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“Fleets first”: SPACE project unites tech companies, public transport and car industry during UITP Summit

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3 July 2019
On 12 June, the SPACE project organised the session ‘How to integrate fleets of shared autonomous vehicles with public transport’ at the UITP Summit in Stockolm. Welcoming over 200 attendees, the session presented the first results of the SPACE project and invited four speakers from different industries to hear about their views on how to integrate automated vehicles (AVs) with public transport.

“We know the ideal scenario – but how do we get there?” With this question, Endre Angelvik, Vice President Mobility Services at Ruter, opened the Monday session. Speaking about the UITP Policy Brief ‘Autonomous vehicles: a potential game changer for urban mobility’, Angelvik referred to the scenario where fleets of AVs are integrated with traditional public transport services and better, sustainable mobility and equity are a fact.

After introductory presentations, speakers took the stage for a panel discussion, which saw a lot consensus among the speakers, specifically on how fleets of AVs rather than individual vehicles will be the first ones to be brought to our streets.

“AVs will be first introduced as fleets of shared vehicles in public transport, as it makes most sense since the geographical area is restricted, the business model is better since costs are shared, and customer acceptance will be better,” said Patricia Villoslada, Autonomous Transport Systems Vice President at Transdev Group.

Peter Hafmar, Managing Director at Nobina Technology, added to that: “To help boost the uptake of fleets of shared AVs, it is important to close off parts of cities to private cars because we need to move differently.”

Miriam Chaum, Head of Public Policy Self-Driving Cars at Uber Technologies, also emphasised the importance of shared fleets: “Sharing is key: the transition towards a more sustainable future cannot be reached by autonomous vehicles alone. AVs should be seen as part of a broader system that includes shared modes and public transport.”

Finally, Adela Spulber, City Relations/Business Development Manager Autonomous Services at Daimler Mobility Services, pointed out that fleets of shared AVs will be introduced gradually. “There will be decades to come where shared autonomous vehicles will co-exist with human-driven vehicles and mass transit. Cities need to have a clear view of the type of mobility scenario they are trying to achieve and act according to that.”

A lot more issues on AVs and their integration with public transport were brought to the table during the session at the UITP Summit – want to join the next discussio? Join us at the Automated Mobility Conference on 24 October in Brussels!

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Lexicon

7 words explained

platooning

Also known as flocking. A collection of (automated) vehicles that travel together, actively coordinated in formation. Platoons decrease the distances between vehicles using electronic, and possibly mechanical, coupling. Platooning allows many vehicles to accelerate or brake simultaneously.

urban setting

High density environment with an efficient high capacity public transport system with good capillarity and high frequencies.

suburban setting

Medium density environment with a good public transport system with radial connections to the city center, but lower capillarity and frequencies. This setting includes suburban cities.

small cities

Small, isolated city with an own public transport system and <100K inhabitants.

rural

Low-density environment, small cities and villages with poor public transport services mainly connecting the villages.

SAE level

The SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) levels define the level of vehicle autonomy, or in other words, how much human intervention is still needed for an automated vehicle to operate. Currently, five SAE levels have been defined: Level 0: Automated system issues warnings and may momentarily intervene but has no sustained vehicle control. Level 1 (hands on): Driver and automatic system share vehicle control. The driver must be ready to retake full control at any time. Level 2 (hands off): The automated system takes full control of the vehicle (accelerating, braking, and steering). The driver must monitor the driving and be prepared to intervene immediately at any time if the automated system fails to respond properly. Level 3 (eyes off): The automated system takes full control of the vehicle (accelerating, braking, and steering). The driver must monitor the driving and be prepared to intervene immediately at any time if the automated system fails to respond properly. Level 4 (mind off): As level 3, but no driver attention is ever required for safety, e.g. the driver may safely go to sleep or leave the driver's seat. Level 5 (steering wheel optional): No human intervention is required at all. An example would be a robotic taxi.

V2X

Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication is the passing of information from a vehicle to any entity that may affect the vehicle, and vice versa.