2getthere is happy to announce a new passenger record per month for the Masdar City PRT application. We’ve left the year 2016 with a new record of 41.956 passengers in December, followed by an even more astonishing number of passengers going into the new year; 44.575 passengers in January. These records mark a wonderful achievement highlighting the ever-safe system. We are proud to have accomplished this significant number of passengers and strive to keep catering to Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, to maintain a strong relationship and more importantly realize our full potential.
Carel van Helsdingen, Chief Executive Officer, 2getthere
“We are hardly some inexperienced startup.”
Dutch technology company 2getthere, which specializes in the development of automated vehicles, is set to open a new office in Silicon Valley in January 2017. From its new base in the world’s leading technology hub, the Utrecht-based company intends to conquer the third major international market for automated transit solutions, following Asia (Singapore) and the Middle East (Dubai). 2getthere is the leading company worldwide with many years of experience in developing and operating automated, driverless vehicles that transport thousands of passengers a day. The company – which currently employs around 50 developers, IT specialists and engineers – estimates it will be able to sell a minimum of three to five of these types of solutions in the US annually within the next several years, accounting for a total of $150 million to $300 million in new orders.
Although 2getthere delivered its first automated transit system to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as early as 1997, the company remains a relatively unknown player in the Dutch manufacturing industry. Its core markets are located in Asia and the Middle East, where its mobility solutions (driverless taxis and minibuses) have been part of the urban infrastructure for some time. The opening of the new San Francisco office is part of the company’s strategy to break into the high-potential US market.
The company states that its decision to set up a base in the heart of high-tech hub Silicon Valley was prompted not only by the fact that all leading developers of automated transit systems and the related technologies are based there, but also by the immense market potential to be found in the area.
2getthere CEO Carel van Helsdingen: ‘The rapid growth of sprawling corporate campuses is particularly exciting to us in terms of the opportunities it offers. There’s the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington, for example, the Tesla manufacturing facility in Nevada, and the Apple and Cisco campuses in California. Automated mobility solutions are the most obvious alternative for business parks on that scale.’
Having what it takes
2getthere currently has more experience in developing automated vehicles than any other company worldwide. The various applications it develops are used to transport around 80,000 passengers a month who collectively travel more than 100,000 kilometers. Van Helsdingen feels his company has got what it takes to achieve success in this market: ‘We are hardly some inexperienced startup – we specialize in developing vehicle software, traffic control systems, dispatch software (that is, the coordinating software used to manage a fleet) and in integrating the software for various types of sensors. We are currently in talks with several potential partners in Silicon Valley to see where we might be able to find synergies. That process will undoubtedly be boosted by the fact that we will now actually be physically based there as well,’ Van Helsdingen said.
COO Robbert Lohmann pointed out that 2getthere has a unique edge when it comes to the real-world implementation of these systems. ‘There may be a large number of pilot projects around, but in order to develop a 100% safe system with an uptime rate of 99.8%, like the one we built in Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, you also need to have an in-depth understanding of planning aspects and traffic flows. As far as I know, we are the only company worldwide that combines all those different types of knowledge and expertise.’
Entering the US market marks a new stage in the evolution of the fast-growing company, which will be moving into new premises in Utrecht in the coming year, including its own test courses. The company is currently involved in more than a dozen scheduled projects across the US, including a project in Jacksonville, Florida and one in Greenville, South Carolina. Lohmann: “You don’t break into this market overnight – it can take up to several years for a project to be completed. But having realized successful applications already, we are often automatically shortlisted for public and private tenders.”
2getthere has already teamed up with the US-based company Oceaneering, working on various projects. The company states that finding strong partners is a priority when it comes to reducing the time needed to develop the market for its products. Van Helsdingen: ‘We provide mobility solutions but remain the actual owner of the system. That means we’re looking for companies undaunted by the idea of partnering with us for a period of 10 or even 20 years, as is the case with United Technical Services in the United Arab Emirates and SMRT in Singapore. Both these companies are currently shareholders in 2getthere. We are confident we will be able to find similar partners in Silicon Valley relatively quickly.’
2getthere also believes there is great commercial potential in the development of transit systems for large theme parks and medium-sized airports (1.5 million+ passengers a year). Lohmann believes orders to the tune of 50 to 100 million dollars a year would not be unrealistic. ‘If we get the opportunity to partner with one of the major technology companies, that figure could turn out to be even higher.’
