Within the automotive sector, composites companies should also keep an eye on shared mobility, where users access cars on an as-needed basis. While ridesharing through companies such as Uber and Lyft are beginning to boom, other shared mobility models will continue to develop, said Dale Brosius, chief commercialization officer of IACMI—The Composites Institute and moderator of the ground transportation session. “The average privately owned vehicle is used about 4% of any 24-hour period,” he said. “The rest of the time it just sits.” Brosius noted that this provides additional opportunities for sharing, as owners increasingly offer their private vehicles for use by others.

Another transportation megatrend on the horizon is urban air mobility (UAM). As more people continue to migrate to cities and populations grow, urban air mobility (UAM) has generated buzz for its ability to alleviate congestion and efficiently transport people and cargo. At the CAMX featured session, “Urban Air Mobility – City Infrastructure Design and the Promise of Composites,” Michael Dyment of NEXA Capital Partners shared an overview of UAM and its potential for the composites industry.

The market size for urban air mobility is close to $2 trillion, said Dyment, whose firm conducted an economic study examining the potential for UAM. “There are over 200 companies or projects today designing vehicles,” he said. “They are heavily oriented toward composites because they need to be very lightweight, super strong and capable of performing in really tough conditions.”

Whether on the ground or in the air, the transportation market will be impacted by even larger trends. “To set the stage for where the [composites] market is going in terms of changes in the transportation industry, we have to frame it all in the new paradigm of mobility, autonomy and electrification,” said Brosius.