The Nissan Futures event in Hong Kong has brought forward three mobility trends for the Asia and Oceania region: cars as energy assets, the human role in autonomous driving systems and the importance of safety in mobility innovations.
The seventh edition of the global event was held from 8-10 March in Hong Kong. Under the theme “Transform the way we live and drive,” it brought together representatives from 13 countries to discuss how vehicles, cities and mobility infrastructures are evolving.
Government representatives, industry leaders and Nissan executives spoke on the future of mobility and the future of cities, identifying three trends:
Vehicles as mobile energy units
Panellists discussed whether the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) could lie in reimagining usage from just a mode of transportation, to a means to power homes and return energy to the grid.
Nicholas Thomas, global director of Nissan’s electric vehicle division, proposed that electrification of mobility could be a solution to energy market disruption. He showcased how EV batteries can be used on a larger scale to power homes, office and the grid.
Humans still need to form the centre of car and future technology interactions
Current autonomous vehicle discussions largely centre on technology. Participants however agreed that humans will still hold the key to transforming mobility and our cities.
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“We can think, we can sense, we can act,” said Dr Maarten Sierhuis, chief technology officer at the Nissan Research centre in Silicon Valley. “This is what cars need to do as well. Autonomous driving is about how human systems and cars interact. Show me a system without humans, and I show you a useless system.”
Next frontier for smart mobility: zero fatalities
The Future of Mobility panel presented how creating zero accidents and safety should be the main driver behind technology innovations.
“Smart mobility can improve society in many ways but the primary objective should be to reduce death and injury,” said panellist Iim Fahima from Queenrides in Indonesia. “Road accidents are a big global issue. Every 25 seconds one person dies. We need an integrated solution with the primary objective to reduce road deaths.”
Nissan Futures was timed in conjunction with the 2019 HKT Hong Kong E-Prix race. Nissan participated in the race with two vehicles through the Nissan e.dams team, thereby demonstrating technology transfer from high-performance e-racing to mass market vehicles.