The Intelligent Transport System World Congress turns 25-years old this year and is being held Sept. 17-21 in Copenhagen.
Each year, more than 20,000 transportation professionals gather to share information about the latest developments and products in the industry. While buses and trains may have held the center of the crowd’s attention in decades past, these days it is all about the rapidly evolving world of mobility services. Indeed, the theme of this year’s event is “Quality of Life,” as governments and cities continue to approach mobility as a critical part of what makes cities and towns livable and enjoyable.
This year features one of the first demonstrations of its kind by Bestmile, Ibeo Automotive Systems, PARAVAN and Hanseatische Fahrzeug Manufaktur (HFM). The team of partners is offering free rides on a small fleet of on-demand electric autonomous shuttles. The demonstration features the following innovations from the participating companies:
- Bestmile’s Mobility Services Platform is used to configure and manage the service via an operator dashboard and supplies the traveler app used to hail vehicles.
- HFM manufactures the shuttles used in the demonstration.
- Ibeo Automotive Systems provides the Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor system for environmental perception and object tracking as well as the software for autonomous driving.
- PARAVAN delivers the steer by wire system Space Drive for the vehicles.
Registered ITS World Congress attendees can participate in the demonstration by making an appointment directly on the congress website or through the congress app. The demonstration is one of several autonomous vehicle demonstrations to be held at ITS, but the only one showcasing an on-demand solution that is integrated into a transit operation.
It’s a Jungle Out There
The demonstration navigates through a simulated Urban Jungle, where beasts of prey like gorillas, lions, and tigers will represent the obstacles fully autonomous vehicles will face in live urban landscapes. The vehicles navigate around every surprise that they encounter, and participants can experience state-of-the-art autonomous mobility in action.
Autonomous mobility promises to dramatically change the way people move in, out, and within cities, with the potential of shared electric vehicles to make private auto ownership optional and to reduce traffic and pollution. The technology and services of the future are drawing urban planners to reimagine city life, as an auto-centric infrastructure of roads, parking facilities, fuel stations and repair shops give way to smarter cities with streamlined on-demand services.
It’s All About Quality of Life
Quality of Life is a fitting theme for this year’s Congress, as improved quality of life is at the center of new mobility service planning and smart city technology and design. Some estimates have shown that every shared electric autonomous vehicle could replace 11 private cars, with more convenient access because there will be little lag-time between hailing a ride and reaching one’s destination.
Reducing the number of vehicles on city streets by as much as 90 percent and trading shared vehicles for private ownership can free up time, money, and space for other interests and activities.
- Commuters could save hours each day—what will they do with that extra time?
- The cost of mobility is likely to decline as private auto ownership—estimated to cost some $9,000 per year for an asset that spends 95 percent of the time parked will save consumers vast sums of money.
- Freeing up open space currently dedicated to parking and vehicle services could create benefits like increased open space and more room for desperately needed housing.
When will it happen? The shift is likely to be gradual, and participants in the Bestmile/Ibeo/HFM/Paravan demonstration get taste of the future when they hail a ride at this year’s ITS World Congress.