2019 seems to be the year that Transportation and Technology hits mainstream news as we have seen the unveiling of ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zones), forcing the hand of vehicle buyers to a more battery powered future. This evolution of mobility is part of the discussion by Costain but the benefits can only be realised through the joint efforts of the public, energy, transport and private sector working towards a shared vision for future mobility with citizen experience at its core.
Autonomous driving is also picking up pace, this month we feature articles on how two women help shaping the driverless car revolution at Israeli start-up Innoviz, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) are paving the way for driverless cars and Bestmile discuss if they actually work? Are they safe? When will they arrive? What will be the impact?
This edition's cover story is from Trafi who discuss the future tasks of the industries to connect an evolving market and changing consumer demands with new innovation, fostering a holistic take on different mobility systems. In particular they focus on the Operating System For Mobility and give their insight and ideas.
One thing for sure is that fast connectivity will be required for the amount of data flying around with autonomous vehicles and the roll out of 5G across major European cities such as Barcelona, is featured in our article by Shotl.
Birmingham is another European City to start rolling out 5G and you can feel the benefit of this when you visit the TaaS Technology Event on the 9th and 10th July at the National Motorcycle Museum. TaaS Technology will cover Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) and Future Mobility, enabling the strong over-lap between the two conferences to allow attendees and exhibitors to be exposed to relevant supply chains, customer and supplier based, saving you time and money from attending separate events. The TaaS Technology event is put together by leading industry experts, partners include Coventry University and Warwick University, and bringing international experts for two days of in-depth discussions and exhibits focused on the opportunities and challenges of a mobility future that leverages CAVs, EVs, Energy, Infrastructure and TaaS technologies.
Kandi Technologies Group, Inc., announced that Didi Chuxing Technology Co.’s primary auto solutions platform, Xiaoju Auto Leasing Division, and Kandi Electric Vehicles Group Co., Ltd. (a joint venture by Kandi Vehicles and Geely Group, Ltd. including its affiliates), a well-known Chinese pure electric vehicle manufacturing enterprise, took the next step in their collaboration by establishing a strategic partnership in order to take advantage of shared resources and opportunities. As a result of a series of key discussions, the JV Company and Didi Chuxing signed a major customer cooperative framework contract.
According to the Framework Contract, Didi Chuxing will provide existing leasing-related platform resources to the JV Company for the Online Ride-Sharing Service Alliance's 300,000 government-accredited EVs within five years. By showcasing Kandi's leasing EV models to potential customers, Didi Chuxing's customers will become more familiar with the products and services involved in facilitating the EV leasing partnership between Didi Chuxing and the JV Company.
The JV Company and the Online Ride-Sharing Service Alliance are in charge of supplying government-accredited EVs to Didi Chuxing. In return, Didi Chuxing will dedicate its resources, including the use its corporate strategies to further promote and publicise the Online Ride-Sharing Service Alliance. The specific cooperative details for implementing in each city will be memorialised in separate agreements.
Mr. Hu Xiaoming, Chairman of Kandi Electric Vehicle Group, commented, “With the rapid expansion of Internet use in recent years, the urban public transportation solution has progressed from a self-driving timeshare car rental service to an online ride-hailing service, which has experienced tremendous growth. Starting in 2019, Kandi has shifted its focus to the development of providing government-accredited EVs. So far, we have secured 300,000 government-accredited EVs within five years for the Online Ride-Sharing Service Alliance, including the related agreements with Cao Cao Zhuan Che and China Resources (Zhejiang).”
“Now adding this partnership with China's largest mobile transportation platform, Didi Chuxing, will certainly help the Online Ride-Sharing Service Alliance grow quickly and play a crucial role in Kandi's robust development in China's EV market,” he added.
Affectiva, a provider of Emotion AI and the pioneer of Human Perception AI, announced that it has closed $26 million in funding.
The round, led by Aptiv PLC, as well as Trend Forward Capital, Motley Fool Ventures and CAC, brings the total invested in Affectiva to $53 million.The funding will enable Affectiva to evolve, accelerate and scale its perceptive technology in the automotive industry, as well as other areas such as conversational interfaces, social robotics and market research.
Affectiva created and defined the category of Emotion AI, which now encompasses a rich ecosystem of players and is set to become a multi-billion dollar industry. Building on its proven expertise in deep learning, computer vision and speech science, combined with its massive amounts of real-world data, Affectiva's AI is pioneering the next frontier of artificial intelligence: Human Perception AI, software that can understand all things human. Human Perception AI will detect nuanced emotions as well as complex cognitive states, activities, interactions and objects people use.
“Since day one, we've been on a mission to humanise technology,” said Dr. Rana el Kaliouby, Co-Founder and CEO of Affectiva. “We're seeing significant demand from the automotive industry in particular, as OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers concentrate on creating safer, more comfortable experiences for drivers and passengers. As our technology has evolved to detect more than just emotions, the automotive industry will be able to build intelligent vehicles that can better adapt and relate to the needs of people inside of them.
”Affectiva will use its latest round of funding to fuel deployment of its Human Perception AI in production vehicles. Already, leading OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, ridesharing providers, fleet management companies and developers of autonomous vehicles are working with Affectiva's Automotive AI solution to understand drivers' and passengers' states and moods.
“We are working closely with Affectiva to commercialize advanced sensing solutions that enhance perception systems inside the vehicle,” said David Paja, Aptiv's Senior Vice President and President of Advanced Safety & User Experience. “Aptiv has a rich history of bringing leading vehicle safety solutions to market, and together with Affectiva, we are using a powerful combination of Human Perception AI and predictive analytics, running on Aptiv's high-speed computing platforms, to dramatically improve safety, attention management and the overall ride experience.”
“Human Perception AI will unlock a deep understanding of the human experience in vehicles and other facets of our everyday lives,” Dr. el Kaliouby continued. “Particularly for conversational interfaces, social robots and smart devices, Human Perception AI will be key in making interactions between people and AI more effective, relational and productive.
Ultimately, that level of understanding will also foster mutual trust between people and AI, which is crucial as AI takes on more roles in society. Affectiva is proud to be pioneering a new AI category that will strengthen and facilitate that trust.”
Solid Power is teaming up with Ford Motor Company to develop all solid-state batteries (ASSB) for next-generation electric vehicles.
Solid-state batteries offer improved energy and safety as compared to current industry-standard lithium-ion batteries.
The announced partnership will focus on further developing ASSBs toward automotive requirements. This partnership will heavily leverage Solid Power's first fully automated, roll-to-roll production facility, which is anticipated to be fully operational in Q2 2019.
This follows Solid Power's announcement in September of 2018 that it closed $20 million in a Series A investment round. Ford Motor Company participated in a subsequent closing of that round, which included investors Volta Energy Technologies, Hyundai CRADLE, Samsung Venture Investment Corp., Sanoh Industrial Co., Solvay Ventures, and A123 Systems. In December of 2017, Solid Power announced its partnership with the BMW Group to jointly develop Solid Power's solid-state batteries for electric vehicle applications and to tailor Solid Power's technology toward automotive requirements for high-performance electric vehicles.
“Solid-state battery technology has the potential to help us deliver electric vehicles that are even safer and more capable,” said Ken Washington, Vice President, Research and Advanced Engineering, and Chief Technology Officer, Ford Motor Company. “Our involvement with Solid Power enables us to further collaborate in an important emerging technology that could truly transform the design and integration of smart electric vehicles into tomorrow's smart world.”
Solid Power's Co-Founder and CEO Doug Campbell said, “Companies like Ford are part of the movement that is changing the automotive industry and we are honoured to be working together.”
“ASSBs have the potential to provide greater energy, which translates to greater run-time per charge or in the case of an electric vehicle, greater range from a fully charged battery. By combining state-of-the-art cathodes with metallic lithium anodes, ASSBs can achieve up to a 50% increase in cell level energy vs. current lithium-ion cells while even greater energy improvements are possible with more advanced cathodes, which is an additional area of development for Solid Power,” he added.
As a result of this improved energy potential, Campbell stated that ASSBs are receiving strong interest from a wide array of markets beyond transportation including aerospace, medical devices, and defense among several others.
An additional benefit of Solid Power's ASSBs is improved safety as compared to lithium-ion batteries due to the elimination of flammable liquid electrolyte. Thus there is potential for reducing system-level cost by reducing reliance on engineering solutions typically deployed in lithium-ion systems to assure safe operation of the battery pack.
Minimisation of safety features and simplified thermal management lead to cost savings while significant compatibility with automated, industry-standard, roll-to-roll production helps increase manufacturability.
CMBlu Energy AG and MANN+HUMMEL GmbH have signed an agreement for the joint development and industrialisation of energy converters for organic redox flow batteries.
The aim of both partners is to support electric mobility through the development of the charging infrastructure and offer the energy sector a sustainable and highly cost-efficient storage technology for a successful energy transition.
The business idea for redox flow batteries with organic electrolytes derived from lignin (‘Organic Flow') was already conceived in 2011 and since 2014, CMBlu has carried out intensive research and development. These batteries essentially consist of two tanks of liquid electrolyte and an energy converter, which consists of a large number of adjacent rows of cells and is therefore also referred to as a battery stack. The liquids are pumped through the battery stacks and is charged or discharged as required.
The technology developed by CMBlu has now reached the prototype stage. The further development and industrialisation of the battery stack is regulated in the long-term cooperation agreement with MANN+HUMMEL. For this purpose MANN+HUMMEL has created a spin-off named i2M GmbH (innovation-to-market), which is dedicated to the development and commercialisation of innovative technologies.
In the next step MANN+HUMMEL will build a complete production line in an European plant. CMBlu will realise special pilot projects with reference customers in the next two years. Starting in 2021, CMBlu plans to market the first commercial systems.
Similar to the principle of conventional redox flow batteries, CMBlu's Organic Flow Batteries store electrical energy in aqueous solutions of organic chemical compounds derived from lignin that are pumped through the energy converter, i.e. battery stack. The special feature of the flow batteries is that the capacity and electrical output can be scaled independently.
The number of stacks defines the output of the batteries. A higher number of stacks multiplies the output. The capacity of the battery is only limited by the size of the tanks. This allows flexible customisation to take into account the respective application area. For example, solar power can be stored for several hours and then fed into the grid at night.In order to achieve cost-effective mass production, the most important components in the stack were adjusted to the organic electrolyte. In this process, almost the entire value chain for the stacks can be supplied locally. There is no dependency on imports from other countries. In addition, the battery stacks do not require rare-earth metals or heavy metals. The aqueous electrolytes in the system are not combustible or explosive and can be used safely.
Organic Flow Batteries are suitable for numerous application areas in the power grid such as the intermediate storage of power from renewable energy generation or in connection with the balancing of demand peaks in industrial companies. An additional application area is the charging infrastructure required for electric mobility.
The batteries enable a buffer storage to relieve power grids which do not have to be upgraded for additional loads. It enables simultaneous fast charging of electric vehicles. Ultimately, a decentralised charging network for electric vehicles will only be possible in connection with a high performance and scalable energy storage system.
Electrification will rapidly increase the need for batteries. A new solution by Nordic clean energy company Fortum makes over 80% of the electric vehicle (EV) battery recyclable, returns the scarce metals back into circulation and resolves the sustainability gap by reducing the need to mine cobalt, nickel, and other scarce metals.
“There are very few working, economically viable technologies for recycling the majority of materials in lithium-ion batteries. We saw a challenge that was not yet solved and developed a scalable recycling solution for all industries using batteries,” said Kalle Saarimaa, Vice President, Fortum Recycling and Waste.
Fortum achieves the recycling rate of over 80% with a low-CO2 hydrometallurgical recycling process. The current recycling rate for batteries is approximately 50%. The batteries are first made safe for mechanical treatment, with plastics, aluminium and copper separated and directed to their own recycling processes.
The hydrometallurgical recovery process allows cobalt, manganese and nickel and lithium to be recovered from the battery and delivered to battery manufacturers to be reused in producing new batteries. This technology was developed by Finnish growth company Crisolteq. Crisolteq has a hydrometallurgical recycling facility in Harjavalta, Finland, that is already able to operate on an industrial scale.
“Circular economy in its strictest sense means recycling an element to its original function or purpose. When we discuss the recycling of lithium-ion batteries, the ultimate aim is for the majority of the battery's components to be recycled to new batteries,” Saarimaa concluded.
Fortum is also piloting so-called “second-life” applications for batteries where the EV batteries are used in stationary energy storages after they are no longer fit for their original purpose.
According to a forecast by the International Energy Agency, the number of electric vehicles on the world's roads will increase from 3 million to 125 million by 2030. In 2015 the global lithium-ion battery recycling market was worth about €1.7 million ($1.9million), but it is expected to boom in the coming years to more than €20 billion ($22.4 billion).
TransPower, an advanced clean transportation technology company, and Meritor, Inc., a leading manufacturer of axles and brake systems and investor in TransPower, announced the completion of two multi-year projects for the development, testing and evaluation of advanced, zero-emission electric yard tractors and Class 8 trucks.
The projects were supported with grants from the California Energy Commission under its Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technologies Program, which promotes new vehicle technologies that reduce petroleum consumption and production of harmful vehicle emissions.
“The projects enabled through these grants met the goals of demonstrating the benefits of adapting electric propulsion technology to large vehicles and stimulating commercial adoption,” said Mike Simon, Founder and CEO, TransPower.
The two recently completed projects were initiated simultaneously in mid-2015 following the competitive award of $6 million to TransPower for the purposes of improving and demonstrating its electric vehicle technologies that use permanent magnet motors, large battery packs and advanced controls to power heavy vehicles. Under these two projects, TransPower developed a new version of its electric yard tractor drive system customised for heavy-duty yard tractors. In addition, TransPower improved a variant of its electric drive system used in on-road Class 8 trucks.
The electric yard tractors built under the recently concluded demonstration projects are operating at Dole Fresh Fruit's terminal at the Port of San Diego; the IKEA Distribution Centre in Tejon; Grimmway Farms and Harris Ranch in the San Joaquin Valley; and Blue Diamond Almonds and Raley's in Sacramento. These tractors have accumulated more than 15,000 hours of in-service use, most within the past year, clearly validating their ability to handle demanding cargo handling in a wide variety of duty cycles.
The two electric trucks are also being operated at the Port of San Diego. Building on the successes of these two projects, TransPower has received grants and contracts to convert 100 additional yard tractors and trucks to electric drive for use in California, and is ramping up commercial manufacturing of electric drive kits for installation into yard tractors at assembly lines operated by established yard tractor manufacturers.
Commercial sales of TransPower components are expected to be accelerated by combining these products with Meritor's eAxle, a new propulsion concept integrating the main drive motor into the axle carrier housing. Meritor's strategic investment in TransPower, which was increased earlier this month, is intended to accelerate development and sale of this entire family of electric drive products.
“By continuing to advance electrification technology through this investment, we are positioning Meritor to be a major player in this emerging industry segment,” said Chris Villavarayan, senior vice president and president, Global Truck for Meritor. “We believe the solutions we are developing will be preferred by commercial vehicle manufacturers around the world.”
