Whiteboard with design ideas in red and design models

Collective ideas to drive the future of automated mobilities

Author  Kathy Nickels
Date 18 December 2023

What could our mobilities futures really be like if we get it right? And how can we make them happen, and continue to happen, beyond our research interventions?

Participants at the Future Automated Mobilities research workshop used design futures workshop processes, ethnographic research findings and future-focused prompts to collectively respond to these questions with a focus on creating realistic and plausible visions of future automated mobilities.

They examined how AI-driven services and automated mobility technology can become part of solutions that pivot around social and planetary desires, needs and must-do’s.

Design researcher Hannah Korsmeyer worked with ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) researchers Sarah Pink, Chief Investigator and Vaike Fors, Partner Investigator from Halmstad University, in collaboration with Thao Phan, Jeni Lee and Emma Quilty from Monash University to deliver in-person and online workshops.

Professor Sarah Pink said “it was really inspiring to see how participants envisioned future automated mobility systems that took the needs of people seriously, foregrounded safety and inclusivity, and were more integrated with the environment and the animal species we share it with.”

Participants also suggested the idea of “slow mobility”, a more careful approach to how we plan, design and move in the future – Professors Pink and Fors are planning to follow up in 2024.

‘Slow mobility’ pushes mobility innovation beyond solely making time- and cost-efficient seamless transportation solutions; it takes into account that people feel safe to move in ways that they recognise and that is aligned with how social life is played out and how safety has been learnt across generations in different contexts.

Workshop participant creating a model
Participants at the Future Automated Mobilities research workshop using design futures workshop processes.

Professor Fors, an expert in visual, sensory and design ethnography and the study of how people learn to live with new and emerging technologies co-delivered the workshops during her recent visit to Australia.

“The workshops really proved the strength of design ethnography in the way this approach nudged the discussions into how safety and inclusivity feels like and how future mobility benefits from acknowledging how these feelings are embedded in local values, knowing and routines,” said Professor Fors.

The workshop was inspired by the sentiment and commitment towards the values of care, safety, trust and inclusivity which emerged from the ADM+S Future Automated Mobilities symposium held at the end of 2022.

The workshops have been recorded using documentary filmmaking and design documentation methods, the materials from this workshop will be collated to form the basis for future publications. The publication outcomes will acknowledge the contributions of all workshop participants who wish to be named, and will be presented in industry accessible formats, including a short documentary, and in academic publications.