New Mobility – New Types of Jobs


by Nicoletta Moss

Blacksmith hitting on a incandescent piece of iron

Photo by Jonathan Bean on Unsplash

When an industry gets disrupted one of the first reactions is the fear that certain positions will not be relevant anymore and thousands will lose their jobs. When the Automobile was introduced at the beginning of the last century the future for blacksmiths and sellers of horses was not a bright one. But then new talent was needed: mechanics who can fix cars, producers of tyres and car salesmen. So, let’s have a look which jobs might be the blacksmiths and mechanics of tomorrow.

The Aspen Institute points out that automation replaces human tasks— and every “job” is made up of a series of different tasks. That means a human will never be entirely replaced, just his tasks might change. Automation has taken over simple requests, freeing up people to tackle more complex issues. As an example: in the case of deliveries, the car may drive itself, but the job may still require a person to transport an item from curb to doorstep. Automation can take over tasks that are dull, dirty, or dangerous, resulting in improved safety outcomes and general well-being.

But realistically, automation will eliminate some jobs. As we can imagine the blacksmiths of the 21st centuries will be the professional drivers. Vehicle assembly—already highly robotized—is becoming even more automated as industrial robots gain capabilities that enable them to tackle more tasks or take on new forms to assist human workers. Everything from insurance underwriting to parking enforcement to auto loan origination could be executed by some combination of sensors, data analytics, and cognitive technologies, Deloitte is foreseeing.

Not all jobs will be eliminated. They might just change in profile and needed skills. Current fleet managers who will then take care of AVs might need an understanding of how to use tracking systems, dynamic routing, and AV technologies to ensure that vehicles on the road are operating smoothly. Instead of road-side-assistance, we will find remote-support staff for self-driving vehicles. Highway controllers will have to monitor, regulate, plan and manipulate both air and road space by monitoring and programming the AI platforms that control the vehicles. BCG says that we will require engineers who are cross-functional “tinkerers,” have a strong foundation in mathematics and physics; deep skills in artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, data sciences, and software; and a passion for cars, working on smart-infrastructure innovations, self-driving and electric cars. And even jobs like being a Real Estate Agent might change, as they will need to add more to their portfolio: landing and drop-off places for drone deliveries.

Archive photo of old factory

Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

And then there are the new roles: An example is the Experience enablers. People who don’t need to sit behind the wheel anymore in their daily commute will suddenly have a lot of free time on their hands. The in-vehicle transit experience could become central, says Deloitte. Experience enablers are content providers, data and analytics firms, advertisers, entertainment equipment providers, and social media companies, who would fill the vacuum and make travel relaxing, productive, and entertaining. Mobility and Subscription Managers are already part of our new ecosystem by working on Aggregator Apps which are enabling a seamless intermodal transportation experience, with an easy customer experience and smooth payment processes.

With more automation and especially AI we will need people thinking and working on Ethical Questions. As an example: a car will not be able to avoid a crash, but it has two options: crash in person A or person B? How should a computer take the decision?

The next one is one of my favourites, as mobility will have such a positive influence on the lives of one of the most vulnerable group in our society: the elderly. Deloitte points out that with the advent of convenient and cost-effective ridesharing services, seniors now have the ability to stay in their homes despite the loss of personal driving abilities. Personal freedom and mobility can be restored. Major ride-hailing providers are already exploring this space, partnering with cities, health care providers, and others to offer transportation for seniors or bringing products to seniors’ front doors. These types of services will most likely increase, and operators will require quite a different kind of skills than let’s say a standard taxi driver.

There are many more examples, but I would like to give you just one more. An article, written by McKinsey, actually inspired me to do this blog post. They were talking about flying cars and what key challenges there are. They say that till vehicles fly autonomously, it could take a decade or more because of technology issues, regulatory concerns, and the need to gain public acceptance. Until autonomous flight of hundreds or thousands of vehicles above cities across the globe becomes a reality, the industry must recruit, train, and deploy thousands of pilots.

So, which skills will you upgrade? Ready to become a drone pilot or an Ethics Advisor? Where do you see yourself in the future?

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