Women are still under-represented in the automotive industry. Yet two women help shaping the driverless car revolution at Israeli start-up Innoviz. Their career also sheds a light on the unusual relationship between the military and the free market in Israel.
When you ask Ety Zohar what fascinates her about automated driving, she thinks back to her childhood and the science fiction books she used to binge on. “It’s like all the books I read as a child are suddenly being brought to life. It’s a revolution,” she says. A revolution that Zohar finds herself right in the middle of – because she is actively shaping it.
Ety Zohar works as senior project manager at Innoviz, an Israeli start-up company that is developing LiDAR sensors – a technology considered crucial for autonomous driving to prevail. Innoviz has won a CES 2018 innovation award and plans to introduce its LiDAR technology in 2019. Zohar, who holds a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, is managing the project while her colleague Smadar David, 30, is responsible for designing the sensor. The story of these two women is remarkable in two ways: First, because it puts the spotlight on the specifics that have made Israel’s start-up scene boom. Second, because Zohar and David are working in leading positions in a male-dominated industry where females are traditionally under-represented.
ISRAEL – A HOTBED FOR TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION
Mobileye, Argus CyberSecurity, Nexar, Waze, Gett – the list of successful Israeli start-ups is long, with many of them specializing in connected and automated driving. Investors are pouring billions of dollars into the market, the most famous example being Mobileye, acquired by Intel for 15 billion U.S. dollars. So, how has this relatively small country become such a hotbed for technological innovation?
The InnovizPro was the company's first series production LiDAR. (Photo: Innoviz)
As the story of Innoviz shows, a key reason is Israel’s military service – mandatory for men and women alike. It appears that this stint in the military often paves the way for entrepreneurial careers in high-technology fields. Such seamless transitions between the military and the free market are nothing unusual. In the case of Innoviz, its four founders all served in the same elite technological unit of the Intelligence Corps of the Israel Defense Forces. In early 2016, they decided to found their own company: Innoviz. They also recruited most of the original staff from the same military unit.
FROM THE MILITARY INTO BUSINESS
Among them were both Smadar David and Ety Zohar. David had completed a masters’s degree in Mechanical Engineering before joining the army for 6 years. As one might expect from a former intelligence unit member, she remains a bit secretive about her role back then: “I handled a lot of very delicate projects. I was responsible for precise optomechanical developments.” Eager for a new challenge, she joined Innoviz in 2016, and soon became responsible for forming a MEMS unit. MEMS, short for micro-electro-mechanical systems, is the underlying technology for sensors of all kinds that are installed in our cars and modern electronic devices like smartphones. “We quickly understood that we need to develop the technology ourselves.”
David’s team started out with her and another engineer, but has now grown to ten engineers, technicians and physicists. Likewise, Innoviz has grown from a dozen or so people at the beginning of 2016 to a predicted 200 employees by the end of 2018. Besides MEMS, there are several other units such as optics and computer vision. As project manager, it is Ety Zohar’s job to bring them all together. “All those projects need to be synchronized into one product. We are working with very agile development processes. The unit was a great school for this kind of development.” Innoviz is aiming to realize a fast-paced development process. “We started out with just a rough concept,” Smadar David recalls. “And six months later we sent our first prototype of a solid-state LiDAR to our customers.” David went on to lead the operation of the company’s LiDAR feature – and is now also responsible for designing InnovizOne, the LiDAR intended for automated vehicles, scheduled to be released next year.
The developmental efforts to design LiDAR sensors are enormous. (Photo: Fotolia)
According to David, her time in the military perfectly prepared her for her next role. She credits the collaborative work in her military unit for providing her with strong communication skills. “We had a lot of different disciplines, similar to Innoviz.” She also got used to working under strict timelines and high pressure. “We had a date that we had to meet no matter what. Failing was not an option.”
WOMEN IN AD: THE EXCEPTION RATHER THAN THE RULE
Both women have reached positions with enormous influence – which still makes them an exception among a large majority of male co-workers. Although the start-up culture made it easier for them to overcome the gender barriers that used to be prevalent in automotive and engineering jobs, they feel that full equality is still not within reach. “There has been a change of mentality, but it’s not as big as it should be,” says Zohar.
One factor that is certainly driving the change is the massive shortage of specialists throughout the autonomous driving industry. No company can afford to overlook skilled female experts. It also helps that in Israel, many females find themselves in leadership positions at a young age due to the military service.
But Smadar David thinks that ultimately, inequality is still rooted in early education. Parents still pass traditional norms to their children, sometimes unintentionally. “I was fortunate enough to have parents who urged me to pursue whatever I am drawn to. This gave me the sense that it’s okay to love physics and mathematics.” She remembers being the only girl in her science class at times. “I still didn’t feel weird about it. Hopefully more parents will give their children this freedom.” For her and her colleague Ety Zohar, this freedom ultimately led to a successful career, occupied with one of the most exciting tasks of our time: paving the autonomous driving revolution.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) are paving the way for driverless cars. 2025AD author Raven Brookes explores some of the exciting new features we can expect to find on their self-driving cars.
A driverless solution may be a big goal, but thousands of small solutions will make it happen. Brands are tackling one innovation at a time to bring self-driven cars to the market.
TAKE JAGUAR LAND ROVER
JLR is the UK’s largest automotive manufacturer. It's built around two iconic British car brands: the world's leading manufacturer of premium all-wheel-drive vehicles, Land Rover, and premier luxury sports saloon and sports car manufacturer, Jaguar. Both have taken big steps ahead in the race to autonomous driving over the last few years with several driverless key innovations.
In their own words, this innovation is continuous. This year alone, JLR will spend an estimated £4 billion on product creation and capital expenditure. This will help them ensure by 2020 that all new Jaguar Land Rover vehicles will offer the option of some level of electrification. It will also stand them in good stead for making a commercially viable driverless car.
Here are a few of the potential key ingredients of the final product.
JUST A HEADS UP
JLR has developed an intelligent system that projects the direction of travel onto the road ahead of self-driving vehicles, telling all other road users what it's going to do next.
The system, currently being trialled, will feature projections that will show when the vehicle is preparing to stop, pull away or turn. This trust-gaining move should help pedestrians and manual drivers feel safer when sharing the roads with driverless cars.
Pete Bennett, Future Mobility Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover: "The trials are about understanding how much information a self-driving vehicle should share with a pedestrian to gain their trust. Just like any new technology, humans have to learn to trust it, and when it comes to autonomous vehicles, pedestrians must have confidence they can cross the road safely. This pioneering research is forming the basis of ongoing development into how self-driving cars will interact with people in the future.”
NO MORE RED LIGHTS
According to the Telegraph, new research conducted by the comparison website confused.com, revealed British motorists who drive every day spend a fifth of their drive-time waiting at red lights. Solving what has been called the '150 year problem', JLR has developed new technology which uses Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2X) to connect cars to traffic lights. This is so drivers can avoid getting stuck at red, freeing up the flow of traffic, reducing both congestion and emissions in cities.
The technology, that is currently being trialled on a Jaguar F-Pace, works by communicating with the traffic light to determine how long the light will remain red. Then the Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory (GLOSA) technology tells the driver the speed to drive to avoid getting stuck at red lights. Eventually, the GLOSA will communicate directly with the engine in driverless vehicles, ensuring it drives at an appropriate speed without having to slow down.
Applied or not, this system will improve congestion and reduce the emissions created from harsh braking or accelerating as drivers race to beat, or react late, to traffic lights. This ultimately means cleaner air, and less risk of incidents.
DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS
Motion sickness is a big problem for passengers. And, when every person in the car is a passenger, nausea could become a problem.
But pioneering JLR motion sickness research has identified techniques to reduce effects by at least 60%. First, a complex algorithm calculates individual ‘wellness scores’ for the driver and passengers. Then, vehicle dynamics and cabin settings will automatically adapt to individuals’ needs and work together to prevent sickness.
RING AROUND THE CITY
JLR plan to make self-driving vehicles a reality within 10 years. This may seem like a tight deadline, but the trials have been promising.
In October 2018, a Range Rover Sport completed the first ever public self-driving journey, with a lap of one of the UK’s most challenging road layouts, the Coventry Ring Road. This was a part of the £20 million government-funded UK Autodrive project. The Sport proved it could easily handle the famously plentiful and difficult junctions, slip roads and lane changes – all autonomously and within the 40mph speed limit.
And it doesn't stop there. JLR says they are still pursuing their 2016 goal of developing cars to acquire 'driver-like reactions' therefore becoming more 'human'. The system is expected to adapt to traffic situations in a manner comparable to the natural driving behaviours of humans. Its aim is to further foster trust in driverless technology, only this time by ensuring that autonomous cars will not behave like robots.
While ten years may feel very far away, progress is rapid. And, as JLR are proving, every successful trial brings us closer to a driverless future.
Much of the attention paid to autonomous mobility has focused on the vehicles: Do they work? Are they safe? When will they arrive? What will be the impact?
Less attention has been paid to how these vehicles will work together to deliver services that will a) make traffic and air quality better and not worse; b) support rather than compete with existing modes of transit; and c) make all transportation more efficient.
Let’s look at six factors that need to be considered when rolling out autonomous mobility services in ways that will provide the maximum benefit for operators, cities, and travelers.
1. Think fleet, not vehicle.
Autonomous vehicles need to be able to work together as fleets in order for new mobility services to be efficient. Fleet mobility management is not just telematics and preventative maintenance. It is getting the right vehicles to the right travelers at the right time, every time. For example, if there are four vehicles near a person requesting a ride, how is it determined which vehicle will be assigned to the traveler. The closest? Well, the closest vehicle to the traveler may not offer the most efficient overall experience.
Determining the best option will depend on the directions the vehicles are traveling, traffic between the traveler and the vehicles, the side of the road the traveler is on, the capacity of the vehicle, the amount of battery power remaining in the vehicle, the locations of other travelers seeking pooled rides and more. It’s also a matter of distributing vehicles and services so that they aren’t all looking for the same riders in the same places at the same times. These are complex calculations that, along with machine learning, can help drive intelligent vehicle allocation that anticipates and meets demand based on historical data and real-time constraints.
2. Fleet mobility management must be vehicle-agnostic.
It is unrealistic to expect operators to standardize on a single brand of vehicle. Vehicle-agnostic fleet technology will be needed to make it easy for operators to use any vehicle brand or type. Most vehicle-makers are developing their own technology stacks independent of one another, which could complicate service delivery.
A 2018 study by AlixPartners identified 200-plus autonomous vehicles under development by the auto industry and technology companies with investments estimated at $255 billion. “Not everyone can be successful,” John Hoffecker, global vice chairman at AlixPartners told the Automotive Press Association. “We’re going to have a falling out of automakers and suppliers.” Service providers will not want to go down with the sinking ship of a failed vehicle company. They will need to have the option of using multiple vehicle brands.
3. The fleets will be hybrid for some time.
Autonomous mobility is not going to happen all at once. We’re already seeing autonomous shuttles on public streets, and robotaxis are likely to be next. But the rollouts will be gradual as technology matures and public acceptance grows. Managing fleets of human-driven and autonomous vehicles together introduces further complexity to making sure new services make transit better and faster. This will require mobility services management platforms to be able to communicate with both driver mobile apps and vehicle technology stacks and coordinate the activities of both transit modes.
With multiple vehicle brands and types offering human-driven and autonomous services using different technology stacks, what will be needed is a neutral way for service providers and cities to work together to solve the supply-demand challenge. One model to consider is something akin to air traffic control for vehicles. Like autos, aircraft are highly automated, and different brands use different onboard technologies, but they all plug into a neutral management system that safely and efficiently directs vehicles from multiple manufacturers to and from destinations.
4. Fleets need to work with public transit, not against it.
Where ridehailing services have worked independent of transit operators, public transit utilization has decreased, as it has across the board in the U.S. (down 2.9 percent in 2017). A first-of-its-kind University of California Davis study of ridehailing usage found that 49-61 percent of passengers used the service in place of public transit. A study of 1,000 ridehailing users in Boston found that 42 percent of the users used the services in place of public transit.
On the other hand, in Finland, the Whim app is used by multiple public and private transportation providers to provide a way to plan trips using multiple modes of transit through a single interface. Users enter their locations and destinations and can view different options with different levels of efficiency, privacy, and cost using ridesharing, car rental, bus, rail, bikes and more. Since introducing the app, the city of Helsinki estimates that private auto use has dipped by 50 percent, and that public transit utilization has jumped by 25 percent. Other cities and mobility providers are beginning to offer similar one-stop mobility apps. Similar apps are now appearing in other cities—Berlin’s SVG recently introduced Jelbi, an app that connects multiple independent transit modes.
5. Services have to be shared to be effective.
Replacing private human-driven ridehailing services with individual autonomous services will do little to reduce congestion. In fact, in many cities traffic has gotten worse since the advent of ridehailing services. A 2017 study of traffic in New York City found that from 2013-2017, a 15 percent increase in ridehailing trips led to a 59 percent increase in the number of vehicles on the streets and such as Uber and Lyft, are contributing to urban traffic woes, adding as many as 5.7 billion miles driven on U.S. city streets.
Pooling can reverse this trend. Researchers at the University of Texas used computer models of a 10 by 10 mile area around Austin and found that one shared vehicle could replace 11 single-occupancy vehicles with wait times from 20 seconds to five minutes.
To test this theory further, Bestmile data scientists studied taxi data from the city of Chicago and used the Bestmile platform’s ride matching and dispatching algorithms to model how a shared service could perform compared to the taxi service. Every day more than 2,700 taxis carry some 31,000 riders on average in the Windy City. The study found that 200 shared vehicles could do work of the entire city taxi fleet with an average excess ride time of six minutes, and a wait time of five minutes.
6. Cities need to be involved in the planning.
The true promise of new mobility services to reduce congestion and improve air quality, will only happen if the greater public good is at the forefront of city planning. A McKinsey report found that smart city technology has the potential to improve urban quality of life indicators by 10-30 percent. These are “numbers that translate into lives saved, reduced crime, shorter commutes, a lower health burden, and carbon emissions averted,” the report said. The contribution of mobility services to these figures are in the shorter commutes and lower carbon emissions. But the aggregated value will be realized when all of the technologies that make cities smarter can work together.
The ability for anyone, regardless of age, income, and location, to access affordable mobility is fundamental to the quality of life benefits we all seek. Ridehailing has whet our appetites for safe, convenient, affordable transit. But the private sector must work with the public sector in order to ensure that new services benefit all residents. If low-income residents or neighborhoods are left out of the picture, the cities of the future many imagine will not be realized. Shared services like micro-transit and autonomous shuttles can be used to extend services to areas with smaller on-demand vehicles, making it more cost-effective for riders and operators alike.
Risks and Rewards of New Mobility Services
Various predictions have been made about the impact of new mobility services on cities. Some say there will be chaos in the streets, while others present visions of fewer vehicles on roads, cleaner air and more open space on land that was previously dedicated to an auto-centric infrastructure. Most informed observers of the mobility industry believe in the latter scenario, but how fast and how smoothly that future arrives will depend on the factors listed here.
