The Future of Mobility: tomorrow’s ways of getting from A to B

Press release / 7.9.2017

Together, TÜV Rheinland, the Fraunhofer FIT and the start-up company MotionWerk are presenting a concept paper on the future of the mobility sector’s digital infrastructure. By way of their Open Mobility System (OMOS), they are offering a step by step solution to the challenges of our future mobility. The intention is to involve as many companies as possible in a mobility foundation that guarantees and promotes creative competition. At the heart of this process is an open, decentralized blockchain infrastructure.

The demands we place on unlimited individual mobility are already in transition. New mobility concepts such as Peer-2-Peer car sharing are indicative of a larger paradigm shift. Whereas car ownership has long been accorded great meaning as a symbol of personal freedom, this attitude is rapidly making way to the question of how we can get from A to B in the most simple, sustainable and of course comfortable way possible – no matter by which means of transport.

"To offer our customers a way forward, we are in need of novel forms of cooperation between various companies dedicated to the design and development of new, digital infrastructures," says Dr. Matthias Schubert, executive vice president of mobility at TÜV Rheinland.

In this future digital infrastructure, every traveler, every vehicle, and indeed every parking space and electric charging station is given its own digital identity. Not only will they be interconnected, they will also be making transactions with one another. Our vision: Self-driving cars make direct payments to charging stations, and ahead of a multi-leg journey, travelers make bookings for all required means of transport with a single click. These are just two of the many applications facilitated by this digital infrastructure. Further positive effects of its interconnectedness will include a better, more efficient use of vehicles, parking lots, and charging stations, so private as well as commercial providers would benefit from this new infrastructure. By providing means of transport such as e-cars, e-scooters, or e-bikes in a seamless mobility network, any thus generated revenue can be re-invested to cover the respective running costs.

According to the concept paper, it is essential to set this enterprise on the right track as soon as possible, as the implementation of such an infrastructure can be done in two ways. The first one is done via a single or a small number of large providers, in any case a single unit which supplies all necessary structures from one source, which might well inhibit cooperation between providers across various platforms and perhaps even stifle innovation.

The second way – and this is the recommendation made in the concept paper – is an open and decentralized system. Professor Dr. Gilbert Fridgen of the Project Group Business & Information Systems Engineering of the Fraunhofer FIT sees this as a clear advantage: "OMOS is not in competition with anything already on the market. Its open infrastructure is designed as a guarantee that providers and customers can interact in the simplest way possible, without a single player occupying a central platform and thus acquiring all customer contacts and data."

OMOS – taking an active role in shaping the future

With their joint open project, the authors of the concept paper – TÜV Rheinland, the Project Group Business & Information Systems Engineering of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT, and the start-up company MotionWerk – follow a shared objective: to ensure equal opportunities for all concerned. This includes a guarantee of the highest possible level of data control, available not only to every company involved, but also to all end customers. Accordingly, OMOS is both a safeguard against market concentration as well as an enabler of creative competition on the basis of an open, decentralized digital transaction infrastructure.

OMOS provides the foundation for the future’s free, "unlimited" mobility. This includes:

  • free, multi-modal journey planning according to personal preference and independent of the means of transport
  • spontaneous access to every mobility scheme on offer and immediate use via multiple means of identification such as smartwatch, cell phone and physical ID
  • automatic payment options for all vehicles selectable in accordance with personal preference
  • dynamic journey planning including real time information on routing, automatic optimization of the schedule based on the user’s chosen directives
  • optional offer: shared mobility (B2B and Peer-2-Peer, be it between commercial providers and their customers or among customers themselves) 
  • further optional offer: self-driving vehicles

Blockchain technology, a central building block

It is not by chance that this concept paper on OMOS is being published now. After all, a central building block of the decentralized system is blockchain technology which has only very recently become available. Blockchain affords us the opportunity of conducting direct transactions without any central authority like a bank, yet with the same security of data storage and provision.

"As well as direct payment from one machine to another, we can now ensure that all data will be securely stored, data such as my driving license, which I can then use whenever I wish to rent a car, anytime and anywhere in the word," explains Dietrich Sümmermann, CEO of MotionWerk Ltd. With "Share&Charge" – a peer-2-peer-marketplace for electric charging stations, facilitating transactions among players on an equal footing – MotionWerk has pioneered a product that shows how blockchain technology can already offer practical solutions to current mobility problems.

The first milestone – setting up a foundation

An open system based on blockchain technology offers sheer unlimited potential. Its precise configuration, however, requires a great deal of research and development. That is why we are now conducting conversations with global partners, not only in the automobile industry and public transport sector, but also in insurance companies, scientific institutes, municipal governments, and public authorities. The intention is to set up a foundation by as early as the end of this year so as to get this shared journey underway and make sure we hit the ground running.

Further information is available here, as is the white paper and an opportunity to register: www.omos.io