Autonomous Mobility as a Service (MaaS), and the connected car services that will determine your success

May 3rd, 2023

Vehicle OEMs and mobility service providers are investing ever more resources into the development of autonomous vehicles. It is difficult to overstate the potential that autonomous Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and autonomous Transport as a Service (TaaS) have, in terms of everything from everyday mobility to city planning to logistics. In order to realize this potential, however, vehicles and connected car services must be able to manage complex data and multifaceted situations in a whole new way. What does that mean for OEMs? What connected car services do OEMs need to offer, in order to provide successful autonomous Mobility as a Service in particular?

What are the greatest challenges of autonomous Mobility as a Service and autonomous Transport as a Service?

Whether a connected vehicle carries people (Mobility as a Service) or goods (Transport as a Service), removing the human driver will inevitably give rise to questions of control, safety and security. Nevertheless, in order for these connected vehicles to become truly autonomous, they must act and “think” for themselves, and have self-driving systems. Increasingly complex sets of connected car data will have to be handled, and in more complex ways.

OEMs need a technological and administrative infrastructure that not only meets these challenges, but can evolve to facilitate better connected car services and even more capable autonomous MaaS and TaaS. A central part of this infrastructure is a mobility operations center that monitors and services the OEM’s connected fleets. This mobility operations center must be able to provide and maintain a wide range of connected car services.

group of engineers working on 3D car

Which connected car services does autonomous Mobility as a Service require?

The vehicle’s self-driving system combined with connected car services; this forms the basis from which more advanced user services (both remote and inside the vehicle) can be developed and delivered. So, what are these advanced user services? Below are some of the standard services that all operators will need to have, in order to successfully leverage autonomous Mobility as a Service.

  • Vehicle utilization monitoring & vehicle utilization optimization
    By monitoring their fleets, OEMs can make sure that these vehicles are utilized more efficiently. Which kinds of journeys are their connected cars used for? Where should the cars operate and/or be parked? When and where should they be charged, and how much? Lots of parameters to take into account. Crucially though, the OEM will need lots of existing connected car data to make predictions, informed decisions, and meet their customers’ needs.
  • Call center services / Safety & Security
    Without a driver in the vehicle, Call center services are crucial for giving users support in the event of an emergency or breakdown, but also trip information and recommendations. When contacted, the call center agent is provided with the latest data from the vehicle (which may include video feeds from cameras on and inside the vehicle), the direction it is heading in, the number of passengers, etcetera. This data can be used to give up-to-date travel information on road services or the local traffic situation, for example.
  • Security monitoring / VSOC
    Security Monitoring, or a VSOC (Vehicle Security Operations Center), allows fleet managers to monitor a fleet of vehicles and its surrounding digital ecosystem from a cybersecurity point-of-view. As a result, unauthorized access to the fleet or any of its vehicles can be prevented.
  • Remote vehicle operation
    Even if an autonomous connected vehicle is able to handle, say, 99.8% of all events, there may be rare situations where remote help is required. A call center agent (or similar) may need to contact the car, preferably receive an image or video of what has happened, and order the car to do something or drive somewhere. By integrating remote vehicle operation with other systems, their combined data can be summarized before it is sent to the call center agent, giving them a 360 degree view of the situation.
  • Maintenance and vehicle status monitoring
    Error codes and vehicle health data need to be collected and analyzed continuously. This is especially important for autonomous fleets, where there are no drivers manually monitoring the status of the vehicles. Maintenance can then be predicted and managed more efficiently. This is closely tied to the vehicle utilization monitoring outlined above.

While these factors primarily concern personal vehicles and autonomous Mobility as a Service, they are all relevant for autonomous Transport as a Service (including autonomous trucking) providers as well.

vehicles driving on a highway with blue abstract circles around them

Autonomous Mobility as a Service and autonomous Transport as a Service are emerging at an increasing rate

At the time of writing, autonomous Mobility as a Service is in a scale-up phase, and already operating in several cities in China and the United States. At the heart of this development are a handful of ride-hailing companies that are gaining ground and continually expanding their business operations to new cities. Cities which will continue to grow, and require comfortable, convenient transportation for its millions of inhabitants. As technology costs will drop, so will the cost for the consumer. One estimate is that the cost per mile for autonomous taxis could be as low as 0.25 USD in 2030.

Urban mobility in particular will likely become less and less about driving, and more about being driven. Not only does that require fully autonomous Mobility as a Service, but one that is accessible, reliable and affordable. This is something that the entire automotive industry has to act on.

As for autonomous Transport as a Service, the rise of autonomous trucking is still in a nascent stage, too. In the logistics industry, where total cost of ownership (TCO) is particularly important, autonomous trucking presents an enormous potential. Thanks to autonomous Transport as a Service, the costs for drivers, maintenance, and fuel can all be predicted and streamlined better, and certainly vastly reduced. Many markets are experiencing an ongoing, even worsening, lack of truck drivers; something that autonomous drive would also contribute to solving. Also, autonomous trucking can be used for more demanding and costly long-haul trucking operations, whereas human truck drivers can still be used in local, short-haul trucking.

How WirelessCar facilitates autonomous Mobility as a Service for connected fleets

WirelessCar has been developing, providing, and operating digital services for connected vehicles for almost twenty-five years. These services optimize fleet operations, and help OEMs move toward greater connectivity, electrification, autonomous driving, and more.

Since we already offer a wide variety of connected car services and solutions, OEMs do not have to invent and re-invent their own versions of these service portfolios. Instead, they can focus on the services that make their brands and business offerings unique.

As for autonomous Mobility as a Service, our goal is to give OEMs a flying start in this area. While we are all on a learning curve when it comes to autonomous MaaS and TaaS, we are working to make sure that the automotive industry can use this technology successfully, on an everyday basis.

Want to know more about our work in this field? You are welcome to contact us via email below. We also recommend that you read our related articles on how to enhance your service portfolio through your existing connected car cloud and how to create the connected car services of the future.

Christina Rux
Lead Solution Architect