UK to implement standard to decarbonise buildings

UK to implement standard to decarbonise buildings

A group of leading industry organisations, such as the Royal British Institute of Architects, have come together to create a building standard that will verify net-zero carbon buildings in the UK. This was after a report was conducted that concluded that a more robust means of verifying buildings as net zero carbon was desired by the UK real estate sector.  

The standard will be named the UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard and it will aim to help the industry to ensure and prove that buildings claiming to be net-zero are holding up to that claim.  

It is expected that claims will be required to validated on basis on in-use measured data and interim verification of an asset at design stage or once the asset is built but not yet operating may also be considered. 

It is hoped that this standard will encourage industry to decarbonise and help the country meet its 2035 and 2050 emissions targets.  

RIBA president Simon Allford stated: “This is a really exciting and timely initiative that will help the entire industry to move forward in its efforts to reach net-zero carbon. Working together we will address current ambiguities around the much-used term and develop a common understanding, based on clear performance targets, to support all those involved in the procurement, design, construction and operation of buildings.” 

Net-zero carbon buildings are designed to eliminate all emissions over a building’s lifetime. This takes into consideration both embodied carbon, which are emissions caused by the construction supply chain, and operational carbon, which are emissions caused by a buildings use.  

The built environment is responsible for around 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, net-zero carbon architecture could help the UK meet its decarbonised targets.  

The UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard will verify both new and existing buildings and consider their operational and embodied carbon emissions.  

Smart traffic system benefits are “highly compelling” according to new report

Smart traffic system benefits are “highly compelling” according to new report

New research, Smart Management: Use Cases, Regional Analysis & Forecast 2022-2027, by Juniper research, has identified new benefits from smart traffic management systems. Global savings from smart traffic management systems are forecast to reach 205 million metric tons (MMT) by 2027, which represents growth of 41 per cent, up from just 145.7 MMT in 2022.  

Reducing congestion through optimised traffic control is said to be the main influencing factor of change. Smart traffic management uses digital technologies to manage traffic, based on real-time data to reduce congestion, and minimise emissions. 

Environmental benefits from smart traffic management systems are identified by the report to be “highly compelling.” The report identified smart intersections as a solution to the amount of time spent in traffic, reducing it by 36 hours on average per annum per motorist globally by 2027.  

Therefore, this suggests a 250 per cent increase in the adoption of smart traffic management systems over the next five-year period, and 4.7 billion hours congestion saved by then.  

Juniper’s research expects smart intersection investment will reach $10.2bn by 2027; rising from $5.2bn in 2022. It strives for smart intersection vendors to improve connectivity between road vehicles and the local road network ecosystem, mirroring government smart city initiatives.  

The report suggests that vendors leverage the low-latency capabilities of 5G combined with machine learning algorithms, to allow network adjustments to be made in real-time and improve the flow of traffic.  

Additionally, the research highlights cybersecurity must be considered when implementing smart traffic systems to ensure public support. This is to ease the public’s minds about data collection and storage.  

Cybersecurity must be prioritised when implementing smart traffic management systems, as user data is transmitted at every stage of the process. Cyberattacks have a given potential and therefore, strong cybersecurity strategies need to be in place to avoid any disruption to infrastructure. 

Juniper Research is a key player in providing research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector providing valuable insights into the industry.  

Siemens partners with university to decarbonise its buildings

Siemens partners with university to decarbonise its buildings

The university of East London has collaborated with global powerhouse Siemens to utilise their shared aspirations of achieving net-zero carbon by 2030. Siemens aim is to deliver improvement measures to reduce overall energy use.

They plan to use engineer solutions to push the shift to renewable and on-site low-carbon energy generation at UEL’s campuses in Stratford and the London Docklands.  

The partnership has been underpinned by innovation, decarbonisation and digitalisation with not only the aim of net-zero carbon, but to foster inclusivity by creating new learning opportunities for students and staff.  

The first phase of the project will immediately cut 10% of UEL’s carbon emissions and reduce operational cost by installing LED lighting in all buildings, and upgrading the building management system (BMS).  

In future phases of the partnership, Siemens plan to support UEL in the creation of an innovation hub for local green energy enterprises. This gives students opportunities to engage with the latest green technologies on-campus.  Mentoring and internships will be available to students to further strengthen their skills.  

Working together, UEL and Siemens will embed sustainability into the curriculum, allowing students to learn and develop the skills they need to create a green economy.  

Professor Amanda Broderick, Vice Chancellor and President, University of East London has said: “With our university-student-industry triple helix partnership approach, we are confident that we can achieve net-zero in our publicly engaged and vibrant learning environment where everyone can succeed. The campus carbon transformation will give our students the opportunity to become sustainability leaders of tomorrow. They will have access to the latest thinking in smart technology, to industry experience and mentorship and a vital edge in the jobs market.” 

