The last development was to put pods in a logistic network: they can drive either human peers or deliver stuff. They work 24/7 and the demand is booming.
New industrial revolution, sharing economy, collaboration economy, platform organization, exponential organization…you name it. A lot of buzz! But they’re just the trees hiding the forest. When you put together those disparate puzzle pieces you get a bigger picture: the end of material growth.
We might have already extracted, mined, accumulated, transformed, refined a big part of the atoms we need. We might only need more EFFICIENCY in recycling and putting them to work. Bits will help us squeeze more and more from those abundant atoms. We will mutualize them. Helped by AI, we’ll morph from capitalism into MUTUALISM. A new, decentralized and more efficient system of wealth creation.
We’ll have zero marginal cost energy from distributed solar panels and wind turbines. We’ll also have zero marginal cost manufacturing thanks to the democratization of the means of production and the advent of locally distributed automated additive manufacturing units.
Our products and services will scale exponentially thanks to IoT and network effects.
Blockchain will help us build meritocracies around our projects by accurately balancing reward and contribution and by “automating” decentralized trust and confidence among peers. By bringing the right incentive system and by aligning peer’s interests. By fluidifying value adding and value exchange and by eliminating transactions costs.
The first wave of the “mutualization” of assets and resources was brought by Airbnb, Uber and the likes. While this is already a great leap forward, the main limitation comes from their centralized model. But those attempts have at least the merit of showing the direction.
Speaking about Uber and the mobility field, Big Auto is already challenging its old model and tries to adapt to the new reality. Rentership instead of ownership. Mobility operator instead of car manufacturer. Build to last instead of planned obsolescence.
GM for instance, invests heavily in on-demand mobility: acquisition of ride-hailing Sidecar and self-driving tech Cruise, investments ride-sharing Lyft, launching of car-rental service Maven. All the other manufacturers are on the same trend. But Big Auto equals Big Comfort Zone! Are they going to succeed with their heavy legacy to protect and their addiction to oil, planned obsolescence, capital intensive model? Newcomers like Apple, Google, Dyson are betting on the opposite.
But again, they all seem to have one common point: CENTRALIZATION.
A Perfect Storm that will completely reset mobility might come sooner than expected. We are witnessing the convergence of several developments. First, we see the transition toward a distributed, clean and affordable solar energy. This transition is boosted by new, performant electrical energy storage solutions and will push forward to full electrification of vehicles. Electric vehicles are ideal, if not mandatory, for autonomous drive. All we need is more Artificial Intelligence. AI will be implemented in the vehicle itself, in its design and manufacturing organization and tools, and also in its usage mode. With IoT and Blockchain being an important part of the AI we need.
The simplicity and modularity of an EV will completely change the manufacturing system in the automobile field. Small, highly automated and robotized fabrication units will be located the nearest possible to the final client and will build on demand configurations of vehicles by combining highly standardized modules with bespoke parts.
The most expensive part of an EV are the batteries and as the demand grows their price will continuously and steadily lower. Huge incentives are already boosting R&D and mass manufacturing. Elon Musk’s Giga Factory is just the beginning.
The same is true for the driverless field. Mobileye, Quanergy, Valeo or Nvidia are already proposing off-the-shelve driverless kits at a fraction of the price we had just one year ago.
Open source will play an important part, especially in the driverless field where we cannot entrust Big Auto to deal with our safety. Remember Dieselgate? Open source software could have prevent it…
New start-ups will force this trend even further, until this affirmation made in 1981 by Computerworld Magazine could come true:
“If the auto industry had done what the computer industry has done in the last thirty years, a Rolls Royce would cost $2.50 and get 2,000,000 miles to the gallon“