For the longer term, Lohmann also has high expectations of the development of what are known as ‘smart cities’ – cities investing in integrating data available locally in order to improve quality of life. ‘Automated transit is absolutely one of the key elements in that process, and that includes Automated People Mover Systems, Automated Transit Networks and Shared Autonomous Vehicles. The city of Columbus, Ohio is currently in the process of building such a system, and that’s exactly the type of project in which our company would like to get involved and share its expertise.’
Yousef Baselaib, Executive Director of Sustainable Real Estate, Masdar
[quote]“The popularity of the PRT demonstrates how functional, sustainable transport is paving the way for cities of the future.”[/quote]
2 Million Passenger Mark
The Masdar Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system in Abu Dhabi, UAE, this morning successfully reached the 2 million passenger mark since it was launched on 28 November, 2010. Over the years a wealth of data has been collected from the system which has been used to further the development of autonomous vehicles, both in relation to the technology as well as user interaction.
Just a week before its seventh anniversary, Miss Geethma Devangee, a student from Merryland School Abu Dhabi, became the 2 millionth passenger. Geethma was visiting Masdar City on an educational field trip. As the lucky winner she was presented with a dining voucher to be redeemed at any restaurant in Masdar City, as well as a certificate to mark the honour.
The PRT system at Masdar City welcomed its 1 millionth passenger in May 2014, and has now carried another million in the short time since, accounting for a staggering 75% increase in passenger numbers. The system is currently carrying five times the anticipated amount of passengers, achieving close to 90% average occupancy rates during weekends. The data collected from the PRT system has been invaluable, according to Carel van Helsdingen, CEO of 2getthere. He said: “Real-life applications are invaluable for the reliability of the resulting information. Where a demonstration only provides an indication of the way passengers interface with a system, a real-life application shows real-world behaviour.
“At Masdar City we have both daily passengers and first-time users, from 6am until midnight, with the requirement to constantly provide a reliable and high service level under difficult environmental conditions. As a result we have a significant edge over companies that are only at the start of their development.”
The Masdar City PRT system benefits from dynamic safety features, resulting in zero accidents or collisions since launch. System availability and vehicle reliability have also consistently achieved success rates of 99.6% and 99.9% respectively.
Yousef Baselaib, Executive Director of Sustainable Real Estate for Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s future energy company, said: “This milestone marks a significant step in the progress of Masdar City, and stands as a testament to our culture of innovation. The popularity of the PRT demonstrates how functional, sustainable urban transport development is paving the way for cities of the future.”
Phase 1A of the Masdar PRT pilot project is approximately 1.4 kilometers long and features two stations: the North Car Park and the Masdar Institute for Science and Technology. 2getthere plans to expand this network across more sites across the City, as well as introduce a General Rapid Transit (GRT) system in the near future.
Very Important Passengers
Van Helsdingen added: ‘We are content with the reliability of the vehicles and the application at Masdar City. Because of the appeal of Masdar City we have been honored in welcoming many VIPs in our vehicles, ranging from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President to the UAE, German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, UN-leader Ban-Ki Moon and celebrities including Clive Owen, James Cameron and David Ferrer. The most recent VIP being His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, one week ago (passenger number 1.988.933).”
Charles, Prince of Wales, United Kingdom
[quote]”The main challenge facing us all now is how we can de-carbonise our economy, radically.”[/quote]
Britain’s Prince Charles visited yesterday Masdar City in Abu Dhabi as part of the British royal’s state visit to the country. He was welcomed by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, chairman of Masdar, and Shamma Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs. The Prince arrived in Masdar City with our Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) driverless vehicle.
On 28th of November the PRT system will be entering the 7th year of operation. We are expecting to transport the 2.000.000th passenger before this date. Prince Charles was actually passenger 1.988.933. The countdown to 2 million passengers is on!
The 2 millionth passenger will receive a dinner cheque for two at each of the 7 restaurants in Masdar City: Madang Korean, Osha, Jim’s Kitchen Table, Melius Restaurant, Sumo Sushi and Bento, Pappa Roti, Barbacoa. Will you be the winner? Come to Masdar City, ride the PRT and find out.