The university and Siemens will continue to explore new ways of introducing local-scale energy projects that make an immediate difference to local communities in order to support the energy transition.  

 

Southern Californian traffic light project promises environmental and safety gains

Southern Californian traffic light project promises environmental and safety gains

Iteris, the Californian-based provider of hardware, software, and consulting services for smart mobility infrastructure management has been awarded a $3.7 million contract from the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) for a multi-year regional traffic signal timing project.

The population of southern California’s Orange County is expected to increase 13% by 2035 and to ease growing traffic demands, OCTA, the California Department of Transportation, the County of Orange and all 34 cities “are working together to coordinate traffic lights across the county” says Iteris.

The programme will significantly reduce countywide travel time, fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, while improving safety, mobility, reliability, and overall travel experience for all road users, including vehicles, buses, bicycles and pedestrians. “And by reducing delays and stops on key corridors for passenger vehicles and heavy vehicles, the project will help reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, which in turn will contribute to sustainable environmental and air quality improvements,” says Iteris.

Under the project agreement, Iteris will provide operations and infrastructure improvements at key intersections. Work includes identifying upgrades for traffic signal equipment, intelligent transportation system equipment and communication infrastructure, designing and constructing traffic signal system improvements, and developing and implementing optimised traffic signal synchronization timing plans throughout the cities of Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, Tustin, Westminster, and the County of Orange.

As part of the operations and maintenance phase of the program, Iteris will apply traffic data and analytics from the mobility intelligence capabilities of its ClearMobility Platform to optimise traffic management operations on an ongoing basis. Iteris will:

  • monitor the health and safety of intersections, and arterial travel times and reliability
  • identify and prioritise signal optimisations and arterial retiming efforts
  • identify congestion hotspots
  • understand how highway traffic impacts surrounding arterials

“We are proud to continue to support OCTA’s goal of improving the safety and mobility of road users by leading this traffic signal timing and infrastructure upgrade program,” said Bernard Li, vice president, Mobility Consulting Solutions at Iteris. “This initiative represents the continued expansion of Iteris’ mobility consulting services across the west coast, and will ultimately help to increase the value and effectiveness of the region’s existing transportation infrastructure, while also improving safety, air quality and reducing fuel consumption.”

The UK’s first full-sized Level 4 bus starts live testing

The UK’s first full-sized Level 4 bus starts live testing

The UK’s first full-sized autonomous bus started live testing this week in Scotland as part of the CAVForth project.

Transport operator Stagecoach, in partnership with Fusion Processing, bus maker Alexander Dennis and Transport Scotland, will be carrying out on-road testing – with a safety driver and without passengers – in preparation for the launch of a pilot service in late summer.

Project CAVForth, which is jointly funded by the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, will see five single-deck autonomous buses operating at SAE Level 4 over the Forth Road Bridge between Ferrytoll Park and Ride in Fife and the Edinburgh Park Train and Tram interchange.

The buses are fitted with Fusion Processing’s sensor and control technology, CAVstar, that enables them to run on pre-selected roads. The buses will provide a service capable of carrying up to 36 passengers on the 20km bridge route, with capacity for over 10,000 passengers a week.

The on-road testing in Scotland follows successful depot-based trials, track testing and virtual simulation where the buses have been put through their paces to fine tune the autonomous drive systems.

To help support the delivery of Project CAVForth, Transport Scotland recently opened a section of Actively Managed Hard Shoulder for buses of 24 seats or more on the M8 eastbound. It will help to reduce journey times and improve reliability on the approach to Edinburgh.

As part of Project CAVForth, around 500 members of the public have provided feedback on what would make them feel comfortable and confident in travelling, a key finding being that passengers want a member of staff to be on board.

Consequently Stagecoach is in the process of recruiting over 20 Autonomous Bus Professionals from across its East Scotland business. When the service goes live, these experienced bus drivers will monitor the autonomous system alongside a bus Captain who will move around the saloon, talking to passengers about the service and answering questions, demonstrating what a future service might feel like.

Jim Hutchinson, Fusion Processing CEO, said, “We are delighted to be leading the world’s most complex and ambitious autonomous vehicle programme. CAVForth will provide a useful service to local people as well as being a great demonstration of automated vehicle technology. The buses are fitted with CAVstar which combines our own hardware and software to create, safe, full-size buses, operating at SAE Level 4. On road testing is an exciting milestone in the development of autonomous commercial vehicles and we look forward to welcoming passengers onboard in a few months’ time.”

Chris Gall, Alexander Dennis Group Engineering Director, said “The start of on-route testing is a milestone for our autonomous bus project and helps us to explore new technologies that will make buses even safer and even more efficient. As we move towards passenger services later in the year, the project will be a landmark demonstration of future technologies in transport.”

