Augustin Friedel in the SHIFT Mobility interview


“If done right, autonomous driving could revolutionize the mobility setup in cities with less cars and lower transportation costs.”

This is the vision for autonomous driving by Augustin Friedel, Mobility Service Expert at MHP – A Porsche Company. For him, autonomous driving offers a huge opportunity to transform mobility behavior in the long term and make it sustainable. In our interview, he talks about the opportunities and challenges of autonomous driving and why it is particularly important in terms of sustainability within society.

Augustin Friedel is a recognized global expert for mobility services and the transformation of the automotive industry. Augustin and his colleagues at MHP – A Porsche Company work with cities, corporates or startups around the world to plan and execute projects in the areas of shared mobility, autonomous driving, electrification of fleets or smart city solutions.

What will happen if we don’t shift our mobility behaviour?

AF: If we don’t shift our mobility behavior in the western world, the situation in cities might get worse than what we have today. With the increasing urbanization, we would get more traffic, more emissions. More space, that could be used for housing or livable parks or places would be allocated to car traffic.

What do we have to radically invent, improve or change to realize the turnaround in transport policy?

AF: We need to invest in new ways of transportation to reduce private mobility with cars. In addition, invest more in secure infrastructure for micro mobility. Learn from progressive cities like Paris, Copenhagen or Barcelona and establish frameworks to increase non-car related mobility in urban areas, like biking, walking or public transit. Let’s also help the growing mega cities in Asia, Africa and South America to shape future ready and sustainable transport systems.

What is the most hyped buzzword in terms of mobility which has in your opinion no impact on the real issues of mobility?

AF: I think subscriptions and features on demand.

Let’s now take a look at the future of mobility. What will be the most important thing in 10 years from now about “mobility” that comes to your mind?

AF: The transformation of cities is one of the first things that comes to my mind.

Why is your topic fundamentally important to shape the future of mobility?

AF: Autonomous driving could revolutionize the mobility setup in cities with less cars and lower transportation costs. This would allow access to cheap and reliable transportation.

What do you think which technology will play a big role – if not the biggest role – in shaping the future of mobility?

AF: I think it will be the deployment of reliable autonomous driving technologies at scale.

In which way will your topic improve the aspects sustainability and inclusion in terms of mobility?

AF: If done right, less vehicles (all electric) would be needed to fulfill the mobility demands, especially in urban areas. Autonomous shuttles would enable mobility solutions for parts of the society that have difficulties to be mobile today (e.g., handicapped or elderly people). Costs should come down as well, enabling mobility for societies with lower income.

What is the greatest mobility challenge for your company and for your sector industry?

AF: Convincing stakeholders to deploy customer centric and inclusive mobility solutions.

Which mobility best cases particularly impress you and why?

AF: These are in particular the progressive plan of the City of Paris to transform the local mobility infrastructure and setup towards a sustainable infrastructure with less cars, more active mobility and the creation of livable places and streets.

Legal requirements, money, ideas, skills – what is needed the most in your sector in terms of future mobility and why?

AF: One of the most needed things is the willingness to create regulatory frameworks and collaboration platforms between public and private stakeholders to shape the future of mobility.

SHIFT Mobility