Once we have answered the basic questions about autonomous vehicles—are they safe, do they work, etc., the question of how new mobility services will make urban living better, not worse, must be addressed. Vehicles alone are not services. There is much to be considered when configuring mobility services at the kind of scale that is being envisioned. We have to raise our vision above the individual vehicle and think through how fleets of shared vehicles can work together, and how these fleets will work with public transit and other smart city infrastructure.
Anne Mellano is a cofounder and VP of Operations of Bestmile, a leading mobility services platform enabling the management, monitoring and optimization of autonomous and human-driven fleets for mobility operators. Prior to cofounding Bestmile, she worked in urban planning and managed some of Europe’s first autonomous mobility projects. Anne holds an M.S. in Civil Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne.
We are facing a fundamental shift in mobility which will impact people, businesses, transport systems and energy networks. The effect this has on the way we upgrade our infrastructure, manage our networks and design our places is a complex, multi-sector challenge that requires collaboration and long-term future planning.
This transformation in mobility can provide benefits such as more sustainable transport, a swing to active transport modes, cleaner energy and transport networks through adoption of alternative fuels as well as provide a better citizen experience and mobility equality. These benefits, however, can only be realised through the joint efforts of the public, energy, transport and private sector working towards a shared vision for future mobility with citizen experience at its core.
Development of multi-modal hubs
Railway, coach and bus stations are often the gateway to a place and therefore provide an opportunity to develop first impressions, create social value and a prime chance to implement smart technologies. They have the potential to join forces and become multi-modal hubs to promote active transport, ease journey progression and act as a centre of social inclusion in any placemaking strategy. This could enable inclusive and dynamic end-to-end journey planning with seamless transition between transport modes.
Costain has been working to develop the ‘stations of the future’ as part of an Innovate UK call for ‘accelerating innovation in rail’; the project utilised digital media with a world-class ideation process from our partners. The project engaged with hundreds of individuals throughout the rail sectors including stakeholders, clients and supply chain organisations, to roadmap the key themes and trends against the required enabling products and capabilities. These have been displayed and discussed with key decision makers as well as many other train operating companies and transport bodies.
The key roadmaps that have been developed to demonstrate the links fall within ‘advanced sustainable rail infrastructure’, ’the digitally connected passenger’ and ’stations that work as planned’. The consistent trends across all these fields point toward enhanced connectivity between transport solutions, improved and consistent passenger information and greater station operations, based on current capacity and social improvements. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is enabled by many of the capabilities and enablers identified. Enabling MaaS will inevitably happen by the improvements required ahead of it – governance and service regulation are the key enablers to connecting the solutions and making it happen sooner.
This future proofing and digitisation strategy is the first step in understanding the future use and citizen requirements of our railway stations and acts as a backdrop for further MaaS development to create future multi-modal transport hubs. Nevertheless, there is still work to be done on the wider impact stations can have in local placemaking strategies and how this links to other sectors and public authorities. One such area requiring cross-sector collaboration is in the impact of decarbonising transport, especially rolling stock, on the energy network.
Balancing mobility needs with network resilience
This shift to MaaS and drive towards greener transport has created a complex interdependency between our energy and transport systems. The majority of this has been focused on electrification of vehicles, although this will not solve the issue alone and development of hydrogen transport and associated economies has been gaining pace, specifically in the north of the UK. To successfully decarbonise our transport network, there is a knock-on effect on our energy systems, which either need to be reinforced to accommodate larger electricity demand or upgrades to support hydrogen transport and storage.
Demand for better air quality and the drive to decarbonise energy has already resulted in market changes over the past five years, with a 40% growth in renewable energy generation. Moreover, it is predicted that by 2040, 40% of overall generation will be dispersed and connected to the wider distribution network. This alone will cause disruption in our energy landscape, requiring an essential change in the way distribution companies operate and creates both near- and long-term challenges for our networks.
When you add in the complexity of decarbonising transport, these challenges intensify. With electric vehicle market share expected to expand to 40% by 2050, there will be impacts on local network resilience, domestic and network infrastructure reinforcement required, and unknown demand predictions required to facilitate charging.
Hydrogen economy can provide a solution to reduce electricity demand and solve transport decarbonisation of larger vehicles such as trains. However, this is still a challenge as our current gas grid is not set up for hydrogen transportation and storage. One solution to this is the electrolysis process which provides ‘on-demand’ hydrogen production, but again, relies on electricity supply and infrastructure. This is where collaboration with industry sectors is required, to understand each other’s requirements and develop combined solutions to minimise system disruption and maximise benefits for local people.
A transport hub of the future could provide renewable energy in the form of photovoltaic energy from the roof, connected to a smart grid encompassing battery storage for demand response and could form part of a wider community grid network. This could be used to power electrolysis of hydrogen to refuel trains and buses from the same terminal, minimising infrastructure required as well as providing charging facilities for e-bikes, cars and autonomous vehicles on site. Citizens would have a multi-modal hub to provide transport choices around their place and would benefit from clean air, opposed to the heavily polluted air which normally surrounds our transport terminals.
Transport and energy systems are among the most complex and critical systems we have. They are essential to the day-to-day running of any place, as well as its longer-term growth and prosperity. At the same time, they are also at risk from a variety of shocks such as weather damage, as well as chronic or recurring stresses such as traffic congestion and accidents. Places must increasingly adapt, expand and reinforce their transport and energy systems to withstand such changes.
Technology, in particular smart and integrated systems, provide ways to minimize risks and enhance resilience in cities. Vulnerabilities occur and interact across multiple systems and multiple scales; this means that timely, good quality data in a consistent format across multiple sectors, about the conditions and performance across the systems is a critical characteristic of a resilient place. A robust, integrated system across sectors will in turn provide users with a seamless, reliable, efficient multi-modal service.
Population growth, urbanisation and intensifying weather-related hazards are putting modern places under increasing pressure to support and protect their inhabitants and infrastructure. Future places will need to be more robust, and have a collaborative and coordinated approach to manage the everyday stresses and future system demand requirements they face. By building resilience into the design of smart infrastructure systems and investment appraisals, places and their citizens will be better able to manage these stresses and changing requirements in the face of a complex, uncertain and exciting, yet ever-changing future. Putting travellers at the heart of solution development will create the inclusive, integrated transport system we need and drive connected places of the future.
Lead author and contact: Kim Faithfull-Wright, Smart Places Lead, Costain, Kimberley.firstname.lastname@example.org
Faye Banks, Director of Energy, Costain
Phil Pitman, Rail Innovation Lead, Costain
Written By D. Agnew, Vice President of Business Development at Dataspeed Inc
We are currently in a period where not just the state of our technology, but the rate of advancement of our technology (think Moore’s law) is throwing the doors wide open to new solutions for improving our personal, daily mobility needs. Sharing vehicles and improving access to mobility through cloud applications is improving traffic flow and safety through connectivity. But the biggest game changer (by far, according to the headlines) appears to be self-driving cars. The promise of lower mobility cost, better access to cities, increased personal productivity, and improved safety is driving significant investment and development in autonomous technologies. It’s this last promise, the promise of increased safety, which has emerged as the guiding “north star” to keep industry, academia, and regulators focused on autonomous cars after several years of intense research and development (R&D) with the job not yet finished.
But many are also starting to come to grips with the possibility that the job of developing autonomy for broad deployment may be very far from over. What’s interesting (and a bit ironic) is that the primary challenge preventing the broad deployment of autonomous vehicles (AV) and their life saving technology is this: They are not yet safe enough. This isn’t too different from developing new medical technology. You can’t save lives with a new miracle vaccine until you can prove it is safe enough. So, the full question is this: How safe is safe enough, to start dramatically increasing safety?
The Reason for the R&D
The message of safety as the reason for investing in the development of AV has been strongly communicated. When an unfortunate testing incident occurs such as the pedestrian fatality in Arizona, many people outside the industry echo the message: “it’s a terrible loss, but we shouldn’t stop testing because AV will eventually replace human drivers who cause 94% of all accidents”. This is a strong message that resonates with people and brings needed attention to the ongoing tragedy of roadway injuries and fatalities. The magnitude of society’s losses on our public roadways is staggering yet we have become desensitized to it. The national news will often report on a private plane crash on a given day, but because it is the same every day, they do not report the 100 people who unexpectedly and violently met their deaths on our roadways in the U.S.
Consider the chart below for a final perspective on the relative tragedy of roadway crashes. It displays the daily loss of U.S. lives during the country’s major conflicts. It also shows the loss of life from commercial aircraft (difficult to see, in blue and mostly between WWII and 2010). It then dramatically shows the loss of life from driving cars. The area under each of the curves represents total lives lost. The worst characteristic about the roadway fatalities trend is that it hasn’t ended, it’s actually increasing.
So yes, the reason to go after making AV work is a sound reason, and most are in agreement that we should do it as quickly as possible. National governments around the world are behind it, our best research institutions are behind it, and our automotive and tech industries are pursing it with vigor. So when will it be ready?
The Benchmark: “All Natural” Intelligence
Here’s the story less told. We humans cause 94% of all the accidents, but that stat alone doesn’t tell the whole story. The value obtained from driving, the reason we risk going roller coaster speeds on open roadways with other drivers we don’t know, is the need for mobility. Getting from point A to point B, miles traveled, is the numerator in this performance equation. We human drivers are amazingly good at traveling a lot of miles before we make a “fatal error”. The overall average for the U.S. is around 100 million miles between fatality (see NHTSA ”2017 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes” DOT HS812603). This number is derived from taking the total annual miles traveled in the U.S., about 4 trillion, and dividing it by the total roadway fatalities, about 40,000.
As human drivers, our safety performance has improved by 5-fold in 50 years.
Yes, humans are the cause of most of our accidents, but we drive many miles between those accidents. Additionally, a lot of the crashes are caused by some concentrated groups of drivers such as the impaired, inexperienced, and distracted. By avoiding these behaviors, most people are driving at the rate of 1 billion miles or more between fatal errors. For simplicity, let’s stay with the 100 million miles/fatal error (100M m/fe) as a known benchmark of human driving performance.
If we are going after AV technology to start saving the lives lost every day, every year on our roadways, then it is not enough to achieve the same benchmark as human drivers. If AI drivers can get us from point A to point B only with the same performance of average U.S. human driver of 100M m/fe, then with all else being the same, no lives are being saved. So, let’s set a reasonable goal of improved safety at 10x better than the human driver benchmark, which is 1 billion miles/fatal event. If this level of performance replaced all human drivers, then our annual fatalities would be reduced to 10% of current levels. This is a nice round, understandable target for discussing and measuring AV driving performance: 1B miles/fatal event. This is the point where we realize, as engineers, that this is not a challenge for the feint of heart.
To travel 1B miles requires about 40 million gallons of gas, so it will cost $120m just to pay the fuel bill for test vehicles. If your goal is to achieve 1B miles within six months (to support a design validation say), roughly 6,000 vehicles will be needed running around the clock, 7 days a week. This requirement is not a minor task to be addressed while chasing the greater challenge of making autonomous vehicles work. This is THE AV challenge: How to establish credible evidence that an AV can drive with less serious mistakes than most humans. The players in the AV field have been demonstrating amazing driving capabilities for years now, but maneuvering performance is not the issue. The race that is really underway is how to develop a “case” to convince the internal CEOs, the investors, the regulators, and the public, that an AV will meet this requirement of < 1 fatal event per 1B miles. Dataspeed’s unique position of providing vehicle by-wire platforms to the majority of the autonomous developers in this race provides some insight here. With approximately 500 vehicles in service to over 100 customers (the majority being in silicon valley), it is evident that there is a focus beyond just doing the driving tasks or maneuvers. In the end, an AV operating in the real world will be measured with scrutiny. If the prediction, or the “case” to justify full deployment was wrong, and it is not discovered until after a few years of production that a given AV in the field is a worse driver than most human drivers, the potential financial impact is too large to be dismissed by any company.
Research and development for vehicle safety does not achieve the headlines that going down the road with your hands out the sunroof does, but there is currently a furious and intense application of top engineering talent, processing power, and investment dollars being applied to this key challenge of making autonomous vehicles a reality. So, the next questions are: “Are we there yet?”, and “When will we be there?”.
Ray Kurzweil and the Law of Accelerating Returns
In 2003, Martin Eberhard created a prediction of future battery performance based on the “Law of Accelerating Returns”, which is the idea that technology does not just keep increasing at a given rate, the rate of increase is itself constantly increasing (which means geometric growth, but we’ll come back to this). Eberhard used this prediction to convince prospective investors (i.e. Elon Musk) in the viability of his new company, Tesla. What’s key here, is that Eberhard knew battery performance in 2003 would not support a feasible business model for his electric car. But he also knew about “accelerating returns” and looking backwards he could see that battery performance was doubling roughly every 10 years (geometric growth). So he projected the same trend forward and made it part of his business plan. Today, there are not many companies who are not accounting for Moore’s Law, which roughly states the number of transistors fitting on a chip is doubling every 18-24 months. Moore’s Law, which has been validated with a tremendous amount of historical evidence, is a subset of the more broad “accelerating returns” idea, which was put forth by Ray Kurzweil in his 1995 book “The Age of Spiritual Machines”. Where Moore’s Law pertains only to integrated circuits, Kurzweil argues that there is an “accelerating returns” law of exponential growth that applies to many forms of technology.
Moore’s Law is the best known case of accelerating returns because of its early recognition by Moore and because its acceleration rate (doubles every 18-24 months) also roughly predicts progress of many other digital technologies (memory capacity, calculation speed, computing costs…). So why all the math and technology futurism? The purpose here is to try to answer that question coming from the back seat that keeps interrupting our otherwise excellent road trip to autonomy. The predictive exponential growth of technology, especially computational technology, gives us the opportunity to make prediction that is more than just a personal guess. Several years ago, just about every automotive company head was offering their prediction of when fully autonomous vehicles would be widely available. The year 2025 was a often reported value, maybe because it was far enough away, and it’s a nice round number. But there was not much justification for the predictions other than intuition. Now the value of intuition is not being questioned here, but I propose that it may be interesting to calculate an answer to our back seat question using the concept of accelerating returns. So here goes:
Let’s use the chart below to again look at “Miles Traveled between Fatalities In the U.S.. But this time, the vertical axis is logarithmic (each step is 10x the previous step) instead of linear (each step is the same value). Using this type of plot, exponential growth will show as a straight line over time, which will help us easily calculate our prediction. For reference, the shallow line shows NHTSA’s historical data for human drivers. Notice that the curve now appears to be a straight line (which suggests there may be a technology driven accelerating return at work) with the slop showing performance doubles roughly every ten years (similar to Eberhard’s battery performance). The solid line shows where we are today, 100 million m/fe. One step above this, at 1 billion miles, we can draw a horizontal line representing the requirement we established for AV driving. Now, what we need is a value to represent where AV’s are today. How many miles could one drive, on U.S. roadways, before a fatal event. Each individual company developing AV’s would consider this confidential, so it’s not published. However, the California DMV does require entities testing there to provide annual reports of active miles driven along with safety driver disengagements. These numbers of course are missing a lot of context, but we can provide an optimistic adjustment of 10x reported miles (in effect saying one in 10 of the disengagements could be a fatality either for the car occupants or other road users). This assumption can be argued, but I submit it as only a starting point to explain the method. Shown as orange circles on the horizontal line for 100,000 miles are two of the highest performers from CA’s website circa 2017 with the 10x factor applied (newer numbers are available, I’m leaving for others to investigate). The final step is to apply the assumption that the improvement of AV safety performance will follow an exponential growth path (straight line on our log plot) with an aggressive slope (highly computational driven technology) doubling every 2 years, similar to Moore’s law. This assumption is open for debate as well, but consider the tools and solutions being applied to solve the problem: massive simulation, deep neural networks, big data analytics…all being applied on a Google/Apple/Amazon(cloud) scale. It does seem to be a computational technology issue. With these few assumptions, all that is left is to extend our straight line for AV performance up to the 1billion miles line, and we have an answer for our back seat voice. Looks like somewhere around 2041.