Chris Gall, Group Engineering Director at Alexander Dennis is speaking at MOVE in London on 15/16 June. With over 600 speakers across 33 themed stages MOVE is the world’s most important mobility event. Find further details here

TomTom geolocation data integrates into Swarco’s MyCity

TomTom geolocation data integrates into Swarco’s MyCity

Austrian traffic technology corporation Swarco and TomTom, the Dutch multinational developer of geolocation technology and consumer electronics, have entered a strategic partnership which will see TomTom’s floating car data-based integrated into Swarco’s MyCity urban mobility management suite.

Millions of anonymously collected GPS data from apps, cars and devices used by TomTom’s traffic services will be used as a data-source for real-time travel information, delays, accidents, and other incidents causing roads problems, the partners explain.

This enhanced traffic management data will provide many benefits to MyCity customers, such as road authority managers who will be able to trigger strategies based on real-time floating car data to automatically adjust signal plans, reroute traffic, or take other traffic management actions. The system is designed to fill potential blind spots between existing roadside sensors to get a complete picture of the traffic situation.

The TomTom and Swarco collaboration includes a joint thought leadership program to “educate the market further on potential applications and aims to work with city officials, traffic managers, consultants, and partners on a ‘test drive’ of the newly available solutions.”

Christoph Stögerer, Vice President of Products & Solutions at Swarco says, “We’re delighted to enter into this strategic partnership with TomTom. Integrating their services into MyCity will enhance our traffic management solutions significantly. Deployable with little effort and time, the value-adds deriving from these integrations will greatly benefit our customers. It’s another example that shows MyCity not just as a holistic mobility management tool but also as a platform that offers cities access to a constantly growing number of ecosystem partners.”

Aurora self-driving tech tested on Toyota ride-hail trial

Aurora self-driving tech tested on Toyota ride-hail trial

Toyota and Aurora Innovation, the US developer of automated driving systems, have started testing an autonomous ride-hailing fleet in Texas. The hybrid electric cars are built on Toyota’s “Sienna Autono-MaaS” (S-AM) platform, retrofitted with Aurora’s self-driving system which relies on its proprietary FirstLight LiDAR for safe driving at highway speeds.

The Aurora Driver vehicles are equipped with the same software and hardware as Aurora’s Class 8 trucks and a key objective of the trial is to prove the transferability of its common core technology across two significant markets — trucking and passenger mobility.

The pilot routes are on public highways and suburban streets in the Dallas-Fort-Worth area, with the operation including airport trips. The vehicles are currently operating with two safety operators, but as yet, no passengers are on board. Aurora says it plans to launch its commercial ride-hailing service Aurora Connect in 2024.

The test route requires cars to manoeuvre Texas U-turns (an unusual road configuration also known as a loop around), high-speed merges, and lane changes. The vehicles have also responded to vehicles on the hard shoulder, various forms of construction, stop-and-go traffic, inclement weather, pedestrians, motorcyclists, traffic lights, and more.

“The route showcases Aurora’s ability to safely operate at highway speeds, a key technical differentiator that allows it to prioritise popular and lucrative rides,” Aurora said in a statement.

Ted Ogawa, President and CEO of Toyota Motor North America said, “We congratulate Aurora on reaching their milestone of integrating its Aurora Driver technology onto our Toyota Autono-MaaS platform vehicle. We look forward to seeing Aurora’s future deployment plans.”

Sterling Anderson, Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder at Aurora added, “Toyota’s engineering team is truly world-class. We’ve designed and delivered a purpose-built test fleet specifically for a ride-hailing experience that’s comfortable, convenient, and safe, and we look forward to sharing more on our progress soon.”

Aurora plans to continue adding vehicles to the fleet and testing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in preparation for commercial launch.

Featured at MOVE!
Chris Urmson, Co-founder and CEO of Aurora Innovation is presenting the opening keynote on day one at MOVE in London on 15/16 June. Toyota’s Chief Scientist, Gill Pratt is opening day two. With over 600 speakers across 33 themed stages MOVE is the world’s most important mobility event. Find further details here:

Wejo real-time traffic intelligence helps the unpredictable become manageable

Wejo real-time traffic intelligence helps the unpredictable become manageable

British smart mobility data company Wejo Group has launched Wejo RTTI, a real-time traffic intelligence solution that provides live insights on traffic conditions using aggregated data derived from millions of connected vehicles.

The Manchester based developer of cloud and software solutions for connected, electric and autonomous vehicle data says its Wejo RTTI can be used by public agencies, civil engineering firms, mapping and navigation providers and logistics companies to get a better view of what’s happening “here and now”.

Ultra-low latency means Wejo RTTI offers highly granular traffic updates and accurate traffic events, including real-time speeds and travel-times. It enables quick detection of changing traffic conditions, identification of road closures and unexpected slowdowns situations, “helping the unpredictable become more manageable”.

Wejo RTTI is available via APIs and is designed to be integrated into third party systems with applications including car/ride sharing, logistics companies and other gig-economy companies that want to improve their estimated time of arrivals. It could also be integrated into a dynamic pricing congestion charging system.

