Worden de jaren 2020 het decennium van duurzame mobiliteit? Is de sector in 2029 eindelijk duurzaam? Halen wij de doelen van het klimaatakkoord en wat is de impact op de bereikbaarheid van de stad? Met de verlaging van de maximumsnelheid overdag naar 100 km/u, de agenda Amsterdam autoluw, de elektrificatie van het OV en de 10 seconden dienstregeling lijkt de toon gezet. Maar wat valt verder te verwachten? Dit alles in de nieuwste editie van de Mobiliteit Show; een wervelende talkshow voor alle liefhebbers van fietsen, auto's, treinen en logistiek.
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In an autonomous car from SAE level 4, perception equipment – the eyes and ears – and software take over human brain functions. This requires accurate maps, laser, radar, lidar and cameras. The lidar, which means 'detect light and range', works in conjunction with the car's cameras. This system pulses laser waves to map the distance to objects day and night, up to up to 100 meters with an accuracy of a few centimeters. The price of all this equipment is between €150,000 and €200,000. The lidar is a high-cost item, although this system is becoming increasingly cheaper due to industrial production. Together, these tools build a four-dimensional image of the environment, and all functions of the moving car are controlled using stored software and communications in the cloud.
Google's X-lab began developing an autonomous car in 2009. In 2016, the company had already completed more than 1.5 million test kilometers and spent $1.1 billion on the development of an autonomous car. The company previously used a self-developed model ('the firefly', see photo). The company then deployed converted Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids, and these will be exchanged for fully electric Jaguar I-Pace cars.
In 2016, Google's parent company Alphabet parlayed autonomous car developments into a new company called Waymo (derived from "a new way of mobility").
Cruise was founded in 2013 with the intention of developing a self-driving car. In 2016, General Moters acquired the company for an amount of $500 million. To date, the company has completed 700,000 test miles in San Francisco's urban environment with no fatalities.
In 2016, Uber began working with Volvo to develop an autonomous car that could serve as a taxi. The company had acquired software manufacturer Otto for a net $600 million. The company predicted that there will be 75,000 self-driving cars on the road by 2019. That became zero. During the test phase, the company experienced several accidents, including one with a fatal outcome. In addition, Waymo became a target of data theft, a case that was decided in Waymo's favor by the court. Uber therefore had to pay damages of €250 million (in shares). This led to the departure of Uber founder Travis Kalanick. His successor, Dara Khosrowshahi, has put the development of an autonomous car on the back burner. It was recently announced that Uber has signed a contract with Waymo to use this company's autonomous cars in the future.
Until recently, the use of lidar was not possible due to the high costs for car manufacturers that opt for accreditation at SAE level 3. Tesla therefore equipped its cars exclusively with radar, cameras and computer vision. The latter means that all driving Teslas transmit camera images of traffic and the way in which motorists react to 'the cloud'. The company has been developing these images with artificial intelligence for years. It prides itself on the fact that its cars have rules of conduct for every conceivable traffic situation.
The development of the Tesla was accompanied by high expectations but also by many accidents, some of which were fatal. Last year, Tesla made available a beta version of the FSD ("Full Self Driving") software package for a price of $15,000. However, the company had to recall as many as 362,000 cars under the authority of the Traffic Safety Administration because this package was encouraging illegal driving. It looks like that these issues have been resolved and some experts have suggested that Tesla will be able to qualify for accreditation at least at SEA Level 3. This still has to happen.
Ford and Volkswagen
These companies threw in the towel in 2022 and unplugged Argo, a company that was supposed to develop an autonomous car to provide SAE level 4 taxi services. Instead, both companies announced focusing on the SAE levels 2 and 3, like most auto makers.
According to analysts at AlixPartners, the industry has invested $100 billion in developing car automation by 2023, in addition to $250 billion in development of electric cars. I will discus the profitability of these investments later.
The Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) is one of the European Commission’s largest city support initiatives supporting European cities in their green and digital transitions. ICC delivers knowledge and support services to cities and their local economies to address two major challenges: making the transition to a net-zero economic model, while enabling social inclusion and sustainable development for every EU citizen.
Cities learn how to address these challenges through Local Green Deals: integrated, multi-disciplinary action plans to lead the green and digital transition across sectors from the built environment, urban mobility and renewable energy systems to tourism or small retailers. Cities become members of a vibrant network, gain access to advisory services, innovation and sustainability management techniques, cutting-edge technology and training and get inspiration and advice from peers and mentor cities.
Building on the success of the previous edition of the ICC programme (2020-22) and Digital Cities Challenge (2017-19), the ICC will now enter Phase 2!