[one_half]On August 17th India PM (Prime Minister) Modi visited Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, kicking off the visit by riding the PRT system supplied by 2getthere.
For purpose of the visit the service of the PRT system had been reserved exclusively for the large delegation travelling with the Prime Minister. As the Prime Minister left the station, journalists where seen rushing through the station to use one of the other vehicles available at the berths. In their pursuit of not missing a single minute of the visit, the floor of the vehicles was creatively used for additional seats as standing is not possible. With the payload of the vehicles not being exceeded, the control room operators decided to allow the transit to proceed although monitoring the passengers continuously over the CCTV system.
NDTV.com reported that ‘The highlight of the PM’s tour was a demo ride in a self-driving car, part of Masdar city’s Private Rapid Transit or PRT. The car runs on lithium batteries powered by solar energy and uses a virtual software to guide its journey. An enthusiastic crowd of Indians gathered in Masdar to watch the PM’s ride; PM Modi was seen waving at the crowd.’ Link: http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/pm-modi-rides-self-driving-car-in-masdar-worlds-first-zero-carbon-city-1208011.
The Prime Minister himself tweeted on his experience, sharing some photos in the process (https://twitter.com/PMOIndia/status/633138811728478208). The message was retweeted nearly 500 times and favorited over 900 times. At the same time UAE news outlets also reported extensively on the visit: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/government/modi-in-uae-indian-pm-takes-a-tour-of-masdar-city.
2getthere continuous to be honored by being able to transport the dignitaries visiting Masdar City with our PRT system.
[quote] The Masdar PRT system is currently in its 5th year of operations and continues its performance.[/quote]
Over the last 6 months the system has continously achieved a system availability exceeding 99,9%.
The new high was established last month, April 2015, with a system availability of 99,99% while carrying a little more than 36,000 passengers. Overall the system continous to show an increase in the number of passengers transported, while the number of trips is growing less rapidly. This is possible as a result of a higher average occupancy of the vehicles. [/one_half]
The pattern in transportation demand is likely to be repeated again, with the demand significantly smaller during the summer months – most likely due to holidays and the fact that there are less classes.
The drops in demand in month 9 and month 21 are the direct result of the system being out of operation for a period of time to allow for constructions works adjacent to the track.
As of November 28, 2014 the operations of the PRT at Masdar City heads into its 5th year. The system continues to proof itself, achieving the highest system availability to date over the past 3 months of operation. At 99.96%, 99.97% and 99.97% the system has been unavailable to passengers approximately 9 minutes out of 559 hours of operation. It should be noted that the availability is achieved without grace period; any system disturbance is immediately taken into account.[/one_half]
The PRT system is still greatly appreciated by its passengers – including the VIPs visiting Masdar City, such as the members of the Global Green Growth Institute and Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford, who called out Masdar PRT as example of the future of mobility: http://tinyurl.com/kuz37ox
[one_half]Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, awarded Masdar first prize in the category of Mobility Management of the Dubai Award for Sustainable Transportation. Yousef Baselaib, Director of Business Support, and Zuha Moussa, Head of Contracts and Procurement at Masdar received the award.
Masdar City features the world first PRT system, opening for service to the public November 28 2010. Since that time the system has carried over 600,000 passengers while featuring a system availability continuously above 99,4%.[/one_half]
2getthere CEO Carel van Helsdingen: ‘We are proud that Masdar has been able to obtain the award and our PRT system having significantly contributed to it. Where 2getthere received recognition completing the challenging project from design to operation in less than 24 months, this award signals another aspect that 2getthere ‘got right’. We take great pride in our focus on the characteristics of the application and designing the system to the requirements of the passengers and the customer. This award emphasises the contribution automated PRT and GRT systems have on sustainability, even for the ultimate sustainable development Masdar City.’
[one_half] His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces visited Masdar on October 19th. Accompanied by His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser and Vice Chairman of the Executive Council, he emphasized the importance of Masdar’s function, through both its international and local projects, as a national long term, strategic initiative aiming at developing and implimenting renewable energy solutions to answer to growing energy demands. He commended Masdar for achieving great successes in a short period of time stressing this as proof that the company is on the right track and achieving steady progress.