“Wejo has always been at the forefront of making connected vehicle data available to all – now we are doing the same for real-time traffic information to help our customers understand, anticipate, and respond to what is happening on roads and highways,” said Richard Barlow, Founder & CEO of Wejo. “Wejo RTTI can empower our customers to shape the future of transport and road safety to drive the future of smart mobility, smart cities and smart living.”

With direct access to connected vehicle data from approximately 12M vehicles in real-time, Wejo is providing access to real-time traffic insights that can “reinforce the backbone of smart city infrastructure and technology”. It also allows users to get a real-time view of roads, highways, and public infrastructure – not just where sensors, cameras and field devices are located. And as connected vehicle data becomes prolific and more cars become connected, both in sophistication and volume, Wejo says RTTI will provide a means for users to drill into previously inaccessible sources of real-time data.

“Traffic and transportation agencies, as well as government departments, can utilise powerful intelligent real-time aggregated data and insights from millions of connected cars to help accurately visualise traffic patterns, queuing vehicles, safety hotspots and road incidents as they happen,” said Graeme Sandieson, SVP Product Management for Wejo.

Featured at MOVE!
Wejo is the title sponsor at MOVE in London on 15/16 June. Richard Barlow, its founder and CEO, is presenting a keynote on day one. With over 600 speakers across 33 themed stages, MOVE is the world’s most important mobility event. Find further details here:

Interoperability key to Vodafone’s V2X road safety platform

Interoperability key to Vodafone’s V2X road safety platform

Vodafone has announced its new vehicle-to-everything (V2X) platform allowing road users and transport authorities to share data with one another in real time. Its ‘Safer Transport for Europe Platform’ (STEP) will provide a unified platform for sharing vehicle data, helping deliver traffic updates and hazard warnings

For many years, vehicles have been growing increasingly more computerised and connected, with various commentators comparing modern cars to smartphones on wheels, writes Harry Baldock from Total Telecom. This increase in vehicle digitalisation has many clear benefits, from mobile applications using location data to warn drivers of upcoming traffic to external sensors that alert drivers to potential hazards beyond their line of sight.

But despite this plethora of available data, interoperability been these apps and sensors remains limited. Vodafone points out that road safety updates, for example, are still typically conveyed to drivers by road infrastructure itself, such as electronic boards and motorway gantries, or by a limited number of compatible technologies like in-vehicle navigation systems.

To solve this challenge, Vodafone has set about to create a unified platform through which this data can be shared. Based on cloud-based, open architecture, STEP will be compatible with all third-party apps and in-vehicle navigation systems, allowing drivers to receive road safety updates quickly across all of their devices and in-vehicle systems.

“This scaled platform enables the delivery of vital safety information to all road users, no matter what app or system they rely on,” explained Vinod Kumar, CEO of Vodafone Business. “STEP encourages the collaboration needed between transport authorities, app developers and the automotive industry to unlock the full value of data and connectivity in helping make Europe’s roads safer.”

Upon launch, STEP will focus on delivering safety messages and targeted updates, like lane closures, speed restrictions, and traffic incidents. However, as the system develops and its functionality improves, it could also help map the road network in real-time. This will allow for the delivery of far more specific alerts, such as warning a driver of a cyclist hidden in their blind spot or pedestrians preparing to cross the road around the next bend.

The technology has been developed by Vodafone UK in collaboration with Nokia and Chordant, with the trio working with other automotive players, transport authorities, and third parties to expand the ecosystem.

STEP is set to be launched within Vodafone’s planned Vodafone Automotive apps later this year.

Telecoms operators interest in V2X technology is nothing new. Standardisation for V2X technology based on 4G LTE was introduced by the standards body 3GPP back in 2016, with other connectivity technologies, like wireless local area networks, being explored for V2X even earlier with limited success.

However, it was not until the advent of 5G in 2019 that cellular V2X began to gain serious traction from both the automotive and telecoms communities. This is largely related to 5G’s inherent improvements over these older technologies; unlike 4G, 5G has the potential to deliver ultra-low latency and high bandwidth that will allow for real-time communication.

In a driving scenario, where a fraction of a second’s delay can be a matter of life and death, the widespread availability of 5G will prove crucial to effective V2X communications, lighting the way towards fully autonomous driving in the (albeit distant) future.

Vodafone conducted successful V2X trials in the UK in summer last year. Telecom Italia (TIM), Telefonica, and BT/EE all participated in live V2X trials at the end of 2021 as part of the 5G Automotive Association. Meanwhile, each of the three major telecoms radio access network (RAN) equipment vendors – Ericsson, Nokia, and Huawei – are working on their own V2X technologies, often in tandem with major automotive players.

The V2X market is evolving rapidly with, according to a new report from market intelligence firm Reports and Data, an annual growth rate of over 40% creating a $26 billion industry by 2030.