Wrap UpThe intent of this discussion has not been to convince the reader that 2041 is the correct answer. It is clear the assumptions used (current AV performance, double every two years, etc.) lack fidelity. Even the stated problem is very broad. This is an estimate for when AV’s can drive 10x safer than humans everywhere in the U.S. A prediction of when an AV can park itself more safely than a human would be a different set of numbers. I do submit, however, that this approach of considering the rate of accelerating technology accelerating offers some value in measuring and estimating when AV’s may surpass human drivers and begin saving lives. Because saving lives is what many are really in this for, I also submit that the metric of “miles between fatal event” will be the one of importance, to be tracked with great interest. Taking this is as the metric and setting the correct target value (such as 1 billion miles) as the “finish line”, we can then make an attempt at answering “how long until we’re there?”.
David Agnew, Vice President of Business Development at Dataspeed Inc., shares his thoughts on the reason and challenge of autonomous vehicles. Prior to his current role, he was Director of Advanced Engineering for Hyundai-Mobis North America, with responsibility for new autonomous technologies. He has also worked with Continental Automotive North America, where he led the Advanced Engineering group for new ADAS technologies. David began his career in the defense-aerospace industry creating fly-by-wire control systems with AlliedSignal Aerospace and Moog. He is serving his 3rd term on the Board of Directors for AUVSI and is on the advisory board for Oakland University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science. His extensive background in active safety engineering and government regulations has shaped his analysis on the controversial topic of when self-driving cars will reach mass deployment.
Significant Electric Vehicle (EV) adoption is crucial for the UK to meet its climate targets and tackle air pollution in cities. In its 2018 transport roadmap, the ‘Road to Zero Strategy’, the government has set out a target of 50-70% ultra-low emission vehicles sales by 2030. Quite a jump compared to today’s sales, which are still under 5%, but achievable as exemplified by Norway where EVs now make up about 50% of car sales.
The role of charging infrastructure
While battery costs and consumer acceptance of EVs are improving, there are still some barriers to uptake. In the short term, there is a supply issue – demand is currently outstripping the volume manufacturers can produce. This is not however a long-term issue, with virtually all major manufacturers ramping up their investment in production. The more worrying barrier that will inhibit rapid uptake of EVs, after the production shortfall hiatus, is a lack of public recharging infrastructure.
Do EV drivers need public infrastructure anyway? If they can charge at home at night, the answer is yes but not much – it will of course depend on how often they do long distance trips. Based on UK travel statistics, charging at home should cover about 75-90% of charging needs. Statistical conclusions regarding real needs won’t change drivers’ appetite for more public charging infrastructure though. This issue has been highlighted recently by the public through an AA survey which found that 80% of non-EV drivers are concerned about the lack of public chargepoints.
And what about drivers who won’t be able to charge at home at night? A substantial 8 million vehicle owners in the UK today do not have access to a garage or driveway. They simply cannot access the practical and low-cost home charging option. For them, access to public infrastructure is an absolute necessity. While 8 million might not seem much compared to a national car fleet of about 30 million, these are typically in urban areas, where air quality issues are the worst. If they are the last ones to convert to EVs (whether the cars are private or shared), urban dwellers will miss out on air quality improvements.
How to charge an EV parked on-street
What solutions are there for the widespread and cost-effective installation of on-street charging infrastructure?
Several technologies are emerging – each with advantages and drawbacks:
The drawbacks identified above prevent the widespread installation of any of the charge point technologies, therefore there is still a gap in the market for new charge point types to meet charging needs. One such technology could be the one being developed by Trojan Energy. Trojan Energy is an exciting new charge point company, set up by a budding group of oil engineers, who are keen to utilise their skills in the low carbon sector. They have designed an innovative solution to on-street charging, which enables the deployment of charge points at scale, covering entire streets at relatively low cost.
The Trojan Energy system – a flush charge point
The main features of the Trojan Energy system include a flush charge point connector that is level with the pavement and a ‘lance’ which is used to connect the charge point to the vehicle. Connectors are placed approximately 5m apart, allowing EV owners to conveniently charge when parked at any point along the street. This reduces tension between residents, as no parking bays would be ring fenced for EVs.
An advantage of the Trojan technology is that there is no permanent footprint on the edge of the pavement. Only when the car is charging is there an obstacle; this maintains the safety of the pavement and access requirements. Another novel aspect is that up to 20 cars can be charged simultaneously, from the same grid connection, through the Trojan box. The obvious upside is the saving on connection costs. This aggregation of cars also presents exciting opportunities for network operators: having multiple cars to a point makes the load on the point larger as well as more predictable. This is interesting because actively adjusting the power demand from EVs will become essential once EVs are ubiquitous – the electricity grid would not be able to cope with drivers’ tendency to all plug-in at the end of the day. Cutting 5kW from a car charging at 7kW could be very inconvenient for a driver, whereas spreading a 5kW curtailment over 10+ cars will go unnoticed.
The list of advantages continues: the connectors feed from the 3-phase cables present along street pavement, allowing rates from 3 to 22kW per charger. The high rates would be of interest to drivers of EVs with large battery packs, or shared vehicles which have shorter dwell times. The biggest advantage is the scale of deployment – a whole street could be converted. In fact, this solution is designed for mass rollout.
Figure 1 The Trojan Energy charge point and lance - a neat solution to on-street charging, with street clutter only at the pavement edge when the vehicle is charging
Figure 2 The full Trojan Energy System - with one grid connection every 20 charge points, saving on connection costs
Research findings and next steps to deployment
The Trojan Energy solution has recently been investigated in a Feasibility Study entitled STEP – Subsurface Technology for Electric Pathways – which is part of the Electric vehicle charging for public spaces: feasibility studies competition, funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in partnership with Innovate UK (IUK). In this study, led by Element Energy, Trojan Energy worked alongside the London Borough of Brent, Birmingham City Council and UK Power Networks to validate several aspects of the technology.
The Feasibility Study mainly involved the testing of the system to ensure compatibility with the grid, identifying potential sites for a trial in Birmingham and Brent, and gathering feedback on the technology. The results were positive all around: the prototype passed all the technical tests with flying colours, several streets have emerged as good candidates for the tech and feedback has been very positive.
Feedback was collected from councillors as well as EV and would be EV drivers. 65% of consumers surveyed said they would be willing to have the Trojan Energy solution installed outside their house (a high portion of those unwilling are those who wouldn’t consider purchasing an EV in the first place). In the workshop with Brent EV owning residents, 87% wanted to sign up to have the sleek connector in their street.
The next stage of the IUK project is a Demonstrator Trial of the technology, later this year. Trojan Energy plan on installing several hundred connectors in London and Birmingham to demonstrate that the real-world fully operational system provides a seamless and convenient solution to on-street charging. This trial is conditional on receiving funding from IUK in the next round of bidding, which ends at the beginning of May.
If successful, Trojan Energy will take the first step to providing a solution for the biggest problem facing EVs in the future, paving the way for a world in which EVs are truly ubiquitous.
Authors: Sarah Clements, Consultant and Celine Cluzel, Director, from Element Energy
Element Energy is a strategic energy consultancy, specialising in the intelligent analysis of low carbon energy. We provide consultancy services across a wide range of sectors (smart electricity and gas networks, energy storage, carbon capture, renewable energy systems and low carbon vehicles). Our work involves consulting on both technical and strategic issues – we believe our technical and engineering understanding of the real-world challenges support the strategic work and vice versa.
Celine Cluzel will be speaking at TaaS Technology Conference, 10th July 2019, Birmingham, UK.
Governments and individuals are becoming more cognizant of their carbon footprint and are looking for ways to reduce their impact. However, with places like Luxembourg having 662 passenger vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants, European cities are plagued with traffic congestion. Additionally, when you factor in the sheer number of vehicles on the roads, it not surprising that the European Commission claims, “Urban mobility accounts for 40 % of all CO2 emissions of road transport and up to 70 % of other pollutants from transport.”
Considering the need to reduce traffic and CO2 in European cities, studies have been conducted to determine the best course of action. Fortunately, both the government and the individual can take steps that will lead to less congested roadways and a healthier planet. As a shared mobility service for family carpooling, GoKid is doing its part to make it easy for individuals in cities and around the world to reduce their carbon footprints.
New Emission Standards are Just the Beginning
In November 2017, the European Commission outlined new legislation regarding CO2 emissions that demonstrate its commitment to the Paris Agreement. The goal is for vehicles for cars and vans emissions to be 15% lower in 2025 than in 2021. This will help introduce the goal of the new legislation for new vehicles to have average emissions of 30% lower in 2030 than in 2021. Ultimately, this legislation aims to pave the way to clean vehicles (or vehicles with zero-emission or no-emission).
With 35 million grossly polluting Euro 5 and 6 diesel cars on EU’s roads, these new emission standards are necessary. In addition to the new emission standards proposed by the European Commission, there are several other UK-based traffic initiatives aimed at reducing CO2 and easing congestion.
Transportation Initiatives are Making Cities Smart
While implementing new emissions testing for vehicles is an excellent goal, there are many other ways European cities are encouraging citizens to relieve traffic congestion and reduce CO2 emissions.
● Free Public Transport – Luxembourg is offering citizens free public transportation country-wide beginning March 2020. This includes all public transportation – buses, rails, and trams. With high rates of vehicle ownership and the number of work commuters, Financial Times reports, Luxembourg’s “congestion times are among the highest in Europe, with each driver spending on average 30 hours stuck in jams every year.” The free public transport initiative is a clear means to lessen road congestion. Cities can also encourage the use of free friend-based carpooling apps like GoKid to help families coordinate rides for their younger members.
● Cycle Routes and incentives – Encouraging more cycling is a big part of reducing CO2 emissions. The Netherlands is actually using monetary incentives to get more people to cycle to work. Cyclists can claim €0.19 (around $0.22) from their employer for every kilometer they pedal to the office. Other cities are planning additional cycle routes making it easier to get places by bike. For instance Luxembourg has planned some 300km of cycle routes. Throughout Europe, governments are investing in cycle routes as a means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, the European cycle route network, a project of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), aims to be a sustainable Trans-European Transport Network.
● Banning Cars from City Centers – According to Business Insider, “Urban planners and policymakers around the world have started to brainstorm ways that cities can create more space for pedestrians and lower CO2 emissions from diesel.” Cities, such as Madrid, are banning cars from city centers or implementing car bans that only allow resident vehicles, zero-emissions delivery vehicles, taxis, or public transit.
● Paid Parking - Other cities plagued with traffic congestion are looking to fees as a way to discourage individuals car owners from driving. For example, Moscow has gone to an app-based paid parking system where all drivers must pay to park their vehicles in the city center. Bloomberg reports, “A day’s worth of curbside parking could cost about $30, making it the largest daily expense for many Russian drivers.”
● Carpooling Lanes – Another effort to lessen the number of vehicles on roadways is adding carpool/car-sharing lanes, which are also known as 2+ lanes or High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes. Currently, Leeds has 3 car-sharing lanes, Bristol 2, Birmingham 1, and Bradford also has one. BlaBlaCar claims that the newly added carpooling lanes have had several positive benefits such as an increase in bus riders, an increase in carpooling, and reduced rush hour driving times.
Encouraging Europeans to Car Share
Car sharing is becoming increasingly popular all across Europe with the shared mobility industry expected to grow from €5.1 billion to more than €100 billion by 2025. A study by Transport Environment found that car sharing programs greatly reduce car use. Here are several of the findings relating to reduced traffic congestion and emissions from Transport Environment:
● With car sharing, 5 - 15 cars are replaced for each shared car added to the fleet.
● Taking London as an example: 1 in 5 Londoners are less likely to buy a car in the future because of alternatives like Uber.
● Each Car2go (car-sharing program) vehicle removes between 7 to 11 vehicles from city roads and an average of 11% reduction in vehicle-kilometres (6% - 16%) and 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (4% to 18%).
● Autolib’ (the fully electric open-access car-sharing program in Paris) not only hopes to cut the driver's transportation costs by 90% but has estimated that by 2023 its 4000 Autolib’ fleet would replace more than 36,000 privately owned cars.
Ride Sharing is Another Healthy Alternative
While car sharing is a way to improve traffic congestion and reduce emissions across Europe, we can do even more. By ride sharing, we reduce our carbon footprint as it is then divided by the number of people sharing. For example, Transport Environment found “The average car occupancy rate for BlaBlaCar (a long-distance ride-sharing service) is 2.8 person per car compared to Europe's average of 1.7 person per car, and the company has estimated the environmental impact to have saved at least 1 million tons of CO2.”
We also know that car sharing doesn’t always work for families as they need to keep their own vehicle, so ride sharing is a great alternative to encourage optimal car usage. Families are saving many miles of driving and tons of CO2 emissions by carpooling their kids with other families. On GoKid alone, over 2,702 tons of CO2 have been reduced and 3+ million miles of driving have been saved through carpooling. Imagine the difference we could make if we choose to ride share every day.
GoKid is a Mobility App for Active Families Helping Cities Reduce CO2
Since 30% of morning traffic is caused by parents driving their kids to school, there is a clear connection between morning rush hour congestion and the drive to school. Rather than adding to the already congested and polluted roads, parents can choose community-based options like GoKid, a mobility app for busy families. GoKid works by helping parents find other trusted families to carpool with to and from school, sports, and other kids’ activities. The app shows parents better routes, sends notifications for who is on driving duty and announces when kids need to be ready to go. GoKid is already making strides by helping parents in Europe find rides for their children and contributing to European efforts for safer, more sustainable transportation.
GoKid is the complete carpool solution for schools, teams and families. An easy-to-use application enable families to set up and manage carpools with people they know and trust. GoKid is an alumnus of Techstars Mobility and winner of the US Energy 2018 program. The company is backed by Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures, Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures, Village Capital, and Techstars. Founded in 2015, GoKid is headquartered in New York City. Over 250,000 carpool trips have been created on GoKid, saving parents over 3 million miles of driving. To learn more about how we work with schools, teams and corporations, visit www.gokid.mobi.
Patrick Ayad, Hogan Lovells, Partner and Global Head Automotive and Mobility, Munich
Lance Bultena, Hogan Lovells, Senior Counsel, Washington D.C.
