New Directions in Intelligent Transportation Systems

Oct 06, 2014

The 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) was held in Detroit, Michigan, September 7th through September 11th, 2014.  The theme of the Congress, “Reinventing Transportation in our Connected World” prefaced the program to come with exhibitors and speakers all focused on innovation in transportation technologies.  But where is all this ITS innovation headed? What direction(s) is ITS taking?

Keynote Start to the Event

Kicking off the event was Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors (GM).  In her address she described the coming innovations in vehicle transportation technology as “jaw dropping.”  Ms. Barra declared that the global automotive industry is moving fast into an innovation cycle. She noted that customers around the world are looking to vehicle manufacturers to develop personal transportation options, and to mitigate the effects of congestion, vehicular accidents and pollution.  The industry’s solution to these problems is to steer innovation toward Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V), Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) and automated driving technologies collectively known as V2X.

To highlight the innovation at GM, Ms. Barra announced that GM”s Super-Cruise system will be available on the 2017 Cadillac CTS; the Super-Cruise system will be a semi-automated vehicle with V2V technology that will enable the driver to be hands free for extended periods, and GM will partner on the creation of approximately 120 miles of V2I roadway.

Established Innovators

The conference showcased the innovative wares and visions of familiar names in the transportation industry.

  • Kapsch: introduced V2X seamless communications by integrating 5.9GHz, Bluetooth and TCP/IP into its Dynac Traffic Management solution.
  • Iteris: launched its iPeMS lite software package that provides intersection-level based analytics data based on vehicle counts, queue lengths and signalization.
  • Q-Free: used Detroit as an opportunity to showcase its move beyond just tolling. The company’s recent acquisition of Open Roads Consulting will help it undertake video-based transportation surveillance across the US.

These companies are building the systems that the vehicle manufacturers and transportation agencies will integrate into the new V2X modeled vehicles and managed roadways.  GM, Ford, BMW and other big industry names are all working to deliver V2X vehicles to the market before 2020.

Startup Innovators

A special aspect of ITS 2014 was the opportunity for transportation technology startup firms to present their visions to venture capital investors.  This investor matching session called the Entrepreneurial Village, was an invitation only opportunity to showcase new innovation by early and mid-stage startup firms.  Some of the select firms invited to the village, and ones to watch in the near future included:

  • Cloud Parc: its smart parking solution detects unused parking spaces, from just a handful in a parking garage, to monitoring space availability on entire city block with its Sky camera;
  • Transit Labs: self-described “transit data nerds” aim to optimize transit delivery services. The company uses advanced analytics algorithms to analyze transit agency information and help provision transit services just where, and just when, they are needed.

Continued strong sales in light vehicle sales in North America, and large investments in transit are underway or planned around the world; Cloud Parc and Transit Labs are working hard to personalize transportation space allocation and optimize transit services as mobility is on the increase. Cloud Parc in particular is gaining industry notice as a leading platform.  Cloud Parc blends artificial intelligence with machine vision, and the capability of V2X integrated communications.  The companies are meeting the imperative of congestion abatement - keep an eye on them and other up and coming companies. 

ITS 2014 Highlight Demonstration - Highly Automated Driving (HAD)

Among the many innovations at ITS 2014, was the live demonstration of HAD technology that had jaws dropping. This feature event provided attendees the opportunity to take a ride in an HAD enabled vehicle provided by IAV.  Test vehicle riders experienced the engagement of HAD in a real world, though controlled, roadway setting. Testers were able to experience adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, automated braking, lane-change and parking assistance maneuvers at both low and high-speed.  HAD was the breakaway technology of the show.  It will no doubt be on even greater display in Bordeaux.

Looking toward Bordeaux

The 22nd ITS World Congress will take place in Bordeaux France, October 5th to 9th 2015.  The conference theme “Towards Intelligent Mobility - Better Use of Space”, focuses on how intelligent mobility will change our lives.  Specifically the key item to look for in France is the smart use of space.

 Look to Bordeaux as well to expand on the connected city lifestyle. The Bordeaux theme, with a focus on the benefits of ITS by showing how integrating transportation related data can improve the use of city spaces.  It will underscore the use of transportation data to improve public transit delivery, optimize emergency services, enable and connect personal mobility by leveraging financial, weather and communications networks.  In Bordeaux demonstrations are likely to focus on the use of aerospace (drones) and satellite technologies to improve transportation mobility and parking solutions.

Last Word

Frost and Sullivan anticipate another great show in Bordeaux based on the Detroit experience.  All the innovation on display in Detroit, and to be on display in Bordeaux, is all headed toward realizing the concept of the Smart City. This city embodies the energy of the innovation cycle, HAD technology, ubiquitous and continuous connectivity managed from the connected vehicle cockpit (CVC).

 New Directions in ITS

  •     Innovation Cycle  (established players and startups)
  •     Highly Automated Driving
  •     Connected Cockpit Vehicles
  •     Ubiquitous, continuous connectivity
  •     The Smart City

The Smart City can be described as the employment of interconnected information and communication systems that together improve operational functions of the city and mobile lifestyles of its residents. Companies such as Verizon, IBM and Cisco are working diligently to help enable the smart systems for the Smart City.

In a transportation oriented world, the heart of the smart city for the mobile resident will be the “connected vehicle cockpit.”  The CVC will host heads a heads up display to provide the driver and passengers with geographically relevant information and ubiquitous connectivity to transportation data, social media and e-commerce transactions capabilities. Verizon’s Lowell McAdam noted his “holistic” vision of seeing connected smart systems tying cars, roads, buildings and power grids and communications networks together to deliver personal, private and governmental services. 

The 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems accomplished its vision of showcasing innovation in transportation technology.  The challenge for the 22nd World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems will be to demonstrate how these innovations can materially improve transportation outcomes.

Category : Mobile & Wireless

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