What role will 5G play in the UK’s growing connected car industry? Learn from the experts at this year’s Connected Britain conference, a sister event to MOVE

UPS trials electric cargo quad bikes across Europe, US and Asia

UPS trials electric cargo quad bikes across Europe, US and Asia

Delivery giant UPS is trialling a four-wheeled “eQuad” electric cargo bike for deliveries in densely packed urban areas, where bikes have better and easier access than conventional vehicles and are often faster.

UPS has ordered around 100 of the four-wheeled electric bikes, designed and built by British firm Fernhay, which it will test initially in seven European markets with trials in the United States and some Asian markets set to follow. Luke Wake, UPS vice president of fleet maintenance and engineering, said it would use electric quad bikes from other manufacturers within the trials.

The Fernhay eQuad has an electric-assisted top speed of around 25 kilometres and can carry up to 200 kilograms of packages. Its electric battery has a range of around 65 km, more than adequate for a shift delivering in inner urban settings.

The vehicle is only 91 cm wide, meaning it can legally use bike lanes and enter pedestrian zones that UPS’ vans and trucks cannot access. UPS believes there is an opportunity to scale up the use of the bikes in megacities and “complement its range of vans and trucks”.

“There are more and more opportunities for zero-emission solutions like this that can alleviate inner-city congestion,” Wake said, adding “It can also help our operations be more efficient at the same time.”

UN adopts resolution to encourage everyday cycling

UN adopts resolution to encourage everyday cycling

The 193 members of the UN General Assembly have unanimously adopted a resolution that recognises the importance of the bicycle for sustainable development and as an everyday means of transportation to promote cycling, while also citing the bicycle as a tool for combatting climate change.

The new UN resolution says countries worldwide should “integrate cycling into public transportation in urban and rural settings in developing and developed countries, improve road safety and promote the use of bicycles by people and businesses to ensure sustainable development and reduce transport emissions”.

The non-binding bill was proposed by Turkmenistan, with joint authorship from nine other countries, including Bahrain, Burundi, Philippines and Vietnam.

Introducing the resolution, Turkmenistan’s representative observed that the bicycle “was invented over 200 years ago and has been a major mode of transportation for 140 years, with one billion bicycles in circulation worldwide and half of humanity having access to cycling.”

Underscoring cycling’s health benefits and important role in decreasing transport emissions worldwide, Turkmenistan’s representative said that many countries, especially in the developing world, still see cycling as a sport rather than transport, something that must change.

Maas Global’s Brazilian acquisition secures foothold in Latin America

Maas Global’s Brazilian acquisition secures foothold in Latin America

Finnish company MaaS Global, which lays claim to being the world’s most mature mobility-as-a-service operator, has acquired Quicko, the leading MaaS player in Brazil.

MaaS Global is the company behind the Whim app, which when it launched in 2016 was the first to offer a commercial integrated service model with options from both public and private transportation providers, such as bus, train, tram, bicycle, taxi, and rental car companies.

Whim is currently live in several European and Asian markets and the acquisition enables MaaS Global to gain “a valuable footprint in Latin America alongside a highly respected Brazilian partner”.

Sampo Hietanen, CEO and Founder of MaaS Global says, “We see a huge opportunity to make a big sustainability leap in Brazil. Historically, the number of private cars has risen together with the standard of living. We believe Brazil can make a digital leap, hop over the car ownership stage, and take Brazilians straight to the MaaS services.

“This would improve the well-being of the people, resolve cities’ traffic problems and provide an efficient way to cut down CO2 emissions. We are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, which makes the need for action even more urgent. Together with Quicko, we want to provide the people in Brazil a more equitable and sustainable freedom of mobility than car ownership can.”

With over 500,000 users, Quicko currently operates in eight Brazilian metropolitan areas and in over 100 cities. It offers AI trip planning for smarter and more optimised urban travel by combining public and private transport modes available in each city. Quicko also includes full mobility payment integration.

Pedro Somma, CEO of Quicko says, “We are very excited to join forces with MaaS Global in an ambitious global strategy to improve people’s mobility experience. Quicko has been successful in growing in huge Brazilian cities, impacting hundreds of thousands of people every month. There is a massive opportunity ahead of us for MaaS in areas across the country and the continent. We are confident that together we will be able to seize it better, create more value for our customers and change travel behaviors faster”.

Quicko has historically been backed by CCR and J2L Partners, who will both become MaaS Global shareholders. CCR, one of the largest infrastructure companies in Brazil.

“Innovation is a key element in CCR’s strategy to lead the human mobility infrastructure. We are confident that this deal will expand Quicko and CCR’s impact on innovation worldwide and inspire us to keep investing in transforming people’s experience”, says New Business Development Officer, Gustavo do Canto Lopes from CCR.

Líbano Barroso from J2L adds, “With this transaction, we reach global scale and improve our technological capacity and business model while aligning with the best strategies and practices of global urban mobility players.”

