Cross-sector collaboration is essential for developing the technology of future mobility, says Renault’s Vice President for Automotive Prospective.
Remi Bastien is Vice President for Automotive Prospective at Groupe Renault, reporting to the company’s EVP Engineering. He is also a member of the FISITA Executive Board, and FISITA Corporate Member Leader for Europe.
Since joining Renault in 1982, Remi has had responsibility for various aspects of powertrain engineering relating to environment, performance and electronics, and has held a number of senior cross-functional roles. He became Vice President for Research and Innovation for Renault Group in 2009, and was Global Director for Autonomous Driving for the Renault Nissan Alliance in 2015-2016.
Remi chairs French cooperative cluster NEXT MOVE, where he is also program director for power electronics for the French automotive industry.
Here, he discusses the key trends shaping mobility in Europe, the opportunities and challenges that these trends present, and how FISITA can help members to develop exciting and viable future mobility solutions.
What is your role at FISITA?
I am FISITA Corporate Member Leader for Europe, and a FISITA Executive Board Member – Delegate General & Treasurer.
My role at FISITA is to coordinate dialogue among the European Corporate Members and to increase membership. The future of our industry is increasingly linked to related sectors of the economy such as energy, infrastructure, telecommunications, new technologies, and insurance, and these are increasingly important for the future of mobility. As we look to bridge the gap between these sectors, we are working closely with sector stakeholders and inviting relevant organisations into FISITA membership.
The automotive industry needs cross-sector relations, so I will be working to accelerate this movement, and to overcome its biggest challenges around environment, road safety, affordability, and inclusive mobility.
What have you identified as the key mobility trends in Europe?
Perhaps the most noticeable trend is the switch from a society organized around the automobile, that framed the second part of the 20th century, to a society that is more respectful of the environment and people’s quality of life. In line with this, we are seeing the emergence of new technologies and innovative business models. This includes everything from active mobility - that is, walking and cycling - to vehicle sharing and micromobility, and eventually robotaxis and even flying robotaxis.
We will see an application of Darwinism that will eliminate the weak ideas and promote the most viable solutions. We can expect the next two decades to be a very exciting period that will cultivate the best forms of responsible mobility.
What are the challenges that these trends present?
On the societal side, there are five main challenges that we at FISITA refer to as the five zeros.
First, zero impact on the environment, namely reducing the automotive industry’s impact on air quality, raw materials, and natural resources. Second, zero waste – that is, minimizing the energy, city space, and time wasted by congestion. That ties into the next one, zero fatalities, which involves all mobility stakeholders focusing their efforts on making the streets safer for everyone. The last two are more focused on the individual: zero stress, which calls for an improvement of vehicle occupant health and wellbeing, and the fifth, zero left out, which refers to inclusive mobility.
These five challenges will guide the industry's technological solutions. A consequence of this will be that the legacy industries including automotive will have to drastically change their businesses, processes, and skills. A key factor will be understanding the depth of use cases and associated needs to identify the best way to use advanced technologies, with the industry responding to market requirements, rather than relying on pushing technology to market. Here, too, we will see automotive industry Darwinism.
And what opportunities do these trends offer?
The challenges create opportunities for the creative and the entrepreneurial. I believe that energy will be pivotal to success. All technologically viable solutions will offer zero carbon energy mobility, but the key to success will be their economic viability. Success will also hinge on end-to-end ease of use for everyone. And success will also come from closer cross-sector collaboration, with public-private partnerships, and collaboration between all relevant industrial sectors. We have a fantastic opportunity, but its potential can only be achieved through collaboration.
What does all this mean for engineers developing the technology of mobility?
The “FISITA Engineer 2030” paper clearly describes the skills that will be required in 2030. In addition to solid knowledge in thermodynamic energy, system engineering, or other scientific specialisations, engineers will need to welcome open innovation. They will need also to develop their capacity to cooperate with stakeholders from many different industries to build complex and highly competitive projects.
Autonomous driving underlines the challenge of commercialisation, and this is a good example where engineers from safety, artificial intelligence, connectivity, electronics, infrastructure, edge computing, and other disciplines need to collaborate to deliver viable solutions.
How can FISITA membership help engineers develop these solutions?
As I have emphasised, collaboration will be the key to success. FISITA is a unique forum for all stakeholders to collaborate and build the solid relationships required to deliver future mobility solutions. The global reach of FISITA provides powerful access to a world of mobility challenges and solutions. The organisation’s various specialist initiatives, New Technology Clusters, and Member Forums also cultivate knowledge sharing that will be invaluable to all FISITA members. And FISITA has valuable relationships with member organisations that represent other future mobility stakeholders, offering another opportunity for cross-sector collaboration.
What would you say to companies interested in learning more about FISITA membership?
Mobility is being defined by drastic technological, societal, and geopolitical change. This high level of uncertainty requires better knowledge exchange and deeper industrial partnerships and cross-sector collaboration. This will be a very exciting time for any engineers who aim to build a better world for future generations.
I urge anyone considering FISITA membership to contact me or my FISITA colleague, Kelly Williams to find out how the organisation can help their company secure its place at the heart of future mobility.