It's so good to be back. It's been eight months since we last brought you Shift. Eight long months in a very long year.
But as 2020 fades into history, we're left with hope. From a societal perspective, hope comes from watching the world's scientists hunker down and, with unprecedented speed, produce vaccines that should help restore a sense of normalcy.
Hope also comes from seeing this industry regroup and keep innovating, as you'll read in this issue. To borrow from the movie Apollo 13, one could argue 2020 has been mobility's finest hour.
Consider some of the headlines we saw.
With road tests paused amid stay-at-home orders and concerns about disease transmission, autonomous vehicle companies, among them Cruise and Pony.ai, went to work delivering groceries. Driverless Beep shuttles transported COVID-19 tests in Florida. E-scooter company Spin and e-bike nonprofit MoGo helped essential workers in Detroit get to work. And Israeli startup Adasky adapted its thermal imaging cameras — normally used in driver-assist systems — to detect elevated body temperatures in crowded places.
At a Shift virtual event this month, Brian Goldstine, president of mobility solutions and fleet management at Bridgestone Americas, predicted that a year from now, "we're going to be marveling at what has come out of this very, very challenging time for all of us."
"We're going to be talking about how the macro trends of [connected, autonomous, shared, electrified transportation] are still progressing and actually accelerating, and we will be seeing new disruptive solutions and innovations that are coming from it."
At the same event, Randy Miller, EY's global advanced manufacturing and mobility leader, said while the course of the pandemic remains a "wild card," the industry should begin coming back next year and hit pre-COVID sales numbers by 2023. "We're seeing demand recover in most of the key markets, which is a positive sign, and we're seeing resuming investments to cater to that rising demand," Miller said.
Mobility hit a crossroads this year, but from all indications, we're far from the end of this journey.
Next stop: CES. Make plans now to join us Jan. 14 for our virtual event Shift CES: The Future of Mobility. For more details, see "In the Loop" on Page 19 of this issue, or visit autonews.com/shiftces.