At the onset of the tour, His Highness the Crown Prince, accompanied by His Highness Sheikh Hazaa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, boarded the Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) System, a zero emission, driverless transportation vehicle that can move at 40KM/hr, to the Masdar Institute, where he enjoyed an explanation of Masdar at a glimpse through the multimedia wall located at the PRT station. His Highness then proceeded to the semiconductor laboratory and the Masdar Institute Clean Room, the Earth Observation and Environmental Remote Sensing lab as well as the Interactive Artificial Intelligence lab.
VIPs previously travelling on the Masdar PRT system include Secratary General Ban Ki Moon of the United Nations, Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Prinses Victoria of Sweden.
[one_half] Masdar City announced ‘The Market@Masdar City’, a family-focused street fair and organic market, will be organized again on October 28th. The market offers Abu Dhabi residents a glimpse at life in one of the world’s must sustainable, urban developments.
The event is free to the public. The Market@Masdar City will feature recreational activities for the entire family, including entertainment and games for children. In addition, visitors will have an opportunity to ride Masdar City’s electric driverless Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) pod cars, which will whisk guests to and from the MI campus. During the last market the PRT was one of the most popular aspects of the event.
[one_half] The International Council on Innovation in Higher Education (ICIE) visited Abu Dhabi and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in June 2010, with professor Maureen Sheehan Paparella (Director of Information Technology) making a follow up visit in March 2011.
A report on the trip available on line states that ‘Paparella believes that one of the most enticing reasons to want to live in a place like Masdar City is the PRT or personal rapid transit system…’. The PRT system has generated considerably enthusiasm with many passengers, especially kids.[/one_half]
The report continues to state that ‘Paparella recognized this as a sustainable mode of transportation that is “economical, aesthetically and environmentally attractive, and delightfully comfortable; the experience of riding in the personal rapid transit car was right out of the Jetsons’.
The full report can be downloaded from this link.
[one_half] The first edition of the Market@Masdar on April 29th was a marketable success. During the day it is estimated that between 6,000 and 8,000 residents of Abu Dhabi visited the sustainable development. The PRT system carried nearly 3,600 passengers that day, greatly exceeding the envisioned capacity it was designed for.
The reactions of the public to the PRT was nothing but enthusiastic. During a period of 10 hours the demand for transportation (in each direction) exceeded the design capacity. The result was that waiting lines formed; although people were advised they could use the shuttle bus as an alternative, many elected to wait and use the podcars. Especially children seemed to greatly enjoy ‘driving’ the vehicle. [/one_half]
For 2getthere there were many positive experiences, ranging from the willingness to share a vehicle to carrying multiple strollers on a single trip. The system operated at a 99,4% system availability over the day, proving itself capable.
[one_half] Masdar City today announced the launch of ‘The Market@Masdar City,’ a family-focused street fair and organic market that will offer Abu Dhabi residents a glimpse at life in one of the world’s must sustainable, urban developments. The event will be held from 10.00am-5.00pm on Friday, 29 April at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MI) campus. The event is free to the public. The Market@Masdar City will feature recreational activities for the entire family, including entertainment and games for children. In addition, visitors will have an opportunity to ride Masdar City’s electric driverless Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) pod cars, which will whisk guests to and from the MI campus.
The Market@Masdar City will run as a monthly event, except in the hot season from May to September, and will offer retail exhibitors an opportunity to display a wide range of organic food from Abu Dhabi local farms, organic beauty & spa products, as well as recycled stationary, arts and crafts including jewellery. A children’s entertainment section, henna designs, face painting will be part of the local fair.
Alan Frost, Director of Masdar City, said, “Masdar City is open to the public and is a living example of what Abu Dhabi can achieve and its commitment to sustainable living. We encourage people to begin sharing the Masdar experience and to be part of the historic development in creating one of the world’s most sustainable cities. [/one_half]
“The principles of sustainable living are truly evident at the Masdar Institute campus, where nearly 180 students from around the world have come to live and study,” added Mr. Frost. “The ‘Market @ Masdar City’ is a good recreational and educational opportunity for visitors to see how sustainability can be brought to life – not only at Masdar City, but to the entire Abu Dhabi community.”
