“Everything in life is somewhere else,
and you get there in a car”
— E.B. White
Advanced mobility is the term for increased mobility through technology, with promoting health and well-being as the goal. With advanced mobility, the mobility of an individual can be increased, for example through using a specialised vehicle, but transport and infrastructure also mobilise, for example through the use of smart (shared) cars or drones..
Applications & benefits
There are different types of devices that can improve the mobility of an individual. Think of a smart wheelchair or mobility scooter that make the elderly, sick, or handicapped more independent. These personal mobility devices contribute to the autonomy of the individual and stimulate taking part in society, which can greatly decrease healthcare expenses . It will be a while before fully self-driving cars are the new norm, but cars are taking over more tasks that used to be the driver’s responsibility . Connected cars have an internet connection which can be used to collect and share data within and between cars. Smart cars can detect drowsiness, stress, or even heart problems. This means cars contribute both to the health of the driver and to a safer road use [3-5]. This also saves on healthcare expenses [6,7]. Examples of well-known car makes that play into this are Audi with the Audi Fit Driver concept, Mercedes with Motion Seating, and the Nvidia Co-Pilot [8-10]. Finally, advanced mobility also exists in transport and infrastructure. In the United States, for example, well-known ride share companies Uber and Lyft have set up their own care network, aiming to make patient transport easier . Drones also play an important part in increasing mobility. Although the use of drones for home delivery is a while away, they are already used to bring medical aids to difficult-to-reach areas . In several African countries, drones are used to transport blood and vaccines . In Switzerland drones have been used for a while to transport blood samples, and the Netherlands and Belgium are starting to do the same [14, 15]. In the United States the first ever drone transport of an organ for transplantation took place in 2019 , and a hospital has started to transport medical samples and blood samples via drone .
The market for advanced mobility is booming and more and more people own a personal vehicle . In 2018, 16.3 million connected cars were sold, and it is predicted that this number will increase to 84.2 million units by 2025 [19, 20]. The world wide market value of connected cars is estimated to increase similarly, from $42,1 billion in 2015 to $122,51 billion in 2023 . The market for self-driving cars is also estimated to grow, from $54,2 billion in 2019 to over $556 billion in 2026 . The market for systems in the car that monitor the health of the user will grow 67% annually between 2018 and 2026, to $6,7 billion . The sales of personal mobility devices will also increase until 2025 . With the more extensive uses for drones, their market value will also increase. The expectation is an increase of over $88 million in 2018 to almost $400 million in 2025 .
Growing connectivity and improved data infrastructure
Changing healthcare needs
Increasing pressure on the healthcare system
Lack of awareness and reluctance among potential users
High costs (development, purchase, and maintenance)
Immaturity of the application
There is still too much ignorance about the market among potential clients, and bigger investments are needed to reinforce the trend. Despite this, the demand for advanced mobility is increasing. The growing connectivity, the reliability of it, and the arrival of 5G are very important for the development of the trend. A reliable network ensures systems can be linked and the trend can be implemented on a larger scale.
During the corona crisis, drones were used in the Netherlands to monitor crowds and alert people about the preventative measures via speaker . In difficult-to-reach areas in Africa, drones are used to transport corona tests quickly .
Advanced mobility has a large impact on the individual, society and healthcare in general. People are independent longer with a mobility scooter or wheelchair, cars can monitor and safeguard the health of the driver, and drones can bring medical aids to difficult-to-reach areas faster. Because advanced mobility allows people to be independent for longer, can function as an extension of the human body, and has logistical value, advanced mobility stimulates the movement towards the empowered patient, the bionic human, and autonomous systems.
- Cowen, R.E., et al., Recent trends in assistive technology for mobility. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation, 2012. 9(20).
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