The automotive industry is undergoing radical transformation. That transformation is not yet fully visible to the average consumer but the behavior and expectations of consumers responding to the technological developments are the first visible wave of change. The shift to transportation as a service is most apparent with the rise, and huge valuations of, the mobility services that have jolted the auto industry and the traditional taxi firms without requiring any changes in the vehicles themselves. The next waves of change will alter the vehicles themselves, the regulatory structures involved, and a host of economic relationships built around the traditional automotive industry.
The global automotive industry has for decades been significant for both economic and emotional reasons. A car is often the largest purchase a consumer makes other than his or her home. Estimates suggest there are about 1.2 billion cars in service globally valued at about US$20 trillion. By any standard the global automotive industry is a colossus. We are ‘attached’ to our cars. They are marketed and sold as much through emotion as their operating specifications. For many, the car is a marker of success, provides a sense of independence or is a symbol of who they are. The driving experience, not merely the transportation function, is greatly valued by many. At the same time, commercial vehicles further underpin the importance of the global automotive industry.
These economic and societal factors have not changed for at least the past 75 years. While car styling changed regularly, capabilities expanded, and quality improved at a fundamental level, the motor vehicle was a constant – an internal combustion engine provided propulsion and a well-known array of mechanical devices gave the driver control of the vehicle. The dramatic advances in safety, comfort and the technical capacity did not change the core essence or function of the motor vehicle. The economics of the industry has also been predictable. The vehicles were made by a few large companies that are well-known brands. Those vehicles are heavily advertised and then sold or leased to individuals. Once the vehicle is sold the manufacturer has, except for aftersales services, little additional revenue from that vehicle. Vast industries exist for individuals to maintain, fuel and even park those vehicles. Public transportation systems reflect the dominance of this mode of individual transportation.
But the automotive industry will transform quickly over the next decade or so. The technology coming into vehicles will fundamentally alter not just the vehicle itself, but the ownership model and the many commercial enterprises associated with the automotive industry. Almost all analysts believe the autonomous drive vehicle, and even the flying car, will be a part of our future. Estimates vary on how soon human drivers will surrender completely to machine-driven vehicles, but few doubt the transition will occur. Already many models have technology that assists the driver in the driving function. The modern motor vehicle is also increasingly ‘connected’. That connectivity can not only enhance the vehicle’s capacity, but it also allows the collection of data and the sale of services to car occupants. The data and services are tantalizing new revenue streams.
These technological and capacity advances and the prospect of new revenue streams associated with the motor vehicle have many hurtling towards the automotive industry. Well-known technology companies are working on driverless cars, as are the incumbent manufacturers. A host of companies are developing hardware and software platforms to facilitate that development. New economic relationships and corporate deals are reported frequently as companies position themselves for the future. Electronics and computer code are already an increasing part of the cost of a vehicle and all expect that percentage to increase. The potential gains are astounding. Well over 90 per cent of accidents are caused by human error. Autonomous drive vehicles are expected to eliminate nearly all of those accidents and mitigate the damage in those that do occur. The carnage on roads that claims millions of lives may be vastly reduced. But there will also be software failures.
The prospect of truly driverless cars that are connected will also fundamentally alter the ownership model. On average, cars are driven under an hour a day. In other words, globally, US$20 trillion in assets have an utilization rate of about 4 per cent. If the driverless car is owned by car services and summoned on demand by those needing transportation services the utilization rate could increase substantially and the cost per unit of distance or time should drop dramatically as utilization rates increase. Dramatic savings are achieved because a human driver does not need to be paid.
If fleet ownership displaces a significant percentage of sales to individuals that will not only change the marketing and distribution model, it should change the car itself. A fleet owner with a high utilization rate is less sensitive to entry cost and will care more about durability and low running costs. Many believe this dynamic operating in conjunction with strict rules for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions will lead electric motors to displace the internal combustion engine. If car ownership shifts eventually to a fleet model built around electric vehicles, so many of the industries built on car ownership by individuals will change. That list includes everything from gas stations to aftermarket parts sales, car repair and even businesses such as car washes.
Many expect driverless cars will change infrastructure needs as well. When driverless cars are the dominant vehicles in service, road capacity should increase substantially and that will impact on infrastructure needs and design. A great deal fewer parking spaces and services will be needed as, rather than a driver parking a car, the car will drop off the driver. Driverless cars offer the prospect of cheap, safe, individualized transportation with less environmental impact. This type of transportation could transform lives. The aged, young and disabled will have new transportation options that could be highly advantageous. Many also believe that transportation options for the world’s urban poor will greatly improve.
Changes of this magnitude do not happen instantly or easily. The technology will have to continue to improve. While early gains are coming fast, solving all the technological problems to enable truly driverless cars is a daunting task.
Regulatory changes will be needed as well. Many regulatory structures and liability rules are based on the assumption of a human driver. Safety rules mandate equipment for a human driver. Even now some of that equipment is not needed – for example, screens may be more effective than mandates for mirrors. Eventually rules for everything from the steering wheel on will need reconsideration. Before full autonomy is achieved regulators will want to evaluate when humans drive and when the car drives and how that exchange occurs. Current safety rules are designed around crash survivability. When cars seek to avoid accidents rather than survive them the intellectual framework for the rules will need to shift. And there will be ethical challenges. Cars that are at least as much computer systems as mechanical devices may require new certification procedures. And, as these vehicles will be always connected, their cybersecurity will need to be protected and the privacy of the data generated controlled.
Ultimately, the public will also have to learn to trust autonomous vehicles. Individuals naturally assign higher risk where they do not have personal experience and where they are not in control – both contexts are present with autonomous cars. Many worry that early stage accidents will disrupt the testing of these vehicles and inhibit the regulatory developments needed. While public acceptance may also be a hurdle, most believe that challenge will be overcome as individuals gain experience with the technology. One day it is expected that individuals will see and emotionally accept the benefits foreseen by those who analyze current accident and fatality rates and evaluate the advantages of greater machine involvement in the driving function.
While there are technological, regulatory, and public acceptance hurdles to overcome, it is evident that almost all industry participants foresee fundamental transformation in the future. The deal flow within the automotive industry already reflects this expectation. This trend will continue and accelerate.
Learn more about these developments with further details on country specifics in our cross-jurisdiction Q&A style publication “Getting The Deal Through Automotive” powered by Hogan Lovells. Request your copy here or view online.
Change is happening faster than ever. To stay ahead, you need to anticipate what’s next. Legal challenges come from all directions. We understand and work together with you to solve the toughest legal issues in major industries and commercial centers around the world. As one of the leading international law firms, we support you whether you’re expanding into new markets, considering capital from fresh sources, or dealing with increasingly complex regulation or disputes. Whether change brings opportunity, risk, or disruption, be ready by working with Hogan Lovells. More than 2,800 Hogan Lovells lawyers on six continents develop practical and tailor-made legal solutions according to your needs – highly specialized in the most important industries. Our global Automotive and Mobility Industry Group comprises more than 300 lawyers across the globe who all have considerable knowledge and experience in the automotive and mobility industry.
Countless articles have been written over the last half-decade about the promising future of connected & autonomous vehicles. We’ve seen visions of a multi-gigabit-per-second future with 5G cellular, and cities have competed nationwide for funding opportunities to build Smart City proof-of-concepts.
At Integrated Roadways, we believe that these emerging markets will require a new kind of networking infrastructure to support and enable these new devices, vehicles, applications, and services. In the same way that the cell phones required upgrades to the phone network, and internet services required upgrades to our cable networks, we believe that Smart Cities, connected, electric, and autonomous vehicles, and 5G cellular requires upgrades to our roadways and adjacent public right-of-way. These upgrades will transform the physical road network and public real-estate into a “smart infrastructure network”.
When we started working on smart infrastructure in 2014, the phrase was newly-minted and nobody knew what it meant, much less why they would need it. This nascent global market for smart infrastructure is projected to reach $33 billion in 2020. There have been numerous smart infrastructure projects announced in the last few years, and a few completed.
Most current smart infrastructure projects have been smart by proximity, where the smart features are placed near a roadway – for example, adding fiber optic networking elements to an interstate build. Admittedly, including fiber in interstate projects is a step forward, but Kiewit Construction started that practice in the 1990s with Level 3 Networks.
To fulfill the promise of smart infrastructure we have to integrate the “smarts” directly into the infrastructure, the same way we did with smartphones.
What will smart infrastructure do for us?
There’s one final requirement, in our view, that smart infrastructure is incomplete if it doesn’t deliver the #1 requirement of the road network – a driving surface for vehicles!
One obstacle to widespread adoption of Smart City and smart infrastructure technology is that our public roads are outdated and wildly underfunded, with trillions of dollars of currently unfunded improvement needs across the nation, representing the need to rebuild about 40% of all roadways. There’s no widely supported plan to increase taxes or impose tolls in any way that is sufficient to bridge this gap. Unfortunately, public agencies have to spend most of their budget on fixing roads, not on buying fancy new smart infrastructure tech. That’s where our tweak comes into play.
Our philosophy is to build the smarts directly into the road infrastructure, so that the road itself is transformed into a smart digital network.
The benefits of this method are numerous, not the least of which is that treating the road network like a digital network providing services to data and connectivity markets will generate new revenues that can be leveraged to fund, subsidize, and eventually finance large-scale infrastructure improvements.
Integrated Roadways has recently completed a proof-of-concept installation of Smart Pavement in Denver, Colorado on Brighton Boulevard at 39th St. under contract with Colorado Department of Transportation’s RoadX program, and with permission of the City and County of Denver.
The goal of this project was to build a small proof-of-concept installation of Smart Pavement to show what the technology is, how the system works, how to build and operate the improvements, and implement some core applications and features that begin to deliver on the promise of smart infrastructure. As we operate this installation over the next few years, we will continue developing new applications that improve the value, features, and benefits of the existing installation, and can be deployed into any new installations in the future.
During this time, we’ll also be using the data and connectivity capabilities of Smart Pavement to begin demonstrating how smart infrastructure can generate new revenue opportunities for DOTs and Public Works to help support the ever-increasing cost of improving public road infrastructure.
Smart Pavement consists of three major components: 1) The Smart Pavement Slab, which is a modular, prefabricated concrete paving unit with sensing and networking elements included, 2) The Smart Pavement Control Center, which is a roadside equipment cabinet that houses the server, router, and sensor equipment, 3) the Edge Dense Network, which interconnects the Slabs and Control Center, and enables the incorporation of third-party equipment into the network.
The delivery of a Smart Pavement installation includes three major phases: 1) Design & Production, 2) Delivery & Installation, 3) Operations.
We start with the normal roadbuilding process, and identify areas to enhance with Smart Pavement. These may be intersections, ramps, or other key, high-traffic elements of the road where data collection & connectivity can provide a high benefit to cost ratio for the owner.
Once we’ve identified the key areas to enhance, we perform a design process to identify the specific locations we’ll install the Smart Pavement slabs, the site dimensions, and placement of everything. For the Brighton proof-of-concept, we worked with Kiewit Infrastructure Engineers to perform the site design.
This work gives us the number of slabs we need to make, their dimensions, and their physical and digital hardware requirements.
When building a road, reducing the construction time is a key value for everyone, and reduces frustration for the motoring public waiting for the work to be finished. That’s one reason why Integrated Roadways uses pre-fabricated “precast” concrete facilities to build roads as modular sections. Precast gives us an extremely high quality driving surface, and the factory-based production allows us to add technology without delaying the completion of the roadway, since it can be done off-site and ahead of time.
We work with an existing precast production facility, in this case McPherson Concrete Products, to take the design features established by the builder and complete the “shop drawings” that show the precast facility exactly how to build the specific design for the Smart Pavement slabs to be installed at the project location.
With nearly a thousand accredited precast concrete plants across the United States, there’s a half-dozen qualifying production facilities near any major metro area. Not only is the roadbuilding process faster, but it takes a smaller “footprint” on the project site, improving efficiency. It reduces onsite labor and can be installed by crews that are familiar with traditional road-building processes with little to no retraining.
Once the slabs have “cured” (the concrete has properly set up), the facility can ship them on the back of a truck to arrive “just in time” for installation in the roadway, enabling an extremely time-efficient build process.
The pavement is already “cured” enough to carry traffic by the time it’s arrived and installed. We still have to “grout” the pavement so that it’s “glued” to the underlying road bed, and all the surrounding pieces of pavement, but that only takes about 30 minutes, with another 30 minutes of “curing” before the grout is ready for traffic.
The pre-cured slabs and quick-cure grout means that the road can be open to traffic in as little as 90 minutes after the paving slabs arrive, compared to a minimum of 4-hours for typical Type 3 concrete pavement, or several days for Type 2 concrete pavement.
Just like your smartphone or tablet has a charging port on one edge, Smart Pavement has a box that all of the fiber and cable exit through. The edge connector ensures there’s no fiber or cable coming out of the side of the paving slab, similar to a wall plug. The Smart Pavement system makes installing the road as simple as putting it in the right place, “gluing” it together, and then plugging it in.
We install a Smart Pavement Control Center nearby to operate the installation with open rack units for additional server equipment so that we can expand the services and features over the lifetime of the installation without having to install larger cabinets.
The Control Center includes a HVAC unit, power management and control, battery backup, and Cisco server and router equipment to act as the operations management server, data storage, and local host.
The Control Center syncs with a cloud interface to upload metadata, reports, infographics, a real-time and historical dashboard, event notifications, and alerts. This allows users to access the information coming from the roadway anywhere they have an internet connection. The system can also push notifications and alerts to the management facility and administrators when something happens – like a vehicle leaves the roadway, goes the wrong direction, or crashes.
We think of Smart Pavement as turning roads into touch-pads and Wi-Fi routers, that are PC-compatible and can run any future applications that someone can dream up. When PCs were brand new, the first applications were word processors and calculators, but those simple applications were valuable enough for lots of businesses to buy PCs. As more businesses bought more PCs, more developers wrote more programs, and 30 years later, teenagers are addicted to Fortnight (or is it Apex Legends this week?).
In the same way, the apps we are developing now for Smart Pavement are the simplest, earliest-stage, and pack an enormous and immediate value for the roadway owner. We’re currently focused on:
· Vehicle counts (traffic patterns and analytics in real-time and historically across time of day, week, month, year)
· Vehicle speeds (average speeds, 85th percentile, peaks, and more)
o Note: Speed information does not identify any specific person or vehicle.
· Vehicle weights
· Vehicle directions (for identifying wrong-way driver events)
Coming up next on the development roadmap are a few more advanced features that build on these early capabilities:
· Automated lane-departure identification & reporting
· Automated run-off-the-road identification & reporting
· Automated collision identification & reporting
The data we’re collecting has significant value beyond the immediate use to the public agency. Consider Google’s AdWords program – Google collects enormous amount of traffic data from its search engine. It uses that data to connect advertisers to people searching for things. In the same way, the data we are collecting has value to commercial users for things like property development, brick & mortar advertising, commercial fleet management, mobility, navigation, positioning, mapping, and vehicle routing services, and much more.