The campus at Masdar employs a blend of contemporary and traditional Arabian architecture. Innovations in passive design and green building materials, including the recycled aluminum façades, are part of a sophisticated design that offers a naturally cooler environment with shaded walkways. Visitors will also be able to see and learn about the ‘green’ landmarks on the campus, such as the Wind Tower and the Knowledge Centre.
Located 17km from downtown Abu Dhabi, Masdar City is a high-density, pedestrian-friendly development, where current and future renewable energy and clean technologies are showcased, marketed, researched, developed, tested and implemented.
[one_half] The Masdar PRT system was taken into operation on Sunday November 28th. The system is operational 18 hours a day (between 06.00hr and 00.00hr). The system operates on demand, with a minimum of 7 vehicles operational during all peak hours.
The number of passengers is gradually increasing, most notably during the weekends. [/one_half]
|Number of passengers||10,109||16,329||18,520|
|Number of trips (with passengers)||5,548||8,344||8,974|
|Average vehicle occupancy||1.7||2.0||2.1|
|Peak-day number of passengers||589||1,006||850|
|Total kilometers driven||5,386||10,164||10,784|
[one_half]In the most recent edition of Spectrum, 2getthere’s Chief Service Engineer, is featured in the Dream Job’s section:
As the project’s chief service engineer, Duiser troubleshoots the cars’ electrical, mechanical, air-conditioning, and wireless networking systems. With mere weeks left before he must hand over control of the transit system to its operators, he takes a break only when the local authorities want to show it off to visiting sheikhs or delegations from China and Europe.
read the full article:
Masdar City PRT
Masdar City is a carbon neutral, car-free city, featuring Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) to accommodate mobility. Phase 1A of the Masdar PRT system is approximately 1.4 kilometers long and features 2 stations: the North Car Park and the Masdar Institute for Science and Technology. The system opened to the general public on November 28, 2010, while the system availability and vehicle reliability consistently exceed 99.6% and 99.9% respectively. The PRT system is operational 18 hours a day, from 06.00hr until midnight, every day.
The 10 vehicles operate on-demand, featuring angled berth stations allowing for independent entry and exit of vehicles. The system is carrying 5 times the anticipated amount of passengers, averaging >85% average occupancy during the weekends. On May 22nd, 2014 the system carried its 1 millionth passenger, with the 2 millionth passenger expected in November 2016. The vehicles are entirely powered by Lithium-Phosphate batteries, allowing a range of 60 kilometers on a 1.5 hour charge. The vehicles are recharged at the berths.
With Masdar City hosting numerous VIP visitors, including many heads-of-state, the PRT system has probably carried more notable passengers than any other transit system in the world. Ranging from Shaikh Mohammed to King Willem-Alexander, Ban Ki-Moon, Angela Merkel and prime minister Modi, as well as actors and sports stars, they have all enjoyed the ride on 2getthere’s PRT system. The appreciation for the service and innovative character is also evident from the posts on social media, especially Instagram.
Please visit www.masdarcity.com
[one_half] Recently the program Future Cities of CNN visited Masdar, detailing the initiatives taken here – including 2getthere’s PRT system. Future Cities gives us an inside look at how cities are adapting to tomorrow’s challenges. [/one_half]
For the video please click the here.
[one_half]At Masdar City 2getthere is also introcuding the concept of Freight Rapid Transit (FRT). The FRT vehicles now still are flatbed vehicles, as they still need to be equipped with their load handling mechanism. Originally envisioned as being a roller bed, the concept is flexible and the logistics service provider at Masdar will determine the final mechansim being installed.
In this phase 3 freight vehicles will be delivered to the development, capable of carrying up to two pallets with a combined weight of 1600 kilo. The vehicles feature a slightly larger engines and brakes, ensuring they can achieve the same acceleration and deceleration as the PRT vehicles in the network.
[one_half] During the recent World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi Sam Lissner and Peter Rose extensively documented the PRT effort being installed at Masdar City as part of their project Mobility Tomorrow (masters thesis for the NYU Center for Global Affairs).[/one_half]
The PRT is one of the videos that has to provoke people to contribute to a discussion on sustainable transit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UMvj2ZYnU8
After the recent World Future Energy Summit 2getthere’s CyberCab PRT system has been named the coolest green innovation.
During the WFES one of the 1st series vehicles was on display at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, while a 2nd vehicle was used in demonstrations on site.