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ITS World Congress in Hamburg: the smart mobility is moving forward!

Insights on the future of mobility at the 2021 ITS World Congress

The ITS World Congress is a worldwide event gathering the international industry of smart mobility’s systems and services. It is the annual meeting where digital, technology, mobility and logistics experts come together. The 2021 edition was a real success with 13 000 visitors and 400 exhibitors, even though sanitary measures were in place. The congress’s ambition is to push towards an eco-friendlier mobility, improve traffic flow and road safety, and finally reduce mobility’s environmental impact. Many themes were tackled to decarbonize our means of transportation and make mobility safer and accessible for everyone. This year’s edition was full of demonstrations, innovations, good practices, and new solutions which meet expectations and challenges from today’s societal and environmental challenges.

During this event from October 11th to 15th, three trends were widely discussed and are meant to be on the rise for the future of mobility.

Leveraging data to improve traffic conditions

Thanks to data intelligence, there are now new platforms and software tools to visualize and analyze traffic data and its different mobility scenarios. With those tools, it is possible today to monitor traffic conditions in real time to predict near term traffic condition with a greater accuracy. By integrating clear-cut data such as flow density, traffic speed or greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, it is possible to build a digital twin of today’s mobility system and flows, but also to predict and assess the impact that new measures could have on a city’s air quality. The data flows from connected vehicles (also called Floating Car Data, FCD) are boosted by the increasing number of connected cars and the number of value-added data suppliers is multiplying. The active presence at the ITS World Congress of leaders such as Here Technologies, Wejo, Mobileye, TomTom and INRIX is demonstrating this extensive trend. Today there is no traffic management centers, supervision TCCs, traffic engineering bureaus or transportation planning contractors which are not using this kind of data. Advanced information and explicit mobility data are keys for decision-makers to make the best decisions possible in their every day’s operations, but also in their mobility policies and strategies on the long run. Let’s take the highroad towards data intelligence to make mobility safer and more virtuous!

Artificial intelligence, the key for the autonomous mobility

The autonomous vehicle systems are paving the way for new mobility solutions and for increased travel safety. It is the convergent result between ride-hailing and vehicle automation which combines safety, efficiency, durability, and accessibility of transportation. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and MOIA (a mobility service in Hamburg and VW’s subsidiary) seized the opportunity to create a fleet of autonomous vehicles embedding Argo AI’s technology, an American AI start-up incubated by Ford. The first trial run of these minivans is to be made in Hamburg soon. These vehicles would offer a new efficient carpooling solution, reduce individual transportation, and relieve the public transportation overload networks. It optimizes the network’s capacity and the existing mobility infrastructures without having to spend big budgets on massive greenfield projects. If artificial intelligence enables an easier transition towards new forms of alternative mobility, we must not forget that the deployment of these new technologies will lead us to create new standards and a code of good practices to shape a balanced development for autonomous vehicles. These are complex topics to be tackled in a near future!

New forms of mobility and new vehicles for a better living

The 2021 ITS World Congresss was also the opportunity to discover tomorrow’s vehicles, centered on sustainable development and zero carbon.

Volocopter has flown its very first Volodrone on a 22-meter altitude. This flying drone can transport a load of up to 200 kg and travel as far as 40 km. It uses a battery and engines to run its 18 rotors. It is a promising technology which can make the existing logistic processes more robust, efficient, and sustainable.

Another example is the Infinite Mobility start-up that presented its solar powered tricycle for which it was acknowledged by the Future Hamburg Award jury. With an autonomy up to 30-40 km, this tricycle is ideal for urban deliveries or city commutes.

Yet, the traditional players were not left out! Honda was present with its electric road system which charges batteries of electric vehicles on the move. This system could relieve the anticipated charging stations network overload and increase the e-vehicles’ autonomy.

Data intelligence, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, new vehicles, electro-mobility, the technological and digital transformation of the mobility system is now speeding towards a sustainable world!

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