Harmony in Motion: Redefining Mobility for a Sustainable Tomorrow

Step into 2050, where society embraces circular economy principles and fosters a symbiotic relationship between technology and nature. Picture commuting through greener cities, breathing cleaner air, your journey being powered by a renewable energy mix where hydrogen and electricity take centre stage.

In this future, mobility is a testament to safety, innovation, and environmental responsibility. Vehicles boast advanced safety features, with real-time communication between them ensuring accident prevention and smart, optimised traffic flows. Power sources vary: electricity fuels urban transport, hydrogen powers larger vehicles, and fuel cells dominate long-distance travel, all manufactured with a commitment to circularity.

Digitalisation enables smart mobility, optimising traffic flow and supporting Mobility as a Service (MaaS) models. This interconnected landscape allows users to effortlessly plan, book, and pay for journeys, delivering convenience and efficiency.

Flexibility defines vehicle ownership, with urban areas favouring shared mobility and automation for safer urban travel. In rural settings, a blend of personal and shared ownership accommodates the varying mobility demands and needs.

In 2050, urban planning will place people at its core. Furthermore, sustainable materials and variable-use spaces characterise the public space, with integrated charging infrastructure for electric and hydrogen vehicles. Mobility is not just a means of transport but a shared, public experience, digitally optimised for inclusivity and environmental stewardship.

As the sun sets on this vision, we find ourselves in a future where technology, nature, and society coexist harmoniously, ushering in an era where mobility is not just a way to get somewhere but a journey toward a sustainable and interconnected tomorrow.


From Workshop to Vision: Crafting the Future of Mobility with SALIENT

Recently, the SALIENT project hosted a workshop in Stuttgart, Germany, in collaboration with the ELCA, bringing together experts to envision future scenarios of mobility. Roundtables of experts from liaised projects pooled their knowledge and expertise together to create exciting futures based on real industry foresights, results from innovative projects, and some storytelling, imagination and desires.

Participants in the workshop held a wide range of experts gathering from across Europe from research institutes, SMEs, and cluster organisations. The 20 ‘person strong attendance ensured that the discussions were well-rounded and constructive.

The workshop was guided by a brainstorming canvas, which contained a section to create a future scenario and a roadmap to get to this scenario. Because, more important than writing up nice visions, is to make them actionable. So, along the roadmap of the canvas, the participants developed steps and necessary innovations, as well as policies, to reach the desired scenarios.

Starting the workshop, participants examined the intricacies of the 2050 urban and natural landscape, setting the stage for a comprehensive exploration. Workshop participants investigated the specifics of future vehicles—imagining their appearance, composition, power sources, drivers, and the prevailing policies and societal perceptions surrounding transport and mobility. The objective was to craft a scenario that was not only desirable but also feasible, encapsulating both ambition and achievability.

Broken down into three pivotal steps. The first step prompted participants to consider immediate actions—what could be done in the present? The second step directed attention towards the mid-term, envisioning the pitstop in 2035 and what goals should be achieved by then. Finally, participants explored the third step, in a collective effort, participants envisioned a 2050 scenario, contemplating the urban and natural landscape. The outcome? A well-defined roadmap and stimulating discussions on the intricate details of future vehicles and policies.

The workshop served as a fertile ground for ideation, collaboration, and strategic thinking, propelling the European lightweighting community towards a future marked by innovation, sustainability, and shared vision, shaping the trajectory of lightweight automotive parts in the coming decades.

From Workshop to Vision: Crafting the Future of Mobility with SALIENT

Collaboration is key to achieving a desirable automotive future. Value chain collaboration and open data sharing can improve the quality-of-life cycle assessments, improving the decision-making and sustainability of innovation initiatives toward a cleaner automotive future. Main innovations are expected and necessary in vehicle safety, power supply, manufacturing, charging infrastructure, digitalisation and policy.

To improve vehicle safety, it is necessary to develop and apply active crash systems to prevent accidents before they happen through constant monitoring of critical parts, traffic and infrastructure. Furthermore, lightweight materials can improve safety and fuel efficiency.

SALIENT workshop

Infrastructure design should consider safety but also embed electric and hydrogen charging on a European level with standardisation. Developments for propulsion technology should focus on electric and hydrogen. For Electric Vehicles (EVs), improvements can be achieved in power density, reliability, efficiency and range, as well as charging times and infrastructure. For hydrogen, improvements can be achieved in efficient and affordable production and storage, as well as the applicability of hydrogen engines in all transport, such as trains, buses, trucks, and cars.

Material development is also important for a desirable mobility future. Think of composite materials, monomaterials, lightweighting and high-performance optimised materials. Furthermore, energy density and circularity improvements should be achieved for batteries. However, business model innovations such as shared mobility models should not be overlooked. To serve the multimodal and variable user needs of urban transportation, mobility as a service and sharing models should be stimulated. This goes hand in hand with a digital transformation facilitating the convenience of sharing services with phone applications for planning and paying for a trip, as well as traffic and vehicle optimisation software and cyber security.

Policy should lead the way, on all scales. Internationally, it is relevant to create a unified policy scheme. In the EU, the policy focus should be on collaboration and innovation, e.g. stimulating this through open science initiatives, data sharing and facilitating value chain collaboration. On a regional, and urban level, there are many wheels to turn, and policy should balance the needs of the city, its inhabitants and sustainability.

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