BARCELONA, Spain--If you think your daily commute to work is already fraught with traffic, consider this: Today there are approximately 1 billion cars and 7 billion people in the world. By mid-century those numbers will grow to 9 billion people with 4 billion cars on the road--often at the same time. The result is a phenomenon called "global gridlock" in which roads become so congested that basic services such as food delivery, commerce and even healthcare are compromised.
But this bleak picture of the future can be averted, if the wireless industry collaborates with the automotive industry to figure out a solution. Speaking at the Mobile World Congress evening keynote session, Bill Ford, Jr., the great-grandson of legendary visionary Henry Ford and the executive chairman of Ford Motor Co., called upon the wireless industry to work with automakers to rethink urban transportation.
Ford painted a picture of a future of what he called "urban mobility" in which transportation will be dramatically altered and all cars will be wireless connected to each other and to a network. This network will track all vehicles and automatically instruct cars to make certain maneuvers such as change lanes, park or exit the highway. "Urban Mobility of the future will require changes in physical transportation," Ford said.
But Ford acknowledged that this vision of the future is fraught with issues, including privacy. However, he also said that he believes that unless the two industries work together to find a solution, global gridlock could one day become a human rights issue.
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