The Mobility Diaries: Connecting the Milestones of Innovation Leading to ACES
by Sven Beiker, paperback, 254 pages, English, ISBN 978-1468604092, published Sep 2022

With well over 25 years of experience in the automotive industry, having lived in mobility strongholds such as Munich, Detroit, Silicon Valley, Sven Beiker set out to write down his own perspective on future trends for the industry covering autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification, and shared mobility.

This book is an experiment and set up like a travel diary or, to be more precise, a mobility diary. He wrote the chapters as time allowed, mostly when traveling, to explain his own mobility footprint based on what he just observed. He describes trips that took him to places that are relevant to mobility in general or to his own journey, and he reveals connections between different milestones of mobility.

As a personal diary, this book is his take on 50 years of mobility innovation, passion, and history, interwoven with his own story of passion for and contribution to the field. It covers in particular what he experienced as “the golden years,” 1978–2018—from the 1970s oil crisis through ups and downs to the dawn of the new mobility era in the 2010s as well as his personal journey from early tinkering with vehicles to product development in the German automotive industry and finally mobility innovation in Silicon Valley.

This book is not a complete history of the automobile, which a lot has already been written about. Instead, the author is sharing his own recollection of and perspective on how we ended up talking so much about autonomous, connected, electric, and shared mobility—often glorified as “ACES”—because, in his experience, we usually do not look at or connect the underlying themes that have led us there.

This is not a typical textbook, neither for engineers or economists, nor for historians or humanists. The author does however hope that readers will find interest in what he has to say and that they will appreciate following his trains of thoughts that might be related to their own field’s association to cars and mobility. What he points out might prompt their own recollection of how we got from a vehicle-centric perspective that had been centerstage for the longest time to now raving about the mobility ecosystem.

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