Amsterdam as a Mentor City
Like previous years, Amsterdam has been selected to join the support programme as a mentor city. The city will play a leading support role by guiding the 64 core cities as they embark on their two year journey to create impactful strategies and develop innovative solutions that will place the cities at the forefront of the green and digital twin transition through Local Green Deals. A nice compliment, allowing the Amsterdam Region to share their experiences and learnings from setting up Local Green Deal initiatives over the past years.
The Intelligent Cities Challenge Strategy City Lab: Accelerating the Twin Transition (November 2023)
On 23 and 24 November 2023, over 200 people - a mix of Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) core and mentor cities, political leaders and representatives from European institutions gathered for the first time in-person to discuss the status quo of Twin Transition. Through examples and best practices, attendees had the honour to hear from over 30 speakers as they shared insights into collaboration methods, Local Green Deals, climate ambitions, digital transitions and more across the course of 20 sessions.
Amsterdam Smart CIty's Leonie van den Beuken travelled to this gathering in Brussels as one of the representatives of the Amsterdam Region. She summarized her trip as follows:
This EU program helps cities from north to south, east and west to connect, share and learn. A much needed interaction, as we all try to improve the quality of life of our citizens. We all struggle with the ever rising cost of living. And we all want to get our cities to become more sustainable.
None of this comes easy, but we all know that local collaboration plays a key role. Building local coalitions between government, businesses and citizens is one thing, but how do we make sure these so called coalitions of the willing actually become coalitions of the doing?
Some of the learnings we shared from the Amsterdam Region are; the need for political support and the importance of trust and respect.
Local political leadership will inspire and guide society and entrepreneurs to invest and contribute. However, make sure pilotical support doesn’t evolve into political ownership. When that happens, societal parties and businesses tend to step out the coalition.
Take the importance of trust and respect seriously. You need to show long term commitment, take time to create understanding between parties. Take competition between participating SME’s serious and define together how to handle this together. Create a workflow in which smaller parties are allowed to participate less intense but sill feel incorporated.
We'll keep you up to date on our participation in future gatherings and results from ICC Phase 2. Want to know more? Check https://www.intelligentcitieschallenge.eu/
At this time, every car manufacturer plus hundreds of startups are working on developing artificial intelligence for driving automation. This should enable communication with the car’s passengers, sensing and anticipating the behavior of other vehicles and road users, communicating with the cloud and planning a safe and fast journey. I will write later about the investments made to achieve this goal.
The development of car automation became visible when Google was the first to start a project in 2009. The activities that technology companies and the automotive industry carry out start from two different visions of the desired result.
Maintain the existing traffic system
The first view assumes that automation is a gradual process that will result in drivers ability to transfer control of the vehicle in a safe manner. It is provisionally assumed that a driver will always be present. That is why taking over control is no problem under specific conditions, such as bad weather and crowded streets. Tesla, an outspoken supporter of this vision, has therefore been talking about its autopilot for years. This came under heavy criticism because the number of functions that were automated was limited. Partly because of this, the so-called autopilot could only be used on a limited number of roads and under favorable conditions.
Most established automotive manufacturers primarily have in mind the higher segment of automobiles and announce they will only make relatively cheaper models suitable for this purpose at a later stage. Maintaining the current traffic system is paramount. The car industry wants to avoid at all costs that people will eventually stop buying cars and limit themselves to ride-hailing in autonomous vehicles.
Moving towards another traffic system
The latter is exactly the intention of the companies that adhere to the second vision. These primarily include non-traditional automotive companies, with Google (later Alphabet) in the lead. What they had in mind from the start was to achieve SAE level 4 and, in the long term, SAE 5 level, cars that can drive safely on the road without the presence of a driver. Companies belonging to this group advocate a completely new transport system. In their opinion, safe driving at SAE level 3 is impossible if the driver is not constantly paying attention. They believe that in the event of a 'disengagement signal', taking control of the car takes too much time and will result in dangerous situations. In addition to Google, Uber (in collaboration with Volvo) also belonged to this group, but now appears to have dropped out. This also applies to Ford and Volkswagen. General Motors is betting on two horses and aims to maintain accreditation at SAE level 4 with its subsidiary Cruise, although Alphabet's subsidiary Waymo has by far the best cards.
Important message for the readers
From next year on, the frequency of my articles about the quality of our living environment will decrease. I admit to an old love: Music. In my new website (in Dutch) I write about why we love music, richly provided with examples. Maybe you will like it. Follow the link below to have a look.