And because we build the network to be edge-dense from the beginning, Smart Pavement provides in-road “expansion ports” for 3rd party sensors or antennas. We can expand the services through software applications, through rack space in the Control Center, through implementing new hardware features into pre-built expansion ports – for example, installing 5G antennas directly in the roadway for high-speed communication with connected and autonomous vehicles. We can even build in dynamic in-motion wireless charging for electric vehicles to recharge your EV as you drive.
By storing the maps that autonomous vehicles need in the Control Center, reading vehicle positions in real time, and serving the merged map + vehicle positions on-demand through the edge dense neutral host network, a Smart Pavement system installed in 2019 will continue to provide new services and features for decades into the future, ensuring that our clients who are investing in smart infrastructure today will continue to gain value from those investments across the entire 35- to 50-year life of the roadway.
The public of the United States collectively owns hundreds of billions of square feet of extremely important real estate all throughout our Cities and States, represented by our roadways and public right-of-ways. Arguably, this public real estate is the most valuable in the City or State, because nearly all movement of people and goods takes place on it.
However, the real-estate is an enormous unfunded liability to the public, because despite all the economic activity that roadways enable, the real estate generates essentially zero direct revenues that can be used to fund improvements and operation.
That’s why we believe that enabling smart infrastructure through integral digital technologies like Smart Pavement is such a game-changer for how we build, operate, and pay for roadways in the United States. If we can use public real estate to generate revenue from the new value-added digital services for Smart Cities, connected, electric, and autonomous vehicles, and new communications services like 5G cellular, we can leverage those revenues to finance the improvement of public roadways nationwide. This would transform the loss-leader of public roads into an extremely valuable and economically productive asset that would no longer require funding from taxes, and pays for itself via advanced digital services without requiring tolls.
If roads that pay for themselves by enabling autonomous vehicles and 5G cellular sound interesting to you, keep an eye on smart infrastructure, and tell your local DOT or Public Works department to try Smart Pavement out in your community.
Transportation-as-a-service is more than just integrating everything on a digital platform, it’s about introducing radical alternatives to traditional modes of transportation and building an automotive ecosystem that is beneficial for both, the consumers and environment.
Owning a car is not just a goal, but a sentiment in India. The sense of ownership is a legacy that one generation transfers to another. Until recently, car buying was considered the second most important purchase, the first one being buying a home. Owning a car was widely an expression of a higher status in society. However, enter millennial India and you will witness a paradigm shift in this trend. The concept of buying a car has taken a back seat because the transportation-as-a-service trend has started to play out well in India. Renting a car, taking a cab or sharing a vehicle is no longer a taboo.
Today’s reality is, when a person needs a car to commute, he simply summons it through an app or a web platform (often called as TaaS platform) and have it at his service, within minutes. Considering the acceptance people have shown towards the changing trends in the mobility sector, it can be supposedly said that the idea of ownership is certainly evolving. Mainly because consumers now prefer the advantages of access over the hassles of ownership.
Aspiring car buyers looking for instant access over ownership consider shared mobility or renting as the preferred alternative to purchasing a car. Why? Because unlike car buying that is a tedious and time-consuming process, the renting-as-a-mobility solution offers instant gratification by providing easy access via technology-driven platforms. By integrating various transportation options into one digital mobile or web app, these platforms serve as the one-stop-solution for catering myriad travel needs. They cover the entire process, right from ride booking and trip planning to seamless payment, etc. And, that’s the consumer-centric approach all the stakeholders in this industry, be it OEMs or dealers are trying to nail when designing new mobility solutions for the Indian market.
Shifting Consumer Landscape
Looking at the present day picture of the automotive industry, it can be said that the structural shift has already begun. As per the Indian Auto Sales Analysis 2018 done by a leading Indian daily newspaper, metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai, which are the linchpin of India’s Rs 4.5 lakh crore automobile industry, witnessed a slight downfall in the car sales growth last year. Factors that can be blamed for auto sale numbers not reaching the target mark last year are increased insurance premium (which puts a lot of burden on buyers), high fuel prices and the overall sentiment that failed to pull customers to the showroom. Estimated figures for passenger vehicle sales recorded a mere single-digit growth of 5.32 % at 33,93,705 units as compared to 32,22,220 units in the year 2017. [Source 1]
What these figures reflect upon is the changing trend in the realm of car ownership. Today, the consumers in big cities find it economical and more convenient to use an Ola, Uber or Myles rather than purchasing a car. For many young Indians, car buying is no longer an aspiration. It is all about having access to what they want when they want it, without any commitment. In metros, the millennials don’t want their money blocked on an asset whose value is set to depreciate. The utility is definitely taking over the status-symbol mindset in India.
Adapting to the Changing Mindset
As the mobility trend is evolving in India, the carmakers and car service providers are rethinking their strategy and tweaking their product portfolio to meet the demands of the urban buyer. Shared mobility, ride-hailing, and self-driving vehicles presages are quite popular and in-demand in the urban cities. With growing demand, every player in the auto industry is trying to stand out by developing the most unprecedented mobility solutions. The focus is primarily on understanding the consumers and what they are likely to adapt to as the future of personal transportation.
Being a major player in the shared-mobility sector in India, Myles Automotive Technologies, as a company is also working towards introducing newer means of mobility for the urban consumer. We feel the service we are to offer next should give the consumer the freedom from the risks, commitment, and stress associated with buying a car. The idea is to let consumers enjoy car ownership without being bogged down by the cost of ownership and the commitment it requires.
The Now & Next of Mobility
MaaS (Mobility-as-a-service) in India is still at an embryonic stage in its development, with much innovation and experimentation underway. But, as the distinct trend is on the rise, automakers and car rental companies are rigorously working to cast out pioneering personal mobility solutions for consumers. One such business model that has caught the fancy of both consumers and mobility providers, in India specifically is the subscription service. Popular amongst millennials as the ‘Netflix’ model of car ownership, the subscription model of transportation is for drivers who need wheels but without the debts.
While many people in India own cars today, for some, it is more of a liability than an asset. That is why people today are opting for the flexibility, financial freedom and perks that renting offers as opposed to purchasing a car. Automakers, dealers and rental companies now offer car subscriptions as an alternative to the traditional car buying model, which is synonymous with being in significant debt. For subscription, what a consumer is typically charged is a flat monthly fee that clubs together expenses like insurance and maintenance. This way consumers save both, their time and money.
The reason why consumers are gravitating toward these services is because what’s presently available to them isn’t in alignment with what they want. The young Indians find familiarity with the concept of subscription because it's not just the automotive industry that has adopted this trend, this wave has swept across several other industries – Food, Entertainment, Telecom, E-commerce and many more. Lucrative monthly deals are offered as subscription services to the consumers, which they obviously find appealing and hence, like.
As young India is convincingly adapting to the consumer-centric mobility solutions like car subscription, one aspect that can’t be neglected is how the auto industry will contribute to tackling the environmental problems. It will be rightful to quote here what our honorable Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi said at the first Global Mobility Summit (MOVE) organized by NITI Aayog (The National Institution for Transforming India), last year - “Clean mobility powered by clean energy is the most powerful weapon in our fight against climate change”. He insisted on creating an ecosystem where mobility would be more eco-friendly. And, we couldn’t agree more.
Considering that India is one of the largest car markets in the world, which is only expected to grow in the coming years, carmakers and rental companies are expected to give a thrust to e-mobility in India. With the Government of India’s mission to develop 100 smart cities across the country, the opportunity to leverage rapidly evolving technology like electric vehicles is tremendous in the country. However, to support such an innovation, the auto industry needs a firm backing from the Indian government in terms of providing the required charging infrastructure and creating a stable policy to promote green mobility in the country. What revolution this disruptive technology would bring about in the nation and how well the consumers will adapt to it, would be worth witnessing!
Ms. Sakshi Vij has been instrumental in shaping the personal mobility space in India over the last 12 years. Having represented Global Car rental brands in India, successfully built one of the largest radio taxi brands in India and built the largest B2B Chauffeur drive rental brands in India within Carzonrent, she launched Mylescars in November 2013.
Mylescars aims at connecting Car owners with Car users to ultimately reduce the congestion in Indian cities. A simple platform that lets you share your car with those around you makes sure that a Myles user can have a car without the hassles of owning one.
An Alumnus of the Harvard Business School, Sakshi has been passionate about the growth of the shared economy and has been working on investing and building the opportunities in the sector. Sakshi has experience studying and/or working in Dubai, Singapore, Paris, Boston and Delhi.
She is a regular speaker at events related to the Startup, Innovation, Investment, Transportation and Travel Landscape at Phocuswright Travel and Innovation Summit, FICCI Telematics Conference, TiECon, Women Economic Forum amongst others.
By Sigrid Dalberg-Krajewski, Head of Marketing and Communications at Trafi
The latest digital innovations are defining an era of intelligent machine-based systems allowing us to further digitize transportation. We will see both transport providers and cities delivering solutions that make it easy for people to use mobility as a service. The rise of an encompassing and fully integrated transport ecosystem will lead to connected urban areas where operations are data driven and optimized in real time.
Trafi is currently serving leading players in both the private and public sector. Our technology is used by Lyft, Google, Apple, Skoda, Volkswagen etc, as well as cities including Berlin, Jakarta, Rio de Janeiro and Vilnius. The future task of the industry will be to connect an evolving market and changing consumer demands with new innovation, fostering a holistic take on different mobility systems.
MOBILITY PLATFORMS AS A HOLISTIC SYSTEM
The mobility scene is shaped by three different perspectives or platforms: consumers, cities and transportation providers. At the moment, the industry is organized in segments, fulfilling the demands of every separate platform. Answering to the individual needs of each perspective is no longer enough to create sustainable solutions. To achieve a fully integrated ecosystem of transportation, these platforms will have to run in parallel. Only that way can they synergize and optimize the overall mobility network.
What no player is doing yet, except for Trafi, is providing the tech needed to align the platforms. This alignment enables a comprehensive overview and massive network effect between all segments. In doing so, we can reach a higher level of overlapping functions, mutual benefits and information flows between consumers, transport providers and city operators. This in turn leads to more advanced capabilities of each intersection. Enter the stage; Trafi.
All these perspectives must play in sync, rather than being isolated in currently set industry silos. Specialization should lead to larger knowledge, not closing out information that would ensure a further optimization and innovation potential. Therefore, there needs to be connectors between the platforms, and these connectors are software.
Just like Lego pioneered creative play, Trafi is spearheading the usage of unified mobility systems consisting of powerful software building blocks. These blocks represent various components, or connectors, needed to run mobility services. They can be used to deliver the best possible operating solution independent of preconditions and specific needs. Developing a technological engine with various pick and mix-parts, makes it possible to operate mobility drawing information from all relevant sources, and automatically adapt to the additional knowledge.
In the future, transport providers will run fleets of mass transit that can move a growing population, complemented by first and last mile micro-mobility. Transportation will be maximized and managed sustainably, and knowing your consumer will be a significant common nominator for success. For mobility services to work seamlessly and efficiently, we need to connect cities, consumers and transport providers within an aligned operating framework. This framework must be flexible and adaptable, using different building blocks to deliver the best possible solution for every mobility perspective. Trafi is providing a crucial element for the industry - the technology combining all three platforms to optimize and power a holistic mobility ecosystem.
Sigrid Dalberg-Krajewski is the Group Head of Marketing and Communications at Trafi, where she's leading corporate communications, public affairs and marketing. Previously, Sigrid has been traveling on a road between diplomacy and PR. With a background in political science and governmental affairs, working at a handful of embassies, she later ventured out and into the startup world. Here, she's been part of building up the comms and brands for companies such as Zalando, trivago and Trafi. Her current mission is to shape mobility for the greater good and to include more women in the decision making process - after all, mobility is for everyone.
Accreditation of the new autonomous safety driver training course, launched in November last year, coincides with the government's recent update to the Code of Practice: Automated Vehicle Trialling.
CAV developers require experience in the world of vehicle testing and evaluation driving to comply with the latest government advice. Whilst OEM's and companies already established in the world of vehicle testing will, in the majority of instances, already comply, Start-ups and established technology companies not familiar with the ways of the motor industry may find themselves with a bridge to gap.
These strengthened Department for Transport guidelines reinforce the need to develop a detailed Safety Case before conducting trials, which includes safety driver or remote operator training. 4.14 of the Code states: 'Trialling organisations are expected to develop robust procedures to ensure the competency of safety drivers and operators.'
Chief Instructor Colin Hoad said:
"The course we have designed is unique, combining engineering knowledge with advanced defensive driving technique. Like CAT, many of the companies developing self-driving vehicles are independent. Their speciality lies in technology and AI, meaning developers will likely have had little or no experience testing within testbeds and test tracks.
CAT's newly accredited four-day course has been developed to support autonomous experts across a variety of fields, contributing to robust health and safety policy and procedure.”
To help educate and inform road users, as well as providing assurance on the safety of trials, the Code strongly advises trialling organisations make their Safety Cases freely available to the public (3.10). It is clear while the government supports the rapid acceleration of automated vehicle trialling, the priority for organisations is to include robust safety measures, training programmes and risk assessments in order to test on the public highway.
Course creator, Colin Hoad adds:
"We believe driving Intelligence is the missing piece of the self-driving puzzle. By uniting the testing and evaluation practices of today with vehicle dynamic driving principal; our training optimises existing CAV development projects to produce the most advanced driver of tomorrow.”
The autonomous safety driver course is accredited at the Level 4 category (comparable with a 1st year Degree) with 3 vocational learning credits from OCN Credit4Learning. Qualification body OCN adds:
“The panel discussed the programme and commended the writing and quality of thought and information in the course design. OCN look forward to working with CAT Driver Training Ltd.”
Delegates taking the course will be trained and tested using a varied selection of driving scenarios and road networks on the public highway, along with five different circuits in Millbrook Proving Ground. Written tests are included to confirm Highway Code and vehicle dynamics knowledge and learning outcomes.
UK-based Farmdrop is an ethical grocer, supplying local and sustainably produced food via an online grocery platform and mobile app.
As a company with a strong brand ethic, Farmdrop have adopted telematics as a way to extend their responsible and ethical business approach to their delivery operations. Running a fleet of 30+ Nissan and Renault Electric Vehicles to carry out last mile deliveries in London, Bristol and Bath, Farmdrop looked to LEVL to provide the Geotab telematics platform throughout the fleet.
In just a few months, Farmdrop has seen double digit improvements in driver behaviour and fuel/energy use in its fleet of electric delivery Vanimals. With a custom-tailored solution and driver behaviour Add-On, Farmdrop was able to monitor electric energy use and fuel high engagement among drivers for impressive early results.
Mike Pearson – Head of Growth @ Farmdrop commented “LEVL and Geotab has helped us make our fleet safer and more efficient. Using the driver behaviour Add-In, we have seen a 33% reduction in incidents of poor driving per mile. We have also seen a 27% reduction in the kW/mile we need to execute our London, Bristol and Bath routes.”
Compatibility with EVs is another key Geotab advantage, since Farmdrop’s entire fleet is electric. A different telematics supplier Pearson was considering could not read the information coming out of the vans’ electric power plants. Geotab had spent time developing a way to capture this data and generate meaningful reports
Andrew Pearce Director at LEVL commented: “We are pleased to be working with Farmdrop and providing real telematics data for their fleet of electric vehicles, we work closely with Mike and his team to develop new features, reports and dashboards that are specific to EV’s. The results that they have seen so far are fantastic and we are proud to be part of the success of the Farmdrop EV fleet”
LEVL Telematics is an Authorised Value-Added Reseller for Geotab and have over 50 years of combined telematics experience, LEVL telematics was created to provide industry leading fleet management and vehicle telematics solutions for all types of fleet including Electric Vehicles where we provide real-time data points for state of charge, KW/mile, range remaining/miles, charge remaining/%, kWh/100miles and additional diagnostic data.
We had over 600 Kicks on the road last weekend and only lost one.
By Michael Keating
Scoot Kicks locked to a bike rack in Santiago, Chile.
The difference is that by last weekend our entire fleet was equipped with our new Kick lock, a cable that attaches the Kick to a bike rack to prevent it from being stolen or parked in the wrong place. Loss rates with the lock are so low that we now project a Kick will be used for a year before it is lost or decommissioned. That is more than 6x the industry useful life for a scooter.
With the theft and vandalism and parking problems solved, we are ready to expand our Kick service in San Francisco, Santiago, and every other city where we operate, and to do it in a secure, orderly, sustainable manner.
We now know that the electric scooter boom of 2018 had an underlying flaw: The vehicles were being stolen and vandalized at such a high rate that they were effectively disposable, ending up in lakes, landfills, online auctions, and Instagram accounts. But before they became trash they were being ridden so often that the companies renting them out were actually making money.
Scoot stepped in the way we have with every other electric vehicle we have offered to our riders: We found a vehicle that could be adapted to sharing, wired it up to our platform, got permission from the local authorities to launch it, and launched it into the city under the close supervision of our full-time Field Techs and Rider Reps.
A Scoot e-bike being secured to a bike rack in Barcelona.
It didn’t take long for us to realize that the other electric scooter companies had been hiding something. We knew that theft would be a bigger issue with these smaller vehicles than it has been with our electric motos and bicycles, but we didn’t know how much bigger. As the losses grew to unsustainable levels, we pulled back, regrouped, and accelerated development of our Kick lock — an app-connected cable lock similar to the lock our riders use to secure our electric bicycles to bike racks in Barcelona.
We committed to San Francisco that we would redeploy our full 625 permitted Kicks once we were sure they could be operated sustainably and only a minimum number would end up as waste.
Today our entire fleets of Kicks in San Francisco and Santiago are equipped with our electronic, app-integrated infrastructure lock, and the lock is working. We have cut theft and vandalism to a minimum and are adding as many vehicles as the cities will let us deploy.
But a lock isn’t just about security. It is also about scooters being parked where they are supposed to be parked, and not wherever the last person left them, possibly in the way of pedestrians. An unsecured vehicle looks like a vehicle that no one cares about and that you shouldn’t care about either. When that vehicle is an electric vehicle that costs hundreds of dollars and carries the logo of a tech company, that company can look arrogant by just leaving it on the street unsecured. Securing the vehicle shows respect for public space and the community we share it with.
Unlocking a Kick in San Francisco.
The biggest challenge in this new, multi-billion dollar industry is just keeping the vehicles where they are supposed to be when they are not being used for quick, zero-emission rides around town. We solved that problem just a few months after launching our first version of this product. We were able to find a solution so quickly because we have been managing shared electric vehicles in cities longer than anyone else. We were the first company to put an electric two-wheeler on the street that you could locate and rent with your phone and then leave it in any legal parking space when you are done. Kicks are the fifth type of shared electric vehicle we have offered to our riders, after our mopeds, mini cars, bikes, and motorbikes. More are on the way.
Over the next ten years, every major city will embrace services like Scoot as much as they have embraced subways and buses. As a city-friendly, multi-modal, electric vehicle asset manager, our job is to demonstrate how to run these important new transportation services sustainably, equitably, and profitably, so that when they are being
"Michael Keating founded Scoot in 2012 to bring electric vehicles to everyone. Prior to Scoot, Michael built a successful transportation software business at OpenPlans and was a management consultant with GreenOrder and The Boston Consulting Group. Michael earned his BA at Wesleyan University, his Masters in Urban Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and his MBA at Harvard Business School. "
As 5G technology and smart cities continue to develop it is essential that we create broad alliances that empower from the bottom up and here at Shotl we are committed to this kind of 5G revolution.
For the last several years, Barcelona has been one of a handful of cities that has lead the way when it comes to the smart city revolution. Although its timelessly charming streets depict an urban environment drenched in abounding historic beauty, if you look close enough, you’ll find that there’s a current of digital innovation flowing just about everywhere. The city is already utilising modern infrastructure to create a more functional and integrated urban ecosystem; its streets have asphalt sensors that relay information about parking availability, and the city-wide use of 19,500 smart meters allows for the optimisation of energy consumption. In addition, Barcelona annually hosts the internationally renowned Smart City Expo World Congress which aims to “empower cities and collectivise urban innovation across the globe”.
Barcelona’s desire to harness new technology in order to find innovative solutions becomes even more intriguing when we look at the potential that technology can have in combatting the city’s well documented problems with air pollution. With over one million motorised-vehicle journeys taking place everyday, 60% of the nitrogen oxide found in the city’s atmosphere is caused by combustion engines. The city council has already taken steps to reduce emissions by placing a ban on the use of older private cars and vans travelling within the city centre and throughout 39 of its surrounding municipalities. The aim is to bring down emissions by up to 10% over the next 5 years, in keeping with the levels recommended by the World Health
Organisation. This is a good start, but innovation and technology can take us much further in tackling pollution, whilst also creating a city designed to look after its citizens’ well being; a future city that works better for everyone and is able to provide greater all-round accessibility based upon the needs of service users.
A mobility game-changer
5G technology is set to radically change both the way in which our cities function as well as our overall capacity for fluid communication. Fifth generation wireless network technology delivers lower-latency and increased bandwidth, making autonomous vehicles and greater interconnectivity through “the Internet of all things” a plausible reality. If used in the way in which Barcelona’s officials intend to, 5G will make Barcelona a truly smart city.
Barcelona is not only ahead of the game when it comes to urban-infrastructure, it’s also unique in how its leaders and governing bodies are pledging to mobilize and adapt the use of disruptive technologies. For many, the thought of an all-knowing, future city, with algorithms that know more than its citizens might be rather disconcerting, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Barcelona’s planners and representatives have openly stated their commitment towards decentralizing data. Francesca Bria, Chief of Technology and Digital Innovation for Barcelona City Council has spoken at length about the importance of a “citizen owned data ecosystem”, one that takes algorithmic control and data ownership away from big business, and allows data to be used in a way that directly benefits society at large, by creating a clear participatory approach where technology is employed as a means to better the urban experience.
So what would 5G mean for Barcelona?
With all this in mind, let’s take a look at how the rollout of 5G technology might be used within specific areas of the city. How can greater interconnectivity help to directly improve Barcelona’s neighborhoods? And how might their unique character inform and shape part of a new smart city?
Poble Nou is the city’s technological and creative heartland. With dozens of notable start-ups and co-working spaces operating out of 19th-century industrial buildings, its tech-savvy residents and workers will be the early adopters of 5G technology. The neighbourhood is currently part of a pilot project called Makers District which aims to inspire collective action, drawing on the “fab city” model whereby communities try to produce everything they consume (with a focus on sustainability) whilst using technology to work on a global scale (the data in, data out model).
The adoption of 5G will allow the globally connected businesses within Poblenou to transfer data up to five times faster than they are currently able to with 4G. This means that businesses will be able to communicate with zero latency. At a local level, increased connection speed means improved Machine-to-Machine interaction (M2M). Customers who want to make use of services like Glovo, a Barcelonabased courier service, can configure their devices to pay automatically and track deliveries in real-time with no lag.
L’Eixample is the 19th century gridded neighborhood that expands out from the old part of the city. The council is in the process of adopting a new traffic plan in this neighborhood, known as Superilles (Superblocks). The plan aims to create “minineighborhoods” set inside of a nine-block radius where no through-traffic can pass.
By redirecting through traffic, reducing the speed limit within these mini-blocks to 10KM per hour, and making them only accessible to local residents, this part of the city will become more pedestrian-friendly and subsequently reduce overall congestion.
5G will allow for greater V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure) interconnectivity, increasing fluidity and allowing traffic to be better controlled under plans like Superblocks. As increased bandwidth will also allow for the emergence of automated vehicles, eventually, newer cars will also be able to utilise Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) communication to prevent accidents.
The densely populated neighborhood of El Carmel, like many in the hilly suburbs of the city, uses a fleet of smaller neighborhood buses (bus del Barri), to provide localized transport links. In El Carmel, these links are an essential service as they navigate steep inclines and connect residents to the greater citywide network. The use of on-demand technology can, and in fact already is, helping to make local bus services like this function more fluidly and efficiently.
Very recently, Shotl teamed up with TMB (Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona) to launch the city’s first On-demand shuttle service in the nearby neighborhood of Torre Baró. This service allows users to request, and be matched with a ride in realtime, improving first and last mile connectivity. When applied to a more central neighborhood like El Carmel, more intelligent public transit systems like this one can provide greater efficiency; decreasing the necessity for private car journeys and subsequently making our cities less polluted and less congested in the process.
Shotl and the 5G revolution
At Shotl, we believe that new technology should be used to improve and change the way we think about transportation. We know that cannibalization within the mobility market place should be prevented and we support Barcelona’s vision to develop an open source, decentralized data-eco system that uses data to create better all-around mobility and service for everyone.
Our current and ever-growing collaboration with both public authorities and existing operators in cities around the globe is helping to fuel the mobility revolution. Platforms like the Shotl On Demand App are revolutionizing the future of mobility, by placing the management and scheduling of public transit into the hands of service users and allowing for a more collaborative, citizen-led planning process.
As 5G technology and smart cities continue to develop it is essential that we create broad alliances that empower from the bottom up and here at Shotl we are committed to this kind of 5G revolution.
Transportation-as-a-Service (TaaS) Technology will be evolving into a co-located conference and exhibition will be held on the 9th and 10th July 2019, at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham, UK. The first event in 2018 was a tremendous success and we attracted 300+ senior level delegates, over 30 sponsors and over 50 international expert speakers.
As per 2018 TaaS Technology will cover Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) and Future Mobility, enabling the strong over-lap between the two conferences to allow attendees and exhibitors to be exposed to relevant supply chains, customer and supplier based, saving you time and money from attending separate events. The TaaS Technology event is put together by leading industry experts, partners include Coventry University and Warwick University, and bringing international experts for two days of in-depth discussions and exhibits focused on the opportunities and challenges of a mobility future that leverages CAVs, EVs, Energy, Infrastructure and TaaS technologies.
Attendees to the conference will hear industry-leading insiders delivering more than 40 presentations spanning eleven key topics. TaaS Technology Conference is the must attend event for all professionals involved within the CAV, EV, Energy/Battery, Charging, Infrastructure & Future Mobility industry.
This conference will equip the delegates with an up-to-date overview and insight to the future of the CAV and TaaS industry, providing many opportunities to meet other key players within this community.
The presentations will cover several key topics, which collectively will provide complete coverage the CAV and TaaS industry as we accelerate to a TaaS future:
KEY TOPICS COVERED
Including following speakers;
Huawei, Vision Mobility, Ridecell, JUMP Bikes, Trafi, Alibaba Cloud, Arcadis, Auto Trader, Autocab, Autonomous Mobility, British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA), Claytex, Cube Intelligence, Europcar, Hogan Lovells, InMotion, Intel, iomob, KPMG, LimeBike, Met Office, Ridecell, SkedGo, TomTom, Uber, Volkswagen Group AG, What3words…and more.
Focusing on the opportunities and challenges of a mobility future that leverages EVs, the developments in the Energy/Battery Technologies which will accelerate mainstream adoption of EVs and the Infrastructure changes which will be required to ensure we have adequate resources to support the rise in the use of EVs
The presentations will cover and provide complete coverage on EVs, Energy/Battery, Infrastructure and TaaS industry as we accelerate to a TaaS future with EVs being adopted by the masses.
KEY TOPICS COVERED
Including the following speakers;
Auto Trader, BP, Chargemasters, Department for Transport (DfT), DriveElectric, Element Energy, EY, GreenMobility A/S, Hewitt Studios LLP, Hyundai Motor Group, ION Energy, KPMG, National Grid, P3 group, TomTom, Try EV, ubitricity …and more.
One of the key reasons for my involvement is that I believe that Mobility / Transportation as a Service will become the next great platform that will drive new business ideas, just as the internet and the smartphone have done in the recent past. The TaaS Technology conference promises to be an exciting event as it will give participants an early window into the future, and a substantial leg up to seek out new opportunities. The speakers are industry leading experts and there will be a wealth of knowledge and information available for attendees.
Don’t miss out this year as it’s going to be ‘Twice as nice’, with some fantastic speakers, hot topics and a real unique opportunity to network in a focused and intimate environment. For further information on speaking, sponsorship and exhibition opportunities please contact:
To recognise and highlight key industry achievements in advancing CAVs, EVs, Energy/Battery, Charging, Infrastructure and Future Mobility, the TaaS Technology Conference is proud to announce its TaaS Awards programme. With voting taking place online and presentations being made at the TaaS Technology Conference networking dinner on the 9th July 2019, Birmingham, the awards will put the spotlight on innovation. The awards programme is dedicated to celebrating those driving the future mobility industry forward.
Outstanding Autonomous Vehicle Technology Innovation of the Year
Fleets (and Retail) Innovation of the Year
Outstanding New Mobility Company or Organization of the Year
NOMINATIONS OPEN - 25 FEBRUARY 2019
NOMINATIONS CLOSE - 26 APRIL 2019
SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED & VOTING OPENS - 1 MAY 2019
VOTING CLOSES - 21 JUNE 2019
WINNERS INFORMED - 25 JUNE 2019
AWARDS CEREMONY - 9TH JULY 2019
Enter or nominate now free of chare - https://taas.technology/awards/home
By Leandro Margulis
Enter New York.
Zoom in on this street scene.
A woman hurriedly waves her hand in the general direction of the bustling street, hoping to catch a yellow cab driver’s attention. A few minutes in, she finds her lucky ride, only to have it snatched away by someone faster and lacking bedside manner.
While scenes like this one are a staple of cinematography, filmmakers will soon need a new one for the city. That is because mobility, as we know it, is changing at an incredible pace. It is becoming Mobility as a Service (MaaS), powered by location technologies from TomTom.
According to KPMG, MaaS is meant to make “every aspect of travel effortless, facilitating an ease of movement that would have been unimaginable to our forebears as they queued on platform, fought over taxis, or squeezed into buses.”
So how do we make mobility – and transportation, specifically – a seamless experience for everyone? By leveraging the power of location technologies.
TomTom Maps APIs allow developers to build location-aware applications that keep the world moving forward. Its uses are wide and hold the potential to improve the way we move in cities and beyond.
