Autonomous vehicles: from urban technology to inclusive, sustainable mobility for all?

The autonomous vehicle is a singular object. In 2017, French prime minister Édouard Philippe described it as “one of those amazing, crazy dreams”, which has existed since the automobile was first created. Over the years, this type of vehicle has become more divisive. Its detractors denounce a technological fad and harmful innovation at odds with citizens’ environmental aspirations.

On the other hand, its champions present it as the vector to revolutionise mobility with a solution that is safer, more efficient, sustainable and, above all, inclusive. Given all these questions and the transformations taking place, the autonomous vehicle has made a space for itself on the agenda of company directors and political decision-makers over the last 5 years.

However, instead of focusing on inclusivity and sustainability, the autonomous vehicle has mainly been looked at from a technology perspective, based on a kind of technological fatalism (techno push) and predominantly urban usages.

This is largely because it has been championed by American digital giants, which have transformed the autonomous vehicle from a research topic into a commercial one. Their efforts have shaped the collective imagination. They have made it a luxury object for urban populations, far removed from the promises of accessibility, inclusivity and sustainability often highlighted in Europe to justify investment.

« MACIF wants to actively participate in the emergence of the autonomous vehicle. We need to work together to foster more sustainable mobility and offer new mobility solutions to those without access to transport, particularly in peri-urban and rural areas. »

Jean-Philippe Dogneton,
Director General, MACIF

To move beyond technological fatalism and away from an essentially urban conception of this technology, in 2020, MACIF set up a Community of Interest focused on the autonomous vehicle within Movin’On.

Based on a forward-looking—pre-competition—open innovation approach, this Community of Interest brings together 12 companies: a group of insurers (Macif, Maif, BNP Paribas Cardif and Groupama), members of the Movin’On LAB interested in the topic (Michelin, Kantar, Orange, Faurecia, Microsoft, Vinci, and SNCF), and Deloitte as an Exclusive Knowledge Partner.

This Community bases its work on a shared belief in: