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Future of Buses

Future of BusesRobbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer

As industry leader, 2getthere is looking forward to contribute to the conference and learn.

Future of Buses

The VDI Future of Buses conference is designed to focus on how the bus sector can adapt to changing environments in transport and urban mobility. Specifically, the transition towards e-bus fleets, connected autonomous buses and advanced bus technologies will be discussed and we will put into context how the new smart urban mobility environment is affecting the bus industry. The conference is organized in Amsterdam, with 2getthere contributing in two sessions on November 29.

A new Age of Public Transport?!

Things are moving fast in the bus sector – developments in autonomous and connected bus technologies as well as the roll out of large e-bus fleets in smart, connected cities are calling for a new generation of urban bus systems. Systems, that have to be developed, tested and operated by means of vehicle technologies and infrastructure, fundamentally changing the way the industry works. It is clear that the bus sector will need to adapt to these changes as well as to disruptions coming from new mobility and technology providers, increasing data availability and multimodal transport services.

At the VDI Future of Buses conference, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss these topics with experts from all important stakeholders in the bus sector and learn about the redefined, but still important role buses still play in a constantly changing mobility and public transport landscape

Sessions and times

On behalf of 2getthere Robbert Lohmann will contribute to a panel discussion, while Jeroen van der Ploeg will present on cooperative driving. Both sessions are on November 29, with the conference commencing on the 28th.

At 11.30 the panel discussion ‘Can the Bus Sector adopt to the new Age of (Public) Transport?’, commences. Moderated by Dr. Gerhard Nowak, (Partner/Vice President, PwC Strategy GmbH), other panelists include Dirk Weißer (Head of Research, INIT GmbH), Anders Ställberg (Project Manager Autonomous Transport Solutions, Scania) and Chris Büttner (Project Lead Autonomous Driving, ioki).

3 hours later, at 14.30, Jeroen Ploeg will take the stage to present on ‘High-capacity automated Transit Systems: Platooning of automated People Movers’, discussing the concept of platooning, the benefits, design concent and the first results.

For more information on The Future of Buses, visit the website: https://www.vdi-wissensforum.de/en/event/autonomous-electric-buses/

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Innovation Expo

Innovation ExpoDennis Mica, Business Development Manager

The most advanced autonomous vehicle, to be introduced at Rivium business park next year, will be at the Innovation Expo.

3rd gen Autonomous Shuttle

The Innovation Expo 2018 (October 4) is open to visitors from 09.00 a.m. until 08.00 p.m. The bustling expo hall (closing at 06.00 p.m.) features a host of interesting and amazing innovations. In addition, you may participate in in-depth substantive sessions. 2getthere will be exhibiting as well: for more information please visit https://innovationexpo2018.nl/en/programma/2getthere/.

Just like at Intertraffic, 2getthere will have its 3rd generation vehicle on display. The vehicles is the most advanced in the market and is in a class of its own in terms of build quality. This is a direct result of the long life requirement set for the vehicle, while being developed for the heavy requirements of public transit use. Join us at the RDM campus to see for yourself that self driving vehicles are mature enough to provide operations on a daily basis.

Innovation Expo

Taking innovations further, realising breakthroughs, and thus contributing to the social challenges we are facing in our country and in the world. That is the ambition of the Innovation Expo 2018 (IE2018) in Rotterdam. On 4 October 2018, the RDM Submarine Wharf in Rotterdam South will be transformed into one big Living Lab. A while ago, under the flag of the National Programme Rotterdam South, we started to work on improving education, employment, safety, and living conditions in this area. Here, in these remarkable, dynamic surroundings, participants in the IE2018 will experience the latest trends and innovations that help to keep our country safe, liveable, and accessible.

The IE2018 is a sample sheet of the most recent and high-profile developments that the Netherlands has to offer. We will present Dutch solutions to the major social challenges in the fields of the circular economy, energy, water, mobility, the built-up environment, health, and food, as well as the required enabling technologies.

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safety-security-reliability

safety, security and reliabilityRobbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer

If we really want to learn more about autonomous transit systems we’ll have to look at permanent systems in daily use.

safety, security and reliability

The autonomous vehicles that the Dutch municipality of Capelle aan den IJssel deploys to connect the Rivium business park and metro station Kralingse Zoom received high marks for safety, security and reliability by passengers. This is the outcome of a quantitative study into the ease of use of the ParkShuttle connection. Furthermore, the study shows that reliability is ultimately the decisive factor in passengers’ readiness to use any kind of autonomous public transport.

The study (N=109) was conducted by Jochem van der Burg, a social geography student at Utrecht University. He focused on seven operational factors of the ParkShuttle: (1) safety and security, (2) reliability, (3) travel time, (4) information services, (5) price and payment system, (6) comfort and (7) integration in the public transport network. The aim was to establish which of these operational factors most determines ease of use and how the insights gained from the study could be used in the decision-making process of autonomous transit systems elsewhere.

Overall, 90% of the respondents were positive about the ease of use of ParkShuttle, giving it an average mark of 7.2 on a scale of one to ten. Reliability proved to be the most decisive factor: four out of five respondents said they felt the system was reliable, mainly because of its frequency and punctuality.

This will only get better in the future, said Robbert Lohmann, CCO of 2getthere (the developers of the shuttles). “The autonomous vehicles currently in use are in excellent condition, but nevertheless they are 15 years old. When we introduce the third generation of vehicles, reliability will further improve and as a result so will ease of use. The same applies to comfort, another factor of influence.”

Contradicting results

Despite the fact that ParkShuttle in Rivium is still unique as it is the only permanent autonomous shuttle system integrated in a public transport schedule, Van den Burg was able to compare the results of his study with those of various demonstrations across the globe. This led to some surprising conclusions.

For instance, it became clear that ParkShuttle passengers’ appreciation of security was relatively high (they felt that criminal activity on the shuttle was very unlikely), despite the absence of on-board stewards. This contrasts remarks by passengers in a demonstration in Vantaa, Finland, who provided a low score for security despite the presence of safety stewards in its set-up. A possible reason for this lies in ParkShuttle’s passenger capacity and the resulting social control. Vehicles in the Finnish demonstration carry no more than ten passengers, whereas the autonomous shuttles in Capelle aan den IJssel carry up to 24.

Demonstrations versus live situations

Lohmann’s response to this: “Another obvious difference lies in the fact that response in the Rivium study is based on the experience of commuters who have been using the shuttle service for several years. Finnish respondents were asked for their impressions after a ride in a temporary demonstration, meaning their response is more likely based on expectation than actual experience. As far as we’re concerned, this shows the relatively low value of such demonstrations. If we really want to learn more about autonomous transit systems we’ll have to look at permanent systems in daily use. Sadly, those are still few and far between.”

Information to improve

Although information services play a relatively minor role in ease of use, this factor received the lowest scores. This applied to the information provided at stops and on the shuttles, as well as the ready availability of information in case of delays or cancellations.

Lohmann: “This will soon be a thing of the past. As part of the renewal and extension of the system for Rivium 3.0 we will be installing information kiosks at shuttle stops to display system status and the time that the next shuttle will arrive. Inside the shuttles the current single information displays with push buttons will be replaced by two 19” vertical touch screens displaying up-to-the-minute information about the shuttle’s travel time.”

Lohmann is convinced that this study will help the organization of future autonomous systems in public transport. “Many demonstrations are set up to find out if people are prepared to use autonomous public transport systems,” says the 2getthere executive. “This study shows that such demonstrations are no longer necessary, as it’s now clear that people have no trouble embracing systems that are punctual, safe and reliable. Add to that a solid business case and you’re ready to take the next step towards a permanent application.”

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The (non)sense of autonomous shuttle demonstrations

BlogRobbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer

The (non)sense of autonomous shuttle demonstrations.

Welcome to 2getthere’s blog: a podium to share opinions and views of our industry, products and everything related to it. And being Dutch, there’s one thing we are not shy of – having an opinion. Everybody’s got them, we just express them a little more directly. OK, a lot more directly. To the point that if you aren’t used to Dutch people being Dutch, you’d think we are plain blunt. Which is not our intent.

This Blog has been started to provide a proper podium to share our opinion, with a little bit of humor along the way. The opinion shared is that of the author, not necessarily of the company, and is obviously completely objective and should be taken very very literally. Should you beg to differ on the view expressed, please don’t hesitate to engage and share this article with your thoughts on your social media channels: if there is one thing the Dutch appreciate it is a healthy debate – no sarcasm here.

Autonomous shuttles are everywhere

It often seems that autonomous shuttles are everywhere. And yet they aren’t. They are popping up around our major cities but mainly in the form of demonstrations that are run in a controlled environment with a “safety steward” onboard. Although we are now actually seeing the first contracts for applications operating permanently and filling daily transit needs, it is the huge number of demonstrations that have created the impression that autonomous shuttles are a commonplace commodity already. And, as there are so many, they should make (some) sense, right?

It is a question that we at 2getthere often ask ourselves, as there is a so much interest in demonstrations worldwide. At times it feels like not a week goes by, with yet another city, region or state issuing a tender for a 6-month or 1-year demonstration. What is the purpose of these demonstrations you may ask? To test passenger acceptance of autonomous vehicles? To verify the technology? To convince decision makers to move forward on an actual application? Or is it smart promotion/marketing tactic? Are they required or should we skip them altogether? Let’s dig a little deeper into this matter.

Passenger Acceptance

Passengers have made use of automated transit for years, with Automated People Movers featured at many major airports. Tampa Airport by itself has three different systems in daily operation. A lot of cities feature automated metros or even trains – just think of the monorail at Disneyland, or the 40+ year old Morgantown System or the Schwebebahn in Wuppertal that opened in 1900 (yes, that date is correct). A funicular. Ski-lift. Of course, a vehicle driving on a road instead of a track or rail is different. But when combining the experiences and the public acceptance of all these other transit systems, is it really logical to expect that the acceptance of autonomous shuttles would be very different?

If we do want to test the acceptance of autonomous shuttles properly, it should be tested in operational conditions, with large groups of passengers, all in a hurry, crashing into each other with faces buried in their smartphones. We want to see real behavior: Impatient people in a rush to get to work on time, on a hot sunny day, distracted by their phone or listening to music. The thing is, in a demonstration people often show a desired or ‘artificial’ behavior. During an unintended stop, there is no anxiety about getting to work late (and your boss screaming at you), no risk of the smartphone falling to the ground (missing out on the Pokémon you were just about to catch), rather the excitement of experiencing a fault in a system in the early stages of development. It is hard to analyse real behavior when passengers don’t use the system as part of their normal journey, in a normal way.

Technology verification

So, do demonstrations serve a purpose in verifying the technology? No, demonstrations don’t. Trials do. A Proof-of-Concept (POC) does. The difference? A demonstration is a show: a temporary display, typically at a high-profile site with limited demonstration hours. To verify that the technology test cases is created based on actual road data, a trial or Proof-of-Concept is conducted.

The site of the trial or the POC is a point of discussion – to say the least. Testing in the public space used to be an absolute no-go for other automated transit systems (and still is), but normal rules don’t seem to apply when it comes to autonomous vehicles. That is why you can now get on a very well regulated, tested and independently verified automated people mover at Phoenix Airport safely and on the other hand could get run over by a ‘registered’ autonomous vehicle as soon as you hit the city streets. Ironic? No, or maybe just a little…

Each incident (another AV running a red light), accident (another AV crashing into the back of a stopped fire truck) and injury or casualty (a lady crossing a street at night) leads to cities and authorities – thankfully – starting to impose strict regulations before autonomous vehicles are allowed on public roads. And that is a really good thing for the development of autonomous vehicles and the industry. Whereas most innovations have a lot of leeway when first introduced, maturity only comes once regulations are established.

Convincing Decision Makers

The key reason for a demonstration is to convince decision makers to “take the next step”. Show the technology is ready for daily operations, carrying members of the public safely and efficiently.

Right then. There is nothing more convincing than a temporary “autonomous” demonstration with a safety steward on board, travelling at a maximum “safe” speed of 15kmh… this creates completely the wrong impression of what is on offer. People will think this technology is not nearly ready for deployment yet as it can’t operate really autonomously yet, delaying decision making processes and pushing back the growth of the entire market. Setting up a convincing argument, which will impress decision makers to make the expenditure required for an autonomous system, is not something that should be taken lightly. It can only be achieved if prepared meticulously, and is not yet another demonstration, but a proof of concept that operates in the real world – which is likely to require a larger investment upfront.

A POC should be embedded in the project and trigger the next phase: the delivery of the permanent project. By awarding a project contingent on successful completion of a POC a classical ‘win-win-win situation’ (cross one off for ‘buzzword-bingo’ ) is created: for the autonomous shuttle vendor, the city and the passengers. As a vendor the POC is important in triggering the delivery of the project and it avoids valuable resources being wasted on just a demonstration – or worse, the experience during the demonstration being used for another tender for a permanent system afterwards. For a city the POC ensures the technical risk is taken out of the equation while moving towards a permanent application fulfilling a daily transportation need. The investment in the proof of concept is not wasted, but a building block of the permanent application. For passengers the POC ensures that the safety has well been shown, and approved, before getting on-board.

Propoganda

So, for what purpose does a demonstration make sense? Marketing. Not just by vendors, also by cities. And operating companies. Suppliers. National governments, approval bodies, regions, agents, insurance companies, shareholders and investors. And yes, the baker and the grocer around the corner: everybody is involved. Not to mention your mum. The exposure a demonstration is able to generate validates the budget being made available. The coverage in the news, on the web and through social media, ultimately should lead to attracting new business. Or better yet, new capital through investors.

With the increasing number of demonstrations, the law of diminishing returns had already set in. The latest demonstrations are getting less attention, moving from national news to regional or local news only, soon to only be a byline in the local neighborhood newsletter (right next to the ads by the local bakery and grocer). As a result, the marketing and communication claims are taken to the next level to retain the attention value. Fortunately, each new exaggerated claim leads us one step closer to the end of the hype and to stricter regulations. Which in itself is a huge step towards permanent applications. At 2getthere we are no fan of exaggeration, but I have to admit that in the end it will help to reset the market! Please keep at it as the damage it is doing now, may just lead to some good in the near future.

Rebound Girl

2getthere is quickly becoming the rebound company of the industry. We are seen as less sexy (we don’t understand it either?), dependable marriage-material that you would be happy to introduce to your mother to but not go out for a crazy night on the town. On various occasions, we have now been approached or come into contact with cities and companies that have experienced a disappointing demonstration. The demonstration didn’t move the project forward, but stopped the effort. The contact with 2getthere restores – to the level possible – the faith in autonomous shuttles still being possible today, with the right approach to the project. And to let you in on a little secret: it’s not a demonstration.

Consider addressing your current transit needs using autonomous vehicle systems by firstly hiring a good consultant – they really are worth their money – as they will help to guide you through the process of defining the application, determine whether there is a viable business case and the evaluation of the different systems. The city of Capelle aan den IJssel and operating company De Lijn did just this. That’s why they have signed 2getthere to contracts for the delivery of autonomous shuttles, on public roads, without safety stewards, travelling up to 40kph. Obviously, we did have the advantage of a track record of 20+ years of experience on dedicated lanes, which certainly has helped.

So, does this mean 2getthere will skip demonstrations altogether? No, don’t be surprised to see a demonstration by 2getthere, despite all of what has been said above. If it makes sense from a marketing perspective for us to provide a demonstration as part of an existing relationship with a customer or partner, we will deliver. We’ll just make sure to shy away from the over inflated claims.

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2getthere joins Drive Sweden initiative

Joining Drive SwedenDrive Sweden

It’s not all about driverless vehicles. This is a completely new approach to mobility. We are on the threshold of a radical shift.

Joining Drive Sweden

2getthere is joining Drive Sweden, to actively work on delivering the next generation mobility system for people and goods.

Drive Sweden was awarded the contract for this by the Swedish government in 2015. It is one of seventeen Strategic Innovation Programs (SIP) for addressing complex areas with huge potential for sustainable solutions to challenges in our society. The SIPs are funded by VINNOVA, the Swedish Innovation Agency, the Swedish Research Council Formas and the Swedish Energy Agency. Drive Sweden is currently in the third year of an expected total duration of 12 years, and with a considerable governmental co-funding behind it.

Drive Sweden vision

For years the privately-owned car has been a cornerstone for personal mobility, but now we are about to enter a new era. Connected, self-driving and shared vehicles is one important building block for this to happen. Add to this entirely new business models, serving the trend among the younger generation who prefer access to services over owning an asset; and we have a new system for personal mobility being shaped.

No longer will we need to own a car that is standing still most of the time, but instead we will be able to subscribe to a mobility service. A service that combines different vehicles and transportation modes in a seamless, always-connected system with an integrated payment mechanism, all adapted to our transportation needs. Our needs to transport goods in and out of our society will be met in a similar, highly integrated way.

Outlook Drive Sweden

Drive Sweden has developed an outlook that shows what we want to jointly achieve within our partnership until 2030. In order to reach our vision for a connected, autonomous, and shared mobility; a number of intermediary steps are necessary. Efforts in vehicle, mobility services and transport system research will be undertaken in an integrated manner that guarantees that Sweden’s mobility of the future will be sustainable, safe, efficient, while also being attractive. In the coming years, this plan will be updated regularly as we follow up on our achievements.

For more information, please also refer to the site of Drive Sweden.

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Happy with Sjoerd investigating autonomous vehicles at Rivium

Blij met SjoerdRobbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer

Some days are simply better than others.

Blij met Sjoerd!

Sjoerd works for supermarket chain Albert Heijn in the Netherlands, but is also an aspiring vlogger. In his series ‘Blij met Sjoerd’ he chases news that makes people happy. When chasing news he’s chauffeured by his driver, and best friend, Ron. How will autonomous cars influence their friendship? Sjoerd doesn’t want to miss Ron, so he sets on a mission to find out what autonomous vehicles are all about, visiting the autonomous shuttle application at Rivium business park in Capelle aan den IJssel. We had a blast supporting the recording: some days are simply better than others!

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Help support 2getthere employees swim for a good cause!

SingelSwimRobbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer

In addition to sponsoring the good cause, 2getthere also wanted to protect fading hairlines with fashionable bathing caps.

Singelswim: join the cause!

On June 17, our brave and big-hearted collegues Henry Raekers and Wouter Boessenkool will take the plunge into the Utrecht Singel to raise money for a good cause: support research into the muscle disease FSHD. In addition to sponsoring the good cause, 2getthere also wanted to protect our colleagues fading hairlines with fashionable bathing caps. The bright orange color caps, branded with 2getthere logo, should ensure they are also easy to recognize amongst all the other swimmers!

2getthere has contributed a base amount and is doubling the contributions made by colleagues. Still, there is a target that we want to exceed and obviously you can help. Please donate here!

When contributing >100 Euro, the team has stated they will add your company as a co-sponsor on their page.

Singelswim History

The SingelSwim Utrecht is the only swim in the oldest canal in the Netherlands: Utrecht Singel. The idea to organize the SingelSwim Utrecht was born in 2013. In 2015 the first edition took place with a great success. Singel Swim Utrecht is a charity event entirely dedicated to collecting funds and raising the awareness of the FSHD muscle disease. The initiative is supported by the FSHD Foundation and the Foundation Muscles for Muscles.

The funds raised during the SingelSwim Utrecht are 100% allocated to the research for a cure for FSHD. The choice of the research is jointly determined by the FSHD Foundation and the Foundation Muscles for Muscles. The foundation’s objective is to draw attention to muscle diseases in general and to collecting and donating money to finance the development of better treatments of these diseases. Members of the Board of the Foundation SingelSwim Utrecht are non-paid volunteers.

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Joining Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC)

Joining CUTRICRobbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer

By joining CUTRIC we get the chance to work with leading cities and companies in Canada, contributing to deliver the future.

Joining CUTRIC

2getthere is joining CUTRIC, the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium, which supports projects that develop the next-generation of mobility and transportation technologies for Canadians. These advancements help grow the low-carbon and “smart” technology eco-system in the country, leading to job growth and economic development over the long-term.

By joining CUTRIC we get the chance to work with leading cities and companies in Canada, contributing to deliver the future. Other partners of CUTRIC include leading industrial giants ABB, Bombardier, BAE Systems, Siemens and Thales as well as a large number of renowned Canadian universities. For a full overview of all partners, visit the CUTRIC website: http://cutric-crituc.org (also available in French, of course).

CUTRIC’s work generates solutions that decrease fuel consumption, reduce emissions, eliminate redundancies, reduce congestion, improve the quality of life for Canadians, advance the digital integration of low-cost mobility solutions for communities across Canada, increase road safety and reduce road accidents. CUTRIC supports the technologies required for a 21st century low-carbon economy.

CUTRIC’s pillars

1. Zero- and low-emissions propulsion technologies and systems integration, including battery electric and hybrid electric propulsion technologies, hydrogen fuel cell electric propulsion technologies, compressed and renewable natural gas propulsion technologies (including hydrogen and natural gas fuel combinations), and dimethyl ether (DME) propulsion technologies, as well as grid-based “smart” management tools that balance electric fleet charging and/or hydrogen refuelling.

2. “Smart” vehicles and “smart” infrastructure technologies for autonomous and connected vehicles on roads and on rail (Intelligent Transportation Systems), including sensors, signals, and control systems that enable vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-X standardized and interoperable communications.

3. Big Data for mobility analytics and Mobility as a Service applications, including initiatives to optimize public and private fleets through the use of descriptive, analytic, and predictive data assessment, and the integration of artificially intelligent decision-making systems that guide fleet managers in real-time.

4. Cybersecurity in advanced mobility applications, securitization of low-carbon smart mobility systems, including secure communications for autonomous and connected vehicles given the susceptibility of new vehicle systems to malicious attack.

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We are at the SmartDrivingCar Summit, join us!

SmartDrivingCar-SummitSmartDrivingCar Summit

Autonomous vehicles will disrupt and revolutionize mobility for communities, corporations and consumers.

SmartDrivingCar Summit

2getthere will be presenting at the second annual SmartDrivingCar Summit, reporting on the developments in relation to the recent announcement for the Rivium, NTU and Zaventem projects. The conference brings together buyers, sellers and facilitators of autonomous cars, trucks, and buses. It looks at the economic forces behind deployment and commercialization of autonomous vehicle technology—supply, demand, and public oversight.

The event is co-chaired by Prof. Alain Kornhauser of Princeton University and features a mix of academic, industry, and government speakers with each session packed with multiple experts. The conference features six workshops that will examine:
– Near-term autonomous vehicle deployment in the U.S.
– Near-term autonomous vehicle deployment in China and Europe
– The role of insurance in facilitating adoption by individuals, corporations and transit agencies
– Artificial intelligence, looking at sensors, software and data
– Ride hailing services, reviewing conventional, self-driving and driverless advances
– The what, how and when of achieving best outcomes in metropolitan planning

Focus Areas

Near-term Safety Benefits of Safe-driving Cars
How insurance and new car dealers can benefit by promoting the RoI advantages to fleets and mutually beneficial promotional discounts to consumers. As well as an update as to the performance in automatically avoiding crashes of the technology options available in showrooms today.

Near-term Regulatory Challenges
that are needed to facilitate the shared use of our existing streets by low and normal speed Driverless vehicles

Near-term Mobility and Community Service Benefits
of the array of emerging low-speed Driverless shuttles to all in gated communities and campuses, to the mobility disadvantaged in many/most suburban communities and to address first-mile, last-mile accessibility challenges in transit-oriented communities

The Current State-of-the-art in DeepDriving
to the long-term opportunities of using affordable Computer Vision and elegant Deep Learning training, testing and enhancing techniques in SmartDrivingCars, and more.

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Livery of the Bluewaters Island vehicles revealed during UITP Middle East

Buewaters-liveryRobbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer

innovation in public transit ensures not only the accessibility but also improves the liveability of smart cities like Dubai

Bluewaters Livery

In collaboration with Meraas, the Dubai-based holding company behind some of the city’s most popular urban destinations, Dutch technology firm 2getthere officially revealed the first Group Rapid Transit autonomous vehicle that will be used at Bluewaters. The new vehicle in Bluewaters livery was showcased during the UITP MENA Transport Congress and Exhibition, the most attended public transport event in the region. It is the first time that the public in Dubai will be able to get acquainted with this futuristic public transport solution.

Bluewaters is a modern, family-oriented destination created by Meraas on a manmade island off the coast of Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai. No less than 25 autonomous vehicles will be deployed to transport passengers from Dubai Metro to the island. These vehicles are designed and developed by 2getthere, a leading technology firm in autonomous transport.

The solution provided for the connection to Bluewaters is a perfect fit with Dubai’s Autonomous Transport Strategy, which was launched in 2017 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. In line with this ambitious strategy, 25 percent of all transportation trips in Dubai will be smart and driverless by 2030.

Converging trends

This year’s edition of the UITP MENA Transport Congress & Exhibition is based on the theme ‘Pioneering for Customer Happiness’, recognising that customers are at the core of public transport service. According to Robbert Lohmann, CCO of 2getthere, there is therefore no better opportunity to present the Bluewaters autonomous vehicles to the public. 2getthere will realise the project through its Middle East Joint Venture with United Technical Services.

Mr. Lohmann says: “It becomes clear that multiple trends in public transportation are converging. Firstly, innovation within public transit concepts and systems, ensuring not only the accessibility but also improving the liveability of smart cities like Dubai. Secondly, integrating new technologies leads to more customer happiness and increasing ridership. Together these trends contribute to both people in transit as well as in cities.”

2gethere can be found on stand no. 5C52 of the UITP MENA Transport Congress and Exhibition.

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Brussels Airport selects 2getthere for autonomous shuttle system

Brussels-Airport-Autonomous-ShuttleBen Weyts, Flemish Minister for Mobility

We are making an investment in the future, in greater efficiency and in a more attractive range of public transport

Following assignments by Bluewaters Island (Dubai) and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), Brussels Airport and De Lijn have decided to partner with 2getthere for the Brussels Airport Autonomous Shuttle. 2getthere’s fully autonomous (self-driving) shuttles will link Brussels Airport with the long term parking area. Brussels Airport is the first European airport to use autonomous shuttles in fully mixed traffic. The vehicles are expected to hit the road in 2021, after an intensive pilot phase, starting in 2019. Four other constructors were in the race for this highly desirable assignment. Please find below the joint Press Release by Brussels Airport and De Lijn.

Brussels Airport Autonomous Shuttle

The board of directors of De Lijn and the management committee of Brussels Airport Company have given the go-ahead for the first phase with a self-driving electric bus on the airport. The vehicle that is being developed for this, will be one of the first to drive in Belgium in mixed traffic. After the summer of 2019, tests without passengers will begin at 2getthere’s testsite in Utrecht. The shuttle bus will arrive at Brussels Airport in the beginning of 2020 for further tests.

Pioneering

In 2015, Brussels Airport Company and De Lijn entered into a partnership with the intent to deploy self-driving shuttles at the airport. After further study and the choice of the constructor, both companies gave full support to the pilot project for testing an autonomous shuttle on the airport grounds.

“As intermodal hub where various means of transport connect seamlessly with each other, Brussels Airport is constantly studying new possibilities for expanding this hub in a sustainable way. This technologically innovative project deploying a self-driving electric bus operating a fixed route, also fits in with our environmental commitment to keep the impact on our surroundings as low as possible”, says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company.

“Flanders is taking on the role of pioneer”, says Flemish Minister for Mobility Ben Weyts. “In other countries driverless vehicles are already operational, but that is often in a separate lane with a steward on board. Here, the aim is to have the self-driving shuttle drive autonomously on the public roads. This is cutting-edge technology that really appeals to the imagination. We are making an investment in the future, in greater efficiency and in a more attractive range of public transport.”

2 year tests

2getthere will start the project in the coming weeks. The contract is divided into two phases. The first phase covers the development and thorough testing of the technology until the middle of 2020. In autumn 2019, 2getthere will be conducting the first vehicle tests at its testsite in Utrecht. Upon successful completion, the first self-driving bus will arrive at Brussels Airport in the beginning of 2020 for further test drives at the airport. The test route for this development stage is in the Brucargo business zone.

The first phase with tests and development of the self-driving bus will take two years. In this period, De Lijn and Brussels Airport Company can perform all necessary safety tests in various weather conditions and traffic situations. During the test period, no passengers, visitors or staff will be on board.

Passengers by 2021

Upon a positive evaluation of the first phase of testing, De Lijn and Brussels Airport Company can deploy the self-driving shuttle from 2021 onwards on the airport grounds for the transport of passengers, visitors and staff on the route between the terminal and Brucargo.

Brussels Airport Company and De Lijn are sharing the project costs. De Lijn is responsible for the costs associated with people who travel by public transport (De Lijn, MIVB, NMBS) to the airport. The airport operator will foot the costs for the transport of persons who come to the airport by other means of transport (staff, visitors or passengers).

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MoU signed for Nanyang Technological University

MOU-for-NTU-SingaporeSjoerd van der Zwaan, Chief Technology Officer

NTU has ample experience with autonomous vehicles and knows exactly what it wants and what it doesn’t want

2getthere signs MoU for NTU

Today, 2getthere, the Utrecht-based company specializing in autonomous transit systems, Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) and SMRT Services have joined forces to deploy fully automated Group Rapid Transit (GRT) autonomous vehicles (AV) on the NTU Smart Campus by 2019. The three parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at a ceremony, paving the way for the GRT to be integrated into NTU’s transport network. The new GRTs will be tested on NTU’s campus in a few phases, which will start around the last quarter this year. The vehicles are expected to operate a service route that connects NTU’s halls of residences with the main academic areas, serving 200 to 300 passengers daily.

The 2getthere silent roadster uses magnetic pellets on the road for autonomous navigation and can travel in both directions. It has a top speed of 40 kilometres per hour and can ferry 24 passengers with seating space for eight. The collaboration will also involve conducting research to improve autonomous vehicle technologies such as increasing the use of artificial intelligence, developing advanced sensors and sensor fusion algorithms, and improving fleet management technologies. The trial would be gradually expanded campus-wide, running alongside other autonomous vehicles that have already been undergoing tests since 2012. This latest testbedding of autonomous vehicles is part of the university’s Smart Campus initiative to develop rapidly advancing transport technologies to benefit the NTU community and society.

NTU knows what it wants

Mr Sjoerd van der Zwaan, Chief Technology Officer of 2getthere, stated, “It is exciting to be able to work together with NTU and SMRT while capitalising on the synergy of an actual AV implementation and investing in research simultaneously. NTU has ample experience with autonomous vehicles and knows exactly what it wants and what it doesn’t want – in terms of availability, reliability, quality, safety and AV features such as comfort and user experience. In combination with SMRT’s operations expertise, all key ingredients are present to ensure a successful implementation of our AVs at NTU. We look forward to our continued cooperation.”

NTU President Professor Subra Suresh, said, “NTU’s campus is not only a living testbed for innovative technologies, but also the first to test driverless vehicles on Singapore roads. Autonomous vehicles are an integral part of the NTU Smart Campus vision, which leverages tech-enabled solutions to create better living and learning experiences. This new collaboration with SMRT and 2getthere highlights our goal of developing cutting-edge transport solutions that will benefit Singapore and beyond.”

Mr Desmond Kuek, President and Group CEO of SMRT, said, “NTU is a leading research institution in AV technology. SMRT is proud to work with NTU and 2getthere to deploy the first operational AV service in Singapore. This MoU marks the commitment of the three parties in leveraging the latest AV technology for our public transport system and redefine the standard for a world-class transport service.”

The GRT had undergone preliminary tests along a 350-metre route between two NTU halls of residences since November last year. During the trials, close to 4,000 passengers were ferried between the two stops.

Part of the joint MaaS testbed

The GRT was introduced to NTU as part of the Mobility-as-a-Service testbed, a collaboration between NTU, JTC and SMRT last September. The testbed seeks to integrate multiple modes of transport, including shuttle buses, bike sharing systems, e-scooters and e-bikes, and the autonomous GRT into a single mobility platform called jalan-jalan, developed by mobilityX to improve connectivity and travel within NTU’s campus and JTC’s CleanTech Park in Jurong Innovation District, which will be the largest living lab in Singapore. Jalan-jalan is a Malay term for ‘going for a walk’.

The smartphone application jalan-jalan received strong support during its pilot run between NTU’s campus and JTC’s CleanTech Park from last August. Just for e-scooters alone, the app was used to book over 67,000 trips, clocking a total mileage of over 80,000 kilometres.

Edward Lim Xun Qian, President of NTU’s Student Union, said, “The app allows a seamless and convenient way to travel around NTU’s large campus, right from our halls to our classes. Not only does it help us book Personal Mobility Devices such as e-scooters, the app is also integrated with public and shuttle buses around campus, providing an all-in-one transport solution for students.”

Colin Lim, mobilityX CEO said, “The NTU and CTP community have a greater range of transport options, and have experienced improved connectivity through innovative first-and-last mile transport solutions like the AV and scooter and bicycle sharing. For example, the utilisation rate of each scooter at approximately 20 trips/day is one of the highest in Singapore.”

Glory Wee, Director, Aerospace, Marine and Urban Solutions, JTC said, “We are delighted by the positive response from the CleanTech Park community on the trial. Urban solutions, such as Mobility-as-a-Service, help us improve the travel experience of the communities in JTC’s estates and lay the foundation for next-generation connectivity and mobility infrastructure in our new estates.”

Currently serving 12 stops on NTU’s campus and the CleanTech Park area, the app will gradually include more stops and manage more mobility options based on users’ feedback and test results.

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Exhibiting 3rd generation GRT vehicle at UITP Dubai

UITP-MenaRobbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer

“There is nothing like seeing and feeling to understand; the quality of the vehicle sets it apart.”

2getthere vehicle at UITP

At the upcoming UITP Mena congress and exhibition, 2getthere will be displaying its 3rd generation GRT autonomous vehicle. Accommodating up to 24 passengers, the vehicle will be featured first in the Bluewaters Island development by Meraas. “Experience from other exhibitions has taught us that there is nothing better than seeing and feeling to understand what the new generation vehicle can contribute to the accessibility of a development. Having the vehicle there makes it real, people can touch it, sit it and experience the dimensions and comfort. The quality of the vehicle, both in design and build, really sets it apart.”, according to Robbert Lohmann.

If you are interested to meet with us, please reach out and contact us.

About UITP Mena

With a growing number of participants, technical offers, networking opportunities, and an extensive exhibition showcasing who’s who in the public transport industry, the MENA Transport Congress and Exhibition is the premiere and most attended public transport event in the Region.

The 2018 theme of the MENA Transport Congress & Exhibition, “pioneering for CUSTOMER happiness”, recognizes the customer as the core of public transport service and incorporates happiness and not only satisfaction. From autonomous technologies to transport network services and introduction of public transport services in new markets, perhaps the region stands out most how to best address social and cultural barriers to using public transport.

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Workhorse testing of the 3rd generation vehicle

Workhorse-testingRobbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer

[quote]”It is really good to see testing progressing for the projects in delivery – especially the speed is impressive.”[/quote]
 

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Workhorse Testing

For the new generation GRT vehicle workhorse testing is progressing. At 2getthere’s Utrecht based testsite, the verification and validation team has been busy for months with vehicle tests. On Friday April 5th we filmed one of the first tests with a fully loaded vehicle at 35 kilometers per hour. Even though the speed is already impressive, we are even more pleased with the stability and comfort on the vehicle on the uneven surface and the low noise levels. The workhorse testing is a typical step in 2getthere’s system lifecycle approach. After having tested the basic functionality of the vehicle platform over the last few months, we have now reached the stage where higher velocity tests are being conducted. Once all these tests pass, we’ll move on to a similar phased testing program for the first prototype.

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Differntiator

Robbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer: “With the Bluewaters and Rivium projects under contract, it is really good to see testing progressing. We have a very good team that is working dilligently on completing the engineering and the testing of the new generation vehicle. Together with the cutting-edge supervisory system, it easily puts ahead of the remainder of the market. In terms of fucntionality, technology robustness and driving behavior, 2getthere’s offering is simply much better. More and more we also see the market becoming aware and realizing that we deliver a lot more than a simple demonstration.’

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2getthere opens project office at business park Rivium

Most-advanced-autonomous-vehicleFrans Goyarts, Chief Operations Officer

“The project office provides us a space at the heart of the project and accommodates our employees from the region.”

Rivium Project Office

With the recent award of the replacement and expansion of the Rivium project, 2getthere decided to open an office at the business park. Being close to the site where the system needs to be installed, allows for project meetings to be held locally and work closely alongside the city of Capelle aan den IJssel, MRDH and all other parties involved in the delivery of the project. The office is at a premium location, overlooking the river ‘Nieuwe Maas’ and the Van Brienenoord-bridge.

Regional Workforce

The Rivium office also provides an office close to home for 2getthere employees living in the Rotterdam-the Hague area. With many of 2getthere’s employees having graduated from the Technical University in Delft, the area is well represented among the company’s workforce. With the flexibility to work from home, when not possible, the local office provides an alternative to HQ in Utrecht.

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3rd generation GRT vehicle steals the show at Intertraffic

Most-advanced-autonomous-vehicleRobbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer

“The compliments from visitors are humbling and make us proud of the product that we are bringing to the market.”

Quite the show

At the Intertraffic Exhibition in Amsterdam (20-23 March, 2018) 2getthere’s new vehicle is quite the show: most likely the vehicle is the most photographed object at the exhibition. For the 2getthere staff at the exhibition the praise of visitors of the looks and the build quality if humbling and makes us proud of the product that we are bringing to the market. The vehicle will be debuting at the Rivium and Bluewaters projects under contract as permanent applications shortly.

Rivium 3.0 Presentation

On Wednesday March 21, 2getthere jointly presented on the Rivium 3.0 project with the city of Capelle aan den IJssel. In a 30 minute presentation the speakers shared information on the parties involved and how 2getthere’s ParkShuttle will be transformed into the world’s first autonomous system operating on public roads without featuring a safety driver or steward on board. The Smart Mobility Theatre was filled to the brim, with good follow up afterwards at the booth.

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Connexxion selected to operate Rivium 3.0

connexxion awarded operationsBram Moelker, operator Connexxion

“This is great news. We look forward to continuing to operate the system for the next 15 years.”

Connexxion awarded operations

In the coming years, 2getthere’s new GRT vehicles will transform the ParkShuttle in Capelle aan den IJssel into the world’s first autonomous system operating on public roads without featuring a safety driver or steward on board. To enable this the Metropolitan region Rotterdam The Hague (MRDH) has awarded to concession to operate the ParkShuttle from 2018 through 2033 to public transit operating company Connexion, part of Transdev. When the first driverless vehicles hit the public roads in 2020, it is a world first established by the metropolitan region. Lennart Harpe, responsible for public transit development at MRDH: ‘This concession underlines MRDH’s ambition to further increase regional mobility and to support the Roadmap NextEconomy by becoming an internationally leading research- and application area for autonomous transit for the last mile.’

The ParkShuttle system between subway station Kralingse Zoom in Rotterdam and business park Rivium in Capelle aan den IJssel is the first urban autonomous transit system in the Netherlands and in operation since 1999. Over the years over 6 million passengers have used the system.

>20% increase in daily usage

The current system will be replaced with 6 GRT (Group Rapid Transit) vehicles manufactured by 2getthere, which provide a capacity of approximately 500 passengers per hour per direction. The service will commence on the current trajectory by the summer of 2019. The extension over public roads towards the new to be established stop of the Waterbus will commence in 2020.

The renewal and extension of the ParkShuttle system has been the ambition of the city of Capelle aan den IJssel for a while. The system carries over 2,200 passengers on a daily basis. According to alderman Dick van Sluis this number will increase significantly: ‘With the extension in 2020 the system in the unique link between the Waterbus and the subway network of Rotterdam. We expect the number of daily passengers to increase with 20% as a result.’

MRDH contributes 600,000 Euro per year to the operations of the system. The city of Capelle aan den IJssel and De Verkeersonderming contributed financially to the delivery of the system.

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14 million passengers delivered and counting

most experience autonomous vehicle supplierRobbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer 2getthere

“The experience with day-to-day passengers is invaluable.”

Most experienced autonomous vehicle supplier

Based on the daily operations at Schiphol, Rivium, Floriade and Masdar City, 2getthere delivered over 14 million passengers to their destination to date. This excludes passengers transported as part of demonstrations and trials in France, Monaco, Germany, Singapore and the Netherlands as well as the large-scale ride system delivered in a high-profile theme park attraction in cooperation with Oceaneering.

The number of passengers delivered makes 2getthere the most experienced autonomous vehicle supplier. By a lot. At Rivium the 2nd generation GRT transit system has carried 2,500 passengers on a daily basis for the past 11 years. With the introduction of the 3rd generation and the extension towards the Waterbus, this number is expect to increase further to approximately 3,000 per day. Robbert Lohmann: ‘The gap towards other companies entering the market for Shared Autonomous Vehicles will only become larger upon the opening of the Bluewaters application. With an hourly capacity of 3,500 passengers, the system is likely to deliver in excess of 15,000 people per day to their destination. 7 days a week, 365 days per year.’

Actual Behavior versus Conscious Behavior

The real value of the experience doesn’t lie in the passenger number, but having learned from the actual behavior of passengers. Lohmann explains: ‘We have done demonstrations and delivered applications. The difference between the two is that in demonstrations, passengers are aware that this is a demonstration and exhibit ‘conscious behavior’; if there is a fault in the system they are patient, almost accepting and thankful to experience the development process. In real life, there is no patience, just anxiety about being late or missing a connection. Being able to deal with this technically, by ensuring availability and reliablity, and operationally, is what sets 2getthere apart from start-up suppliers. The experience with day-to-day passengers is invaluable.’

The experience influences design and technology choices in support of providing the required system availability and reliability. ‘Operations have to be ensured during all weather conditions – rain or shine – and in all environments, even hot and humid. That’s why we put great attention into the development of the airconditioning system in the 3rd generation GRT vehicle.’ 14 million and counting!

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Driverless vehicles? A piece of cake!

Robbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer 2getthere

“This will be the first certified driverless system without safety steward.”

Driverless Vehicle Safety Assurance

February 6th marked the kick-off of the safety assurance process of the Driverless Vehicle project at #Rivium business park in the Netherlands. The application will be the first in the world without safety driver on board and with certification. The new law which allows a driverless vehilce on Dutch roads is expected to be active in 2019 and prevents exemptions and safety drivers being required for operations of autonomous vehicles.

The law assigns the responsibility for approval to RDW, the authority responsible for approval and validation of vehicles on Dutch roads. For the approval process RDW involves several expert organizations which evaluate 2getthere’s safety case and the application design relative to the set safety target for their own area of expertise.

Driverless: Piece of Cake

The stakeholders involved in the process include SWOV (road safety specialists), De Verkeersonderneming (Public-Private Partnership ensuring accessibility of Rotterdam region), de Metropoolregio Rotterdam Den Haag (Regional Transit Authority), AON (insurance), Connekt (Network for Smart Mobility), local police and of the local cities of Capelle aan den IJssel and Rotterdam.

The ultimate goal is to advance the knowledge and introduction of autonomous vehicles, develop and introduce new guidelines, rules, regulations in Europe. The kick-off was both inspiring and delightful, with all stakeholders becoming aware of the challenges of the project ahead while enjoying a piece of cake.

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Altran delivers new 3rd generation vehicle

Carel van Helsdingen, Chief Executive Officer 2getthere

“It is great to work with dedicated, proud partners.”

New Delivery

With great pride Altran celebrated the new delivery of 2getthere’s driverless vehicles, capable of operating in mixed traffic or as Automated People Mover. The vehicle was fully engineered and produced by Altran, located at the Automotive Campus in Helmond. #driverless #ZeroEmission #SmartCities

Made in Holland

The vehicle was fully engineered and produced by Altran, located at the Automotive Campus in Helmond. #driverless #ZeroEmission #SmartCities

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Rivium business park first to introduce autonomous shuttles in mixed traffic

Robbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer 2getthere

“This is a 3rd-generation system; the product of 20 years of experience with earlier generations.”

First autonomous system

In the coming years, 2getthere’s ParkShuttle in the Rotterdam region (Capelle aan den IJssel) will be transformed into the world’s first autonomous system operating on public roads without featuring a safety driver or steward on board. With the ParkShuttle, the city aims to further increase regional accessibility. It’s a world premiere for the Netherlands: no permanent autonomous system operates on public roads anywhere in the world.

The first phase of the new system will be operational by 2019. Today, the city of Capelle aan den IJssel, De Verkeersonderneming and technology supplier 2getthere signed an agreement to this end. The new system will also be the first system to meet the certification criteria for the draft legislation governing the use of self-driving vehicles in the Netherlands (Experimenteerwet zelfrijdende auto).

The ParkShuttle that runs between metro station Kralingse Zoom and business park Rivium is the first urban driverless vehicle system in the Netherlands and has been operational since 1999. In the 17 years that have passed, more than six million passengers have used the system. It has been a long-standing ambition of the city of Capelle aan den IJssel and 2getthere to renew the system and expand the route via existing public roads.

Now this ambition will become reality. 2getthere will supply six new shuttle vehicles (GRTs) with a capacity to transport 500 passengers per hour in each direction. The new GRTs will be operational on the current route in the summer of 2019. In 2020, this route will be extended towards a stop at the Van Brienenoord bridge where passengers can board the Waterbus. The route will run over public roads, amongst manually driven traffic. The Waterbus connects the ‘Drecht cities’ (Alblasserdam, Dordrecht, Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, Papendrecht, Sliedrecht and Zwijndrecht) with Rotterdam, with the ParkShuttle providing access to the Rotterdam metro network. It is expected that the ParkShuttle will see a 20% increase in daily passenger numbers as a result of the extension.

Safe and ready for public roads

The extension of the current route is a world first. Demonstrations with stewards on board (level 3 autonomy) are conducted regularly, but there is no autonomous system operating on a public road and in mixed traffic without a steward (level 4 autonomy) anywhere in the world. Although 2getthere has global experience developing fully autonomous public transport systems, this is the first time that so many level crossings with regular traffic and pedestrians have to be configured.

According to 2getthere’s CCO Robbert Lohmann, this is now a feasible challenge due to a combination of spatial planning and the latest technological developments, ensuring optimum safety for all road users. Lohmann: ‘Bear in mind that this is a third-generation system; it is the product of 20 years of experience with earlier generations. Driving autonomously on public roads has become part of our technological road map and ties in with our vision on autonomous transportation in general. Not only the system itself is taken into account but also how autonomous transport fits into the urban environment.’

2getthere expects the Lower Chamber of the Dutch Parliament to vote in favour of the new bill on the experimental use of self-driving vehicles that will be discussed next year. Lohmann: ‘This bill determines what authorisation requirements are appropriate for fully autonomous vehicles. We are currently looking into this with the Dutch Government Road Transport Agency (RDW) to determine what is required and how to fulfil the most stringent safety requirements. This alone shows that this is truly a pioneering project.’

Investment >EUR 4 million

The new ParkShuttle requires a EUR 8.5 million investment, half of which will come from De Verkeersonderneming Rotterdam, a public-private partnership between the Municipality of Rotterdam, the Rotterdam/The Hague Metropolitan Area, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, and Port of Rotterdam. The investment forms part of the ‘Marktplaats voor Infrastructuur’, an initiative that promotes infrastructure-related public-private partnerships. It also underlines the ambition of the Metropolitan Area to assume a leading role in the realisation of autonomous transit.

Currently the ParkShuttle carries over 2,400 passengers daily. This number will increase significantly according to Capelle aan den IJssel’s Alderman Dick van Sluis: ‘We are exploring the possibilities to extend the route to Erasmus University Rotterdam. This extension, as well as the connection to transport over water, will result in a massive increase in the amount of passengers. We are also anticipating the realisation of Rotterdam’s new stadium Feyenoord City, allowing spectators and visitors of events to travel from Rivium. The business park will be able to welcome many visitors who aren’t necessarily reliant on their car, which fits really well with our ambition to transform it into the Rivium Campus: an attractive urban environment where working, living and leisure go hand in hand.’

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Demonstrating Level 4 on the biggest stage in the UAE

Robbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer 2getthere

“The only demonstration to date that is true level 4 (not featuring a steward).”

Level 4 demonstration

During the official celebration of the 46th National Day on Saturday evening December 2nd in Abu Dhabi, Masdar and 2getthere’s PRT vehicle took center stage in front of Members of the Royal Families, Supreme Council members, Rulers of the emirates, Crown Princes and Deputy Rulers. The level 4 demonstration with the autonomous vehicle, in full operation at Masdar since 2010, was part of a show entitled ‘Here is the Future’, driving up a ramp to deliver one of the contributors of the show to center stage, allowing him to alight.

It is notable in the sense that the demonstration as part of the show is the only demonstration to date where not safety driver or steward was present on-board. Across the world many types of autonomous vehicles are being demonstrated, which always feature a safety steward on board (level 3). Level 4 is currently the highest level achievable, and has so far only been demonstrated by 2getthere. 2getthere’s vehicles are the most advanced available on the market, achieving safety certification and having been evaluated by independent safety assessors. The Utrecht-based company has already sold its first two level 4 systems to parties in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai) and the Netherlands (Capelle aan de IJssel).

Attendance

The show was attended by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. Also present were Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Ruler of Ajman, Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Ruler of Fujairah, Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla, Ruler of Umm Al Quwain, and Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.

They were joined by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, Sheikh Rashid bin Saud Al Mualla, Crown Prince of Umm Al Quwain, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah.
A group of sheikhs, ministers, senior officials and commanders of the Armed Forces and police were also present at the event.

A short summary of the show can be seen here
The complete show is available here

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When will autonomous transit be a reality? (whitepaper)

Robbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer 2getthere

“As soon as possible, we should be deploying applications that actually work in the here and now.”

Autonomous transit a reality

Large-scale introduction of driverless vehicles in modern urban traffic is an unlikely scenario for the next 10 to 15 years. This is the conclusion of a whitepaper, ‘When will autonomous transit be a reality’, published today by 2getthere, the Utrecht-based company that specializes in autonomous transit solutions. Instead of focusing solely on technology that makes cars autonomous, it would be better to work towards an urban traffic infrastructure in which a gradual development can take place from semi-autonomous vehicles to fully autonomous ones.

According to the authors of the whitepaper, Robbert Lohmann and Sjoerd van der Zwaan, 2getthere’s Chief Operations Officer and Chief Technology Officer, the world of autonomous transit is characterized by a watershed. On the one side we see the car manufacturers, who are betting heavily on technology that will enable cars to find their way without the help of a driver on the highway within just a few years. On the other side are the developers of automated systems of public transport, who connect vehicle autonomy with obstacle detection and separate lanes. Semi-autonomous systems like this are already in use with more soon to be operational, for instance in the Netherlands at the Rivium Businesspark in Capelle aan den IJssel and in Masdar City (Abu Dhabi). From 2019 Dubai will also be operating such a system connecting the Dubai subway system with Bluewaters Island, just off the Dubai coast. The Bluewaters Island APM will be a sustainable and autonomous system carrying up to 5,000 passengers per hour in each direction.

Read and download here the whitepaper: ‘When will autonomous transit be a reality?’

Autonomous transit systems

‘What we see happening is that car manufacturers and tech-companies are spending massively on marketing and organizing spectacular pilot projects in a bid to win over the public as well as the decision-makers in government’, says Lohmann. ‘However, our conclusion is that in reality, despite undeniable leaps in technology, fully autonomous cars (level 5) will not hit the road for many years – if ever.

In our whitepaper, therefore, we make a case for a paradigm shift: first start deploying automated transit systems in controlled environments (level 4), and then slowly, step by step, reduce the level of control. This will allow the technology to develop towards maturity without risking passenger safety.’

Gradual development

The strength of 2getthere’s philosophy is that society will soon be able to reap the benefits of autonomous transit without the disadvantages of the rule of the restrictive headstart. ‘Autonomous vehicles can add a significant amount of capacity to existing public transport, as they are a natural extension as feeder systems,’ says Lohmann. ‘Capelle in the Netherlands is a picture perfect example, where our Parkshuttle has for many years already been a popular “last mile” solution to get from the Kralingse Zoom subway station to Rivium Businesspark. It was recently decided to renew the existing Parkshuttle system and to expand its route to include a section of public road. This way we will be able to incrementally move towards a situation in which all forms of transportation, such as cars, bicycles, water bus, Parkshuttle and subway trains are seamlessly connected. Autonomous transit systems will soon be genuinely integrated into the transport chain.’

According to the authors, business campuses but also airfields are the perfect location for groundbreaking experiments in autonomous transit solutions. Lohmann: ‘The parameters in these locations are well known and you know which settings can be adjusted. Demonstrations of things that might be possible many years from now can be sexy, but we should be careful not to give decision-makers the wrong impression. As soon as possible, we should be deploying applications that actually work in the here and now, and on the basis of our experience introduce new generation after new generation. We predict that this will be a faster route towards autonomous transportation.’

Read and download also the whitepaper (July 2017): ‘Automation and Smart Cities: Opportunity or threat?’

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2getthere successfully completes extreme weather climate test

Robbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer 2getthere

“The successful climate test shows the attention to details; the GRT is easily the best and most sophisticated shared autonomous vehicle available.”

Successful climate test

2getthere’s newly developed prototype of a Group Rapid Transit (GRT) autonomous vehicle a succeful climate test in simulated desert climate conditions. It was subject to three tests in weather conditions such as ‘hot dry’ and ‘hot humid’, with a focus on the performance of the air conditioning system at the vehicles’ maximum (24) passenger capacity. The test results show that the battery-powered vehicles are able to maintain an indoor temperature of 23˚C even in the worst-case scenario (52˚C outside temperature and 3% humidity). The extreme climate test is one in a long line of tests.

The simulated weather conditions during the test included extremely high temperatures and sun radiation. Both are common in Dubai, with average peaks in sun radiation of 1,040 Watts per square metre around noon and peaks in temperature of 52˚C around 3.30pm. In the climatic chamber, both peaks were simulated at the same time, the most extreme scenario and one that is highly unlikely to ever become reality.

The passengers (16 standing passengers representing 120 Watts each and eight seated passengers each representing 100 Watts) were simulated by placing a 3000-Watt heat source inside the vehicle. A vital part of the test focused on performance during transition: the speed at which indoor conditions are brought back to the most comfortable level for passengers after the doors close and the vehicle starts its journey. The most extreme situation tested was based on the vehicle standing still with the doors opened for six minutes. In actual circumstances much shorter stops will suffice to allow 24 passengers to enter the vehicle and find their places. Moreover, these stops will normally happen at an air-conditioned station environment.

Performance exceeds specifications

The air conditioning system for the new generation GRT was developed in close collaboration with suppliers DC Airco and NLR (Netherlands Aerospace Centre). NLR has used the simulation of heat management in relation to airflow within the vehicle in its design of the air conditioning. The results of the climatic chamber test exceed all expectations based on 2getthere’s specifications. The development of the air conditioning system was partly financed with an MIT research grant from Utrecht province in which DC Airco and 2getthere have participated together.

According to 2getthere the successful climate test marks yet another step towards the operational deployment of the system in extreme climates.

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Oceaneering and 2getthere sign a teaming agreement for transit at theme parks

 Carel van Helsdingen, Chief Executive Officer 2getthere

“For us, this is an affirmation of our market-leading position in the area of autonomous vehicles.”

Long-term agreement for entertainment industry

2getthere, a pioneer and worldwide market leader in autonomous passenger vehicles and automated people mover solutions, today announced they have signed a long-term agreement with Oceaneering International, Inc. (“Oceaneering”) (NYSE: OII) headquartered in Houston, Texas. This agreement will combine the expertise and capabilities of these two companies to collaborate in the design, development and advancement of automated people-mover systems serving the U.S. markets and Entertainment venues worldwide. Leading the efforts for Oceaneering will be a division of its Advanced Technologies business segment, Oceaneering Entertainment Systems (“OES”). The agreement combines the key strategic strengths of both companies, utilizing Oceaneering’s engineering, production, and market expertise with 2getthere’s proven automated vehicle systems, design and their time-proven navigation and traffic management software expertise.

This arrangement will introduce 2getthere’s autonomous vehicle technologies to the rapidly expanding theme park and entertainment markets around the world, building on the strong relationships that have been developed with OES over the past 12 years. These people-mover systems are ideally suited for the significant transportation solutions that are required at these large venues, allowing for the safe, efficient and cost-effective movement of resort guests. By providing flexible point-to-point inter-connections from auto parking areas, public transit nodes, and nearby hotels to, in, and around these often massive resort complexes, AGVs have become increasingly attractive to owner-operators around the globe.

2getthere and Oceaneering are building upon a long period of successful cooperation. The companies collaborated on several early concept and schematic designs for some large-scale people mover systems in several U.S. states beginning as early as 2004. While none of those were ever realized, the companies both recognized the huge potential of these systems, and the mutual success of their collaborations. That success continued when 2getthere assisted FROG AGV, another Utrecht-based company later purchased by Oceaneering, with the first implementation of Oceaneering’s award-winning REVOLUTION™ Tru-Trackless™ ride system at Sea World Orlando in 2012. REVOLUTION uses the same base navigation technologies as the 2getthere people-mover systems. Most recently, in 2016, the companies joined again to deliver a large-scale people-mover system in a high-profile theme park attraction in the US.

2getthere has built an impressive body of IP in the field of vehicle controls, supervisory and wayside control systems, and sensor technologies. These developments make 2getthere a world leader in autonomous vehicles and people mover systems, having delivered successful projects in Europe and the Middle East. The company currently has new projects under contract at Bluewaters Island (Dubai, UAE) and business park Rivium (Capelle aan den IJssel, the Netherlands) and is involved closely in several genesis projects in the USA.

OES is a market leading supplier of theme park dark ride vehicle systems, custom show equipment, and specialty show systems and controls. The Themed Entertainment Association awarded their coveted THEA award for Breakthrough Technology to OES for developing the REVOLUTION Tru-Trackless Dark Ride System in 2012. Oceaneering supports a wide array of industries, delivering custom solutions to solve unique and complex challenges worldwide. Oceaneering brings extensive capabilities in engineering, production, vehicle assembly and testing, deployment and commissioning, as well as industry and market expertise globally in the Theme Park and Entertainment segments. They are able to leverage expertise from many diverse industries, from deep-water ROVs to Space Systems to unique military applications, with particular emphasis on safety, maintainability and reliability engineering.

Strategic Importance

According to Carel van Helsdingen, CEO of 2getthere, this agreement acknowledges the leading position his company’s technology currently has in the field of autonomous driving and transport systems. “For an industry-leading company like Oceaneering, who are intimately familiar with automated vehicle technology for their trackless rides, to enter into an agreement with us to work together on the delivery of projects in their market is a testament to our systems. For us, this is an affirmation of our market-leading position in the area of autonomous vehicles.”

The agreement is of great strategic importance for 2getthere, as it enables the company to further penetrate into the market of automated people movers at entertainment venues world-wide, and also into large-scale campus and public transportation systems within the US. “OES has extensive knowledge in this sector and understands perfectly the demand of its customers.” Van Helsdingen also noted the key factor of Oceaneering’s significant U.S.-based manufacturing capabilities in serving the U.S. markets.

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Automation and Smart Cities: opportunity or a threat?

 Sjoerd van der Zwaan & Robbert Lohmann, 2getthere

“There is a clear need here for policy from government and local authorities.”

Driverless Car a threat

Is the driverless car a threat? Unless wise policy choices are made, autonomous cars could well make our cities even busier and more unsafe than they already are. This is the conclusion of the Utrecht-based technology company 2getthere, which specializes in automated transit solutions, in the white paper ‘Automation and Smart Cities: Opportunity or threat?’. According to 2getthere, urban policymakers are gazing at autonomous cars through rose-tinted glasses, and are not properly considering the potential negative scenarios.

In the white paper, the company observes that autonomous cars feature in just about every study on cities of the future – smart cities. In this context, they are regarded as the key to fewer cars on the road and reduced traffic movements in cities, while alleviating parking pressure and improving air quality. It is also believed that automation will significantly enhance traffic safety.

According to the authors Robbert Lohmann and Sjoerd van der Zwaan, however, who respectively hold the positions of Chief Operations Officer and Chief Technology Officer at 2getthere, these lofty expectations are unrealistic – at least, without supplementary policy decisions.

Solving the congestion

Lohmann: “This is because replacing traditional cars on a one-to-one basis with autonomous cars will not solve the problem of congestion: a combination is needed with shared use, or preferably, public transport. Autonomous cars will indeed improve air quality, but this will have to be in conjunction with sustainable electrification for a cleaner and more sustainable environment on a global scale. Autonomous cars must be able to stop anywhere to pick up passengers and they also need a place to park when not in use or while their batteries are charging. This means that car parks and parking spaces will continue to be necessary. It is also important to note that autonomous cars will be safer than regular cars, but they are not safer than public transport. In addition, the transition from manually driven cars to autonomous cars, where both share the road, also entails risks for other road users.”

Four daily rush hours instead of two

In the white paper, 2getthere describes various scenarios in which autonomous cars are likely to cause more rather than fewer problems in cities. Van der Zwaan: “For instance, because people who currently opt for public transport may switch to autonomous road transport. Or because there will be four rather than two daily rush hour periods, as autonomous cars will be parking themselves outside the city limits during the day.”

The authors therefore believe that urban policymakers must concentrate primarily on autonomous public transport type solutions, and where necessary, provide reserved bus lanes to guarantee traffic flow. Lohmann: “It is true that a mix of the ingredients of self-driving, pick-up and delivery, shared car use, and sustainable electricity is conducive to more liveable and pedestrian-friendly cities, but we believe that this cannot simply be left to the market. In that case, there is the danger that there will be many autonomous vehicles on the roads in the future that are used inefficiently, consume a lot of energy, and only add to the chaos. There is a clear need here for policy from government and local authorities.”

Read our free white paper now:
‘Automation and Smart Cities: Opportunity or threat?’

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Prototype 3rd generation autonomous vehicles on the move

Prototype-shippingRobbert Lohmann, Chief Operations Officer, 2getthere

“The GRT is sure to impress with its looks, technology and performance. It is simply the most mature autonomous vehicle available.”

Prototype Driverless Vehicle

Today a special flight departed from Schiphol Airport to Asia. Dutch technology firm 2getthere placed a newly developed prototype driverless vehicle vehicle (GRT) on transport to Singapore. The prototype driverless vehicle carries passengers autonomously, without the intervention of a driver or steward. In the future, the vehicle will also serve Bluewaters Island in Dubai and Rivium business park in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is ensuring it is the focus of attention with regards to autonomous vehicles internationally. The GRT vehicle is a creation of the Utrecht technology firm 2getthere, specializing in the development of solutions in the field of autonomous transport. The third generation vehicle will be used for demonstrations at various locations in Singapore, including the Kim Chuan Depot (KCD) and Nanyang Technical University. This is done on behalf of 2getthere Asia, a joint venture between 2getthere and Singapore’s public transport company SMRT, also a shareholder of the Dutch company.

The new GRT is designed by the renowned automotive designer Zagato from Milan (known for unique car designs for Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari and Aston Martin). With a length of 6 meters, width of 2.1 meters and height of 2.8 meters, the GRT accommodates up to 24. The vehicle is based on the latest technological developments, with the battery for example charging from 30% to 80% in just 10 minutes.

World First

The new GRT is intended to be deployed in Dubai in the future, where 2getthere has obtained a large contract for autonomous public transport to Bluewaters Island.

In addition, the vehicle will also be driving in the Netherlands: 2getthere is also the company behind the Parkshuttle in Capelle aan den IJssel. This cooperation was extended earlier this year, with the deployment of the new GRT featuring a world first for 2getthere and the municipality of Capelle: the first fully autonomous system on the public road, in permanent operation and without steward.

Autonomous transport solutions based on technology and systems developed by 2getthere are cost-effective, in addition to environmentally friendly. Compared with traditional rail-based solutions, savings can be made of 50% on infrastructure and maintenance. For this reason, self-propelled transportation systems are very suitable for medium-sized airports, business campuses (up to 50,000 employees) and entertainment parks.

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First autonomous shuttles on the public road at Rivium business park

Alderman Traffic and Transit, Dick Van Sluis

“Currently the ParkShuttle carries over 2,400 passengers daily. This number will increase significantly.”

world’s first

From 2018 2getthere’s autonomous ParkShuttle in the city of Capelle aan den IJssel will be transformed in the world’s first autonomous system operating on public roads without safety driver or steward. This world first, follows the first autonomous vehicle pilot (Schiphol Airport, 1997), the first urban autonomous vehicle application (Capelle aan den IJssel, 1999), the first mixed traffic demonstration with an autonomous vehicle (Delft, 2004) and the world’s first Personal Rapid Transit system (Masdar City, 2010).

4,25 million Euro investment

Last November the Metropolitan region Rotterdam The Hague (MRDH) announced the extension of the current operating concession of Connexxion through 2018. The city of Capelle aan den IJssel and  2getthere, at that time already expressed their ambition to renew the system and extend the route using existing public roads. This ambition is now becoming reality with help of an investment of 4,25 million Euro on behalf of the ‘Verkeersonderneming Rotterdam’, a public-private-partnership between the city of Rotterdam, MRDH, the ministry of Infrastructure and the Port of Rotterdam.

Leading by Example

Robbert Lohmann, COO  2getthere, states: ‘Rivium is the only truly autonomous system operating at grade today. With the steps now taken, it will become the first autonomous system to mix with other traffic on public roads without safety driver or steward as well. This is a major step, as we are delivering an application rather than a demonstration and are skipping the stage in which a steward is still required in every vehicle. Having over 12 years of experience with truly autonomous operations, it wouldn’t make sense to have to reintroduce a person on each vehicle like the various demonstrations now feature. The investment made now shows the ambition and leading role of the region and the city as well as the competitive edge ;2getthere,  has over start-up companies trying to develop concepts which they hope eventually have similar capabilities.’

transportation chain

Alderman Traffic and Transit Dick van Sluis of the City of Capelle aan den IJssel is also thrilled with