November 18, 2021

This week the Comotion conference was coming back to Los Angeles for the 5th edition to discuss the future of mobility and cities with the ambition to create the bridge between the public and private sector players to solve the industry challenges. The event origin was following the “Los Angeles mobility plan 2035” announced in 2015 by the LA mayor who wanted to create a post car-centric city momentum and helped Los Angeles to become the leading hub of the green mobility revolution. 

Recovering from the pandemic, the mobility industry is seeing a lot of changes happening on the technology innovation front. From the electrification of vehicles to the autonomous cars being deployed on land, we will also have to look up to the sky as urban air mobility may soon become a reality.  

Net zero strategy and the decarbonization of transportation

“We are shifting from promises to actions regarding climate change fight (…) the words I repeated the most during the COP26 was collaboration and partnerships between private and public sectors” said UK minister of transport Trudy Harrison on stage at ComotionLA commenting the COP26 that took place last week in Glasgow. 

Beyond the UK, Swiftmile CEO was commenting that they are the “modern gas station for micromobility” providing electric charging stations and they are seeing a tremendous development of e-bikes and e-scooters around the world that make the daily commuting shift to alternative transportation a reality. 

Ghost kitchens, dark stores and autonomous vehicles will impact the way cities are organized 

One of the recent new developments in cities has been the boom of ghost kitchens and dark stores.

“Digital store fronts are becoming as important or even more for restaurants as the physical ones for their food delivery activities” Alex Cater, CEO of Ordermark that is a startup helping restaurant to monetize better their kitchen for online ordering
On a more futuristic note, autonomous vehicles are already starting to be commercially deployed in the USA for moving people and goods. Waymo announced during the conference an extension of their partnership with UPS for freight for commercial pilots as the pandemic accelerated the path for AV for logistics.
These evolutions of the urban space and the ways to move around are forcing regulators and cities to change and adapt their frameworks to create a better place for their communities.  

Development of new air taxi and urban air mobility

Finally, the advanced aerial mobility industry is probably one of the most nascent and booming space now according to the startup investor Cyrus Sigari from Up Partners. Sigari shared that more than $5 billion were raised by startups in the space in 2021, four times more than in 2020. 

The conference was the first public showcase for the Wisk Aero vehicle which is a self-flying electric vertical aircraft startup backed by Boeing and Google cofounder Larry Page. They are looking to deploy actively in New Zealand and signed a partnership with Blade Air Mobility to deploy 30 vehicles in the USA in a few years. 

Matthieu Soulé, head of BNP Paribas C.Lab Americas, correspondent of Cardif Lab’ in the USA