Melbourne’s Intelligent Corridor tests connected transport technologies at scale

Melbourne’s Intelligent Corridor tests connected transport technologies at scale

One of Melbourne, Australia’s busiest roads is to be equipped with the latest smart traffic-management systems using state of the art technology to reduce traffic jams and improve road safety.

Launched by the University of Melbourne together with Austrian ITS technology firm Kapsch TrafficCom and Victoria State’s Department of Transport, the ‘Intelligent Corridor’ covers a 2.5km stretch of Nicholson Street between Alexandra and Victoria Parades. The Intelligent Corridor will use sensors, cloud-based AI, machine-learning algorithms, predictive models and real-time data capture to improve traffic management, with the goal of easing congestion, improving road safety for cars, pedestrians and cyclists, and reducing emissions from clogged traffic.

The corridor will leverage a number of traffic sensors already installed as part of Melbourne’s live laboratory project, known as the Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES).

Run out of the University of Melbourne, AIMES covers over 100km of road and claims to be the world’s “first and largest ecosystem” for testing emerging connected transport technologies at large scale in complex urban environments.

Professor Majid Sarvi, AIMES director and professor of transport engineering at the University of Melbourne, says the Intelligent Corridor marks a significant new phase for the project, providing a new level of monitoring, “with sensors on every intersection and a host of initiatives that will create a world-leading traffic-management system”.

The Intelligent Corridor, he adds, will provide a model for cities around the world to reduce the costs of urban congestion.

The project will collect before-and-after data and the corridor’s performance will be fine-tuned on an ongoing basis over the next three years, providing important evidence for implementation in other cities.

The corridor uses Kapsch TrafficCom’s corridor-management platform EcoTrafiX. Matthew McLeish, TrafficCom executive vice-president for Asia Pacific, said, “This technology is laying the groundwork for a sustainable and congestion-free future, using the very best in multi-modal demand management technologies.”

US rules to ensure safety of occupants in automated vehicles

US rules to ensure safety of occupants in automated vehicles

The US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a first-of-its-kind final rule to ensure safety of occupants in vehicles equipped with automated driving systems (ADS).

Before the new rule, occupant protection standards were written for vehicles with traditional features including steering wheels and other manual controls. The rule updates the standards to clarify what is required of manufacturers when applying the standards to ADS-equipped vehicles without traditional manual controls.

Critically the rule clarifies that vehicles with ADS technology must provide the same levels of occupant protection as current passenger vehicles.

The ruling is part of NHTSA’s ongoing efforts to ensure the public’s safety as vehicle automation evolves. NHTSA’s approach to advanced vehicle technologies prioritises safety across multiple areas, including data collection and analysis, research, human factors, rulemaking and enforcement.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, “This new rule is an important step, establishing robust safety standards for ADS-equipped vehicles. Through the 2020s, an important part of USDOT’s safety mission will be to ensure safety standards keep pace with the development of automated driving and driver assistance systems.”

Dr Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator adds, “As the driver changes from a person to a machine, the need to keep the humans safe remains the same and must be integrated from the beginning.”

Last summer, NHTSA issued a Standing General Order requiring crash and incident reporting for vehicles equipped with ADS and certain advanced driver-assistance systems. This reporting will help NHTSA investigators quickly identify defect trends that could emerge in automated systems.

Slovakian Hydrogen-electric minibus targets urban transit across Europe

Slovakian Hydrogen-electric minibus targets urban transit across Europe

Slovakian zero emission bus developer Mobility & Innovation has launched an 8-metre, 21-passenger hydrogen-electric minibus which is claimed to be the most fuel efficient and quickest to refuel vehicle of its kind in the world.

The H2Bus features a novel alternative fuel system designed and supplied by British company Luxfer Gas Cylinders, which says the launch marks an important milestone in delivering zero-emissions solutions for urban transit across Europe.

Requiring just 10.5 kilograms of hydrogen to achieve more than 400 km of range. To maintain optimum fuel efficiency, the weight of all components was minimised, and it was designed to deliver the fastest re-fueling of any equivalent bus on the market.

The fuel system incorporates Luxfer’s proprietary liner-processing technology, resulting in cylinders that are among the highest-capacity, fastest to refill and lightest Type 3 alternative fuel cylinders in the world, making them “ideal for transit buses, light, medium and heavy-duty trucks, refuse vehicles and bulk gas transportation modules.”

The system was developed at Luxfer Gas Cylinders’ site in Nottingham, working alongside worldwide partners to deliver the project in just nine months – around three times quicker than standard clean bus builds.

The minibus will now journey across Slovakia, Italy, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, proving the viability of the technology, with the goal of securing commercial orders.

Speaking at the launch in Bratislava, Luxfer’s European Business Development Manager, Jim Gregory said, “This project was designed, built, tested and homologated in much less than one year, in collaboration with a dynamic team of engineers and suppliers from seven different European countries. We’re extremely proud to see the H2Bus come to fruition – this is significant in helping many more bus operators and governments become another step closer to achieving their zero emissions targets.”