Use Cases for Mobility
As transportation changes, we see how location technologies increasingly power apps that help move people from A to B.
Here we can see how one developer is using our APIs to optimize the best way to pick up a passenger, including finding the best driver to get to a destination. This is just one of the ways in which ride-sharing and ride-hailing apps can leverage TomTom Maps APIs today.
Another example is getting a realistic view of traffic hot spots by understanding traffic density. This can be done by comparing road elements within an area of interest to identify traffic dense locations.
TomTom Traffic Density, recently launched in April 2019, supports business intelligence and geo-marketing activities for a wide range of industries, from real estate to advertising. Imagine being able to find the best location for new retail stores, storage venues or outdoor advertising, or even identifying potential accident hot spots.
Multi-Modal Trip Planning
Perhaps even more exciting is a use case for multi-modal transportation.
Earlier this year, the world’s first truly comprehensive multi-modal trip planner was introduced as a result of an alignment between Microsoft, Moovit and TomTom.
Unlike any other, this solution identifies all of the driving, parking and public transit options available in real-time within one trip plan, putting the transportation choice in the hand of the commuter. The benefits are significant not only for suburbanites who don’t know where to park their car or which transit line to take in lieu of driving into the city, but also cities themselves.
Multi-modal transportation is bound to improve urban mobility, reduce congestion in cities and, ultimately, enable a seamless travel experience in, through and out of the city.
Through integration with Azure Maps, Microsoft’s location intelligence platform for the Azure cloud, developers will be able to integrate multi-modal trip planning to their IoT, mobility, smart city and logistics solutions.
The Science Behind
TomTom is offering TomTom’s Routing API and Traffic API, combined with Moovit’s transit APIs to create full multi-modal mapping capabilities for developers on Azure Maps and precise ETAs.
The Routing API enables planning a route from A to B, considering both historical and real-time traffic conditions. Applications can provide users with highly accurate travel times and live updated travel information and route instructions.
Use cases include calculating departure times, evaluating the amount of fuel needed for any route or planning a route through as many as 50 intermediate waypoints.
Traffic API is a suite of web services designed for developers to create web and mobile applications around real-time traffic, traffic jams and incidents around the road network. Traffic incidents provide an accurate view on traffic jams and incidents around a road network and traffic flow provides real-time observed speeds and travel times for all key roads in a network.
Some common use cases for Traffic API are displaying traffic delay data with delay details like location, length, and delay, indicating the accurate location of slowdowns with colored tubes indicating the delay severity or combining the traffic flow speed information with other real-time traffic information for a traffic management monitoring application.
Our cities today are noisy, congested and polluted. People are stressed, sitting in traffic on their commutes, struggling to find parking, paying high costs for fuel and breathing dirty air that’s deteriorating the environment.
Imagine a future where traffic flows freely and accidents don’t happen. Where people move with ease in cities that are greener and quieter.
By leveraging the power of location technologies, we can work together to make that future a reality.
Leandro Margulis is the VP & GM of Developer Relations at TomTom, the leading independent location technology specialist, shaping mobility with highly accurate maps, navigation software, real-time traffic information and services. In this role, Leandro sits at the intersection of product and business, leading TomTom's Developer Relations organization: a global, multidisciplinary 25-person team including sales, marketing, product marketing and developer relations, with team members in the U.S., Poland and the Netherlands.
Prior to joining TomTom, Leandro served as the VP of Strategic Partnerships & Alliances at Cint, where he was responsible for developing a new business unit around data collaboration and supply with “non-traditional” partners such as publishers, app developers and Data Management Platforms (DMPs) for data distribution of self-declared, deterministic, first party data. Leandro also founded Searchnwork, a recruiting and confidential job search platform, as well as TrazeTag, inventing a visual durable radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag for tracking high value assets outdoors in harsh environments.
Leandro's additional leadership roles previously held include Senior Consultant at Deloitte, Managing Director at Impulsa Business Accelerator, Director of Global Strategic Partnerships at Quixey, and Senior Director of Product Management and Business Strategy at a stealth travel and leisure startup. Leandro holds a B.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Florida International University and an MBA from Yale University.
Q1: Can you explain a bit more about Vulog and the company’s key strengths?
Vulog was founded in 2006 and is the world’s leading technology provider for shared mobility services, such as car-sharing. We provide an advanced technology platform for providers to rapidly and efficiently enter the shared mobility market.
We are unique on the market for several reasons:
Q2: Who are you customers and potential customers as the revolution in mobility starts to take shape?
Last year we announced 12 new projects, some of them with very large carmakers (Kia, PSA and Dongfeng). This demonstrates just how quickly shared mobility is accelerating. We anticipate 2019 to be a breakthrough year for car-sharing services and we will be launching several large-scale services in Europe and the US in particular by the end of the year.
We also see huge customer potential in China. It is already the largest car-sharing market in the world, with massive growth potential. We already have one operation in Wuhan that has the potential to grow significantly. The other great opportunity in China is the strong ambition of many domestic brands to enter global markets. We’re currently talking to several Chinese companies about entering international markets through mobility sharing operations that can be set-up and deployed within three-to-six months. That’s very exciting.
Q3: You provide both the software and the hardware to your customers – can you break down what they are getting and how long implementation might take into fleets?
We provide the full technology stack that makes it possible to run an efficient car-sharing service with the best customer experience. We provide a customisable end-to-end technology solution: a smart mobility platform with predictive capabilities, a back-office for the operator to manage its service and optimise its fleet, white label apps, advanced analytic tools and, if needed, OEM-compliant hardware in the car. Our unique experience with customers around the world, combined with our Artificial Intelligence proficiency, enables us to anticipate end-user demand unlike any other, while optimising fleet balancing. Implementation into fleets generally takes between three and six months depending on the size of the fleet and the method of monetisation.
Q4: There is a lot of collaboration happening in the industry between different parts of the value chain – do you see partnerships as a key enabler to drive the industry forward?
Collaborations are most definitely key to moving the car sharing industry forward. The partnerships that we have are enormously successful and are the reason that we enjoy our leading position. More broadly, collaborations are a major contributing factor behind the rapid pace of growth for shared mobility in recent years.
We collaborate throughout the value chain. The most obvious area is our collaboration with service providers. We listen to what they want to offer and how they want to enter the market and provide our extensive experience and technological know-how to help make it happen quickly and effectively. Part of that process is collaboration with the other stakeholders required to make the services work profitably: city administrations, payment services and EV charging providers, for example. Again, it’s part of our business model to be the central lynchpin to co-ordinate and integrate these component parts of the infrastructure.
Beyond service providers, we are also collaborating with manufacturers of the vehicles to integrate our software into the vehicle itself. This will make it even easier for service providers to select the car, van, kick-scooter or moped for their fleet.
Q5: Vulog have been quoted as saying car sharing is seen as the stepping-stone to autonomous mobility – Can you explain this a bit further?
Carsharing is the stepping stone to autonomous mobility. By operating a carsharing service today, mobility operators acquire the expertise and experience in order to be relevant in future as autonomous shared mobility operators. Experience of marketing a mobility service, fleet optimisation, vehicle maintenance, vehicle charging, customer relationship management, and relationship with cities will all make this possible.
Running a carsharing service is part of the journey to being able to progressively phase autonomous vehicles into shared mobility services. The switch to autonomy will be progressive and will need to be managed accordingly.
We already have the capability to accommodate autonomous vehicles in our platform, having already conducted successful trials with an autonomous vehicle partner.
Q6: Vulog were Platinum sponsors of the TaaS Technology conference in July 2018 and we loved hearing about the fantastic work you are doing. 8 months down the line, what are the exciting and innovative projects that Vulog is working on for 2019?
Well, what we find most exciting is that we are expanding fast: we powered 15 million journeys worldwide in 2018 and are estimating powering 25 million this year.
We have several new projects in the deployment phase that will be live soon, many in North America and Europe.
As we discussed earlier, we’re speaking to a number of Chinese companies about how they could enter western markets with sharing mobility operations, rather than through traditional private car sales models.
In December, we showcased our capability on an autonomous vehicle in Nice, France, which was a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our platform’s readiness to accommodate shared autonomous vehicles.
Just a few weeks ago, we also announced a transformative new suite of features being rolled out into our AiMA (Artificial Intelligence Mobility Applied) software platform, all fuelled by Vulog's data insight and artificial intelligence proficiency. Key amongst the new features is the ability for service providers to offer both free-floating and advanced bookings within the single app with a single fleet of vehicles. This makes the service far more appealing for customers and dramatically increases profitability for operators. Other new features include improved predictive demand management, specific electric fleet management enhancements, and the integration of autonomous shared mobility capabilities.
Q7: What are your thoughts on the future of mobility? Where do you think we will be in 15 years’ time? Will car ownership be gone and car sharing be the future?
I believe everyone now agrees that the future of urban mobility is electric, shared and ultimately autonomous. With cities more and more congested and polluted than ever, users are looking for cheaper and more convenient alternatives to car ownership, new shared mobility services are part of the solution.
“When will this become the norm?” is the big question. It will most likely be faster in western Europe as many cities are taking the lead on implementing restrictions on combustion engines. And because of this, it will certainly not take 15 years for this change to happen in large cities.
Shared mobility will have a significant impact on many existing businesses such as carmakers, dealerships, insurance and transportation companies and many more. Some are already adapting and embracing shared mobility; others seem very reluctant to see this change coming and may suffer as a result.
Will car ownership be gone in 15 years’ time? I don’t think so. While mobility in large cities will definitely be shared (we could imagine private cars might be banned from city centers, for example) deploying these mobility solutions in smaller cities will be much more challenging and the question of financial sustainability will need to be addressed. But let’s be honest, nobody knows what mobility will look like in 15 years from now.
With over 95 billion parcels delivered worldwide in 2018, last mile delivery has long been a focus of logistics service providers. Consumers want their products here, and now. Retailers report that over 71% of consumers demand same-day or next-day delivery. And with last mile delivery costs often reaching 50% of total parcel transportation costs – last mile delivery has become a key differentiator for retailers and logistics companies alike.
Global Positioning Systems (GPS) today provide limited accuracy to TaaS providers: with performance scores of 4- to 35-meter positioning accuracy at 95% (according to European Space Agency – Galileo Service), the Global Positioning System is not precise enough.
AI-based computer vision technology emerges as a low-cost and precise solution for the last mile problem, enabling navigation and localization at a greater precision than GPS can ever provide, using the visual information from a camera only. This allows couriers to reduce last mile delivery times and costs by up to 40%, while accurately guiding them to the exact drop-off location.
With the expected autonomous delivery bots around the corner – computer vision solutions seem to be imperative.
The last mile delivery problem
Last mile delivery – the delivery of goods from a transportation hub to the final destination - is bearing the burden of the eCommerce boom and the rise in urban population. Over the past 10 years, internet retail sales have increased from $290 billion to $1.6 trillion, and the urban population has increased from 3.4 billion to 4.2 billion.
Parcel volume is increasing at an annual rate of 21%, while the challenges facing the delivery process become more apparent: 19% of customers in the United States poorly rate parcel delivery accuracy, 13% of parcel deliveries in the United Kingdom do not deliver on time, and 12% of deliveries in the UK fail the first time. These challenges lead to unsatisfied customers, parcel returns, and increased delivery times and costs.
Every day, countless couriers have to call customers for directions because of poor localization accuracy. Every day, time and money are wasted looking for delivery locations.
The last mile problem is expected to worsen as more consumers now go online. Companies in the logistics and retail industries are being forced to adapt to meet the fulfillment demands of their consumers and face difficulties keeping in line with the speed of the online age, while also suffering from dwindling margins.
The solution: AI-based computer vision
Today, computer vision provides a solution to the last mile parcel delivery problem.
AI-based computer vision works similarly to the human eye and brain, but more accurately. Let us reflect for a moment on driving a very familiar route — from our home to our office, for example. We’d be able to infer where we are without the use of a GPS or LIDAR. When we see the Eiffel tower, we know we are in Paris, we know from what angle we are looking at it, and our brain figures out exactly where we are.
In recent years, the development of computer vision has taken an incredible leap forward. Whereas humans see a frame and recognize it, a computer sees a series of scattered data points. Today’s state of the art technologies can interpret these data points, allowing a computer to infer its location and understand what’s around it - with extreme precision, and without the use of GPS.
Computer vision solves the last mile problem by using its centimeter accuracy to precisely guide a courier or robot to its destination in real-time – basically minimizing the mistakes and time consumption of human error of finding the entrance or the specific building in a compound. Instead of struggling to find its destination, the user can now see navigation arrows clearly leading them to their destination.
How it works
Classic computer vision techniques use deep neural networks to identify recognizable features with the camera’s line of sight. To perform image identification, machine learning techniques are trained to recognize various objects, such as walls, landmarks, and any data available in an entire frame. The neural networks then classify the images and extract their location within a millisecond (Chart 1).
Another key component of the technology is the high data mapping accuracy, which is stored in the cloud and perpetually updated from live footage provided by users. This mapping serves as a basis for further machine learning, training, and accuracy improvement. High-resolution data mapping is generally expensive and requires repetitive queries from Map Providers. However, computer vision can be used for cheap and sustainable ongoing mapping at a centimeter accuracy.
These components lead to the desired outcome: the computer knows where we are and what we are looking at, based only on the visual information on the camera. This technology updates and maintains the most updated street-level imagery through crowdsourcing, ever-increasing its accuracy. Once the computer has this information, it utilizes several display platforms to guide the courier: AR, Heads-up display, and more.
Computer vision’s precise last mile guidance greatly reduces last mile delivery times. Similar tests done in Dubai and Tel-Aviv have shown that drivers find locations easily and quickly, saving up to 41.5% of the time and costs, while also reducing the discomfort and pressure for both courier and customer. The associated costs of last mile delivery drop from up to $2.90 per parcel on average to below $2.00, along with an increase in many other indirect factors as client satisfaction.
In the medium to long-term, a clear revolution is evident - courier bots, or autonomous couriers based on computer vision, are in production and are expected to disrupt the parcel delivery field - providing extreme accuracy at almost zero labor costs. Navigating autonomously in a dense urban environment - particularly from the vehicle to the door – can be much more effective and accurate using computer vision only.
Computer vision and transportation as a service: the way forward
The last mile AI-based computer vision solution targets last mile delivery and logistics. However, last mile delivery is just a single example of what can be done using computer vision for Mobility Services.
The huge potential of micro-geolocation and navigation has caught the attention of transportation service providers that are always on the lookout for innovations: ride hailing, locomotive service providers, and automotive OEMs, among other companies across the value chain, tap into technology provided by companies that turn information received from a simple camera into actionable, spatial understanding, and into mapping data - namely Google, Mobileye, and White Raven.
Going forward, computer vision won’t only be a means to improve last mile navigation, but will also be one of the paramount foundations for autonomous driving. Autonomous cars require computer vision to perceive its surroundings with accuracy upwards of 99.9%, diminishing the fear of critical mistakes and replacing the costly LIDAR technology used today. Breakthroughs in computer vision technology suggest that in the near future we will be able to make fully autonomous vehicles that drive with computer vision alone – after all, humans drive without LIDAR.
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