Luxfer has been a key partner in the design and delivery of a raft of industry-first transport projects, including the world’s first commercially produced hydrogen trucks, the UK’s first hydrogen-powered train and the world’s first hydrogen double decker buses, which are now in operation across Aberdeen, London and Northern Ireland.

Beam pilots e-scooter “pedestrian shield” technology in Australia

Beam pilots e-scooter “pedestrian shield” technology in Australia

Singapore based e-scooter and e-bike rental provider Beam has launched a trial of its ‘Pedestrian Shield’ technology.in cities across Australia.

Starting this month, Pedestrian Shield will be integrated into Beam’s e-scooter fleets in Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart, Launceston and Perth, giving these cities the power to adjust speeds based on road surfaces.

The technology incorporates Drover AI’s PathPilot, an advanced IoT module capable of differentiating between roads or footpaths in real-time using an onboard camera. This will accurately and reliably identify whether the vehicle is traveling on pavements, streets or bike lanes and automatically restrict the speed accordingly.

The six pilot cities each have differing state legislation governing e-scooters, where they are permitted and maximum allowable speeds. The technology enables Beam to employ riding restrictions such as reduced speeds or no riding on pedestrian paths even in GPS-challenged areas, and will allow Beam to educate riders on safe riding in and around the cities, by providing in-trip and post-trip feedback.

By the middle of year, Beam plans to introduce its second phase Pedestrian Shield technology that will detect pedestrians and prevent collisions.

The data gathered in the trial cities preempts a nationwide roll-out of the technology later this year.

Beam Group’s Chief Technology Officer Deb Gangopadhyay says, “The majority of pavement detection technology relies on positioning like GPS and detailed mapping of every road and pavement in a city. These solutions are not scalable and are unreliable. In comparison Pedestrian Shield uses an on-board camera that detects when riders are riding on pavements instantly and accurately without the need for precise mapping and perfect positioning. We are excited to bring this technology to Australian roads first.”

Alex Nesic, Co-Founder at Drover AI said, “Micromobility offers many benefits in urban environments and Drover is thrilled to be able to contribute our technology to address the biggest regulatory concerns while also exploring the greater potential of AI-powered computer vision to contribute to the evolution of shared micromobility.”

Sono moves to series-validation on its affordable solar electric vehicle

Sono moves to series-validation on its affordable solar electric vehicle

German electric car developer Sono Motors has announced it is building a fleet of 37 3rd generation Sion series-validation vehicles. These cars correspond to the planned final design, and in the coming months Sono will be undertaking testing, validation and certification in anticipation of the start of mass production next year.

Described as the first “affordable solar electric vehicle for the masses” the Sion features solar photo voltaic cells integrated into the body, which should extend the range by around 250km a week and make the car energy self-sufficient on short journeys.

The test cars will undergo practical tests under extreme conditions in Europe and the US. This includes testing in different climates, optimising the solar technology, refining driving dynamics on test tracks and on public roads and crash tests.

Jona Christians, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors describes the start of the series testing phase as “another step on our way to climate-friendly mobility of the future. Getting from the first concept in a garage to this point was only possible with hundreds of engineers working tirelessly. The fleet of validation vehicles now follows our successful 2nd generation prototype program and paves the way for planned series production next year”.

Sono Motors will be supported by thyssenkrupp Automotive Body Solutions and Betrandt in series-validation vehicle production. Markus Volmer, CTO of Sono Motors says, “both partners have not only extensive expertise in automotive engineering but also the necessary infrastructure and capacity to produce our test cars quickly and with high quality.”

At an estimated sales price point of 28,500 euros, Sono says the Sion will be the first affordable solar EV. The outer shell of this family-orientated car consists of 458 seamlessly integrated solar half-cells. Bidirectional charging technology means the Sion can power electronic devices, the home or other electric cars with an output of up to 11kW, making it, as Sono describes, “a sustainable power plant on wheels”.

Visual place recognition dataset aids urban navigation for all

Visual place recognition dataset aids urban navigation for all

New York University (NYU) has collaborated with Toyota subsidiary Woven Planet Holdings on a project that promises to help both visually impaired pedestrians and autonomous vehicles to better navigate complex urban settings

Woven Planet partnered with NYU Tandon’s Visualization, Imaging and Data Analytics Research Center (VIDA) to compile a dataset of more than 200,000 outdoor images which is now being used to test a range of visual place recognition (VPR) technologies. The aim is to improve the accuracy of personal and automotive navigation applications, thereby promoting independence for a variety of users, be that autonomous vehicles or visually impaired pedestrians.

Developed by a team from the Automation and Intelligence for Civil Engineering (AI4CE) lab led by Chen Feng, assistant professor of civil and urban engineering, mechanical and aerospace engineering, and computer science and engineering, the dataset uses side-view images of sidewalks and storefronts in addition to forward-facing imagery, allowing researchers to test more applications than traditional mono-perspective sources. The data could also help improve delivery robotics, which must move forward and back as well as side to side to reach homes and businesses.

“This is the first work to systematically analyse some of the biggest challenges of visual place recognition,” said Dr Feng. “We believe we are the first to make such data available free for education and research purposes, which is critical to diagnose and solve pressing problems with visual place recognition. Vast datasets like this one from Woven Planet can provide critical variety and diversity to inform data-driven systems and speed machine learning at scale.”

Researchers at NYU led by John-Ross Rizzo, professor of biomedical engineering, and mechanical and aerospace engineering at NYU Tandon, and Vice Chair of Innovation for Rehabilitation Medicine at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, are already using the dataset to help develop technologies that will help visually impaired individuals better navigate complex urban environments.

“As a visually impaired person myself, I’ve long been frustrated that our population hasn’t seen more innovation in the navigation space; sure, solutions exist, but apply them in our urban canyons and accuracy, precision and reliability are all compromised,” said Dr Rizzo.

“Image-based wearable navigation assistance is set to make significant breakthroughs for everyone from the blind to the cognitively impaired to the elderly, helping with safe navigation in congested, complicated and often dangerous outdoor environments and also in unfamiliar indoor environments. Ultimately, this project has the potential to redefine accessibility, helping millions of people expand their horizons and better interact with the world.”

This project, which is being sponsored by C2SMART Center (the Connected Cities for Smart Mobility Toward Accessible and Resilient Transportation) — a USDOT Tier 1 University Transportation Center led by NYU Tandon — uses images originally provided by CARMERA Inc., an automotive mapping company and former participant in NYU Tandon Future Labs that was acquired by Woven Planet in 2021.

“NYU has long been one of our core academic partners, in no small part because of our shared commitment to delivering social impact through mobility,” said Ro Gupta, senior director at Woven Planet and head of the company’s Automated Mapping Platform North America team. “It’s gratifying to see our data, which is core to our commercial mapping products, being used to help researchers around the world develop tools that will ultimately make mobility more accessible and equitable for all.”

Dott launches “safe and responsible” e-scooter service in Stockholm

Dott launches “safe and responsible” e-scooter service in Stockholm

Micro-mobility provider Dott is to operate a fleet of 1,500 shared e-scooters in Stockholm, Sweden. Critically, given Stockholm’s recent crackdown on e-scooters, Dott’s come with software controlling the maximum speed limit, geo-located slow and no-zones and rider e-learning modules.

Dott says it prioritises the safety of its riders, other road users and pedestrians, collaborating closely with the cities in which it operates “to offer a service adapted to their needs”.

And with large wheels, front, rear and indicator lights, triple breaking and licence plates, its e-scooters, it says, are built with safety and responsible riding in mind.

Cedric Borglund Janson, Dott area manager for Stockholm, says, “Our e-scooters offer the most efficient way to travel across Stockholm without causing congestion or pollution. We are bringing our experience from major European cities to ensure that our service is carefully integrated into the city, offering a reliable service for our riders whilst respecting other road users and pedestrians.”

In January Stockholm’s authorities announced an immediate halving in the number of e-scooters operating in the city from around 23,000 to 12,000 with a maximum of 1,500 vehicles from each of the eight licensed operators.

Electreon targets Nordic “electric road” potential through Destia collaboration

Electreon targets Nordic “electric road” potential through Destia collaboration

Electreon, the Israeli provider of electric vehicle wireless charging solutions, is to partner with Destia, the Finnish provider of charging infrastructure services to promote wireless electric road demonstrator projects.

Destia offers EV charging solutions for businesses and professional transport including bus operators, logistics companies, vehicle manufacturers and taxi companies.

The goal of the collaboration is to develop commercial wireless charging projects in Finland to give fleet operators “the opportunity to experience the benefits of wireless charging in operation”.

Through a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding, Electreon’s wireless charging system and related operation and maintenance services could be provided as part of Destia’s Charging as a Service solution.

The MoU is part of Electreon’s strategy to accelerate its penetration to the Nordic market which it considers has huge potential as an early adopter of electric mobility. Maher Kasskawo, an e-mobility specialist from one of the Nordic region’s leading public transport operators, recently joined Electreon as the Nordics business development manager to head the company’s efforts.

He said, “We are very excited to establish the partnership between Destia and Electreon in the Finnish market. Combining Destia’s strength in charging infrastructure and services with Electreon’s seamless technology in both static and dynamic wireless charging will be a competitive solution for many operational businesses within the transportation segment.”

Jere Jokinen, Head of EV Charging at Destia adds, “Wireless charging has great potential especially in the professional transport segment, because it can be fully integrated into infrastructure with no visual impacts and cables. Electreon’s wireless charging technology can complement our EV Charging as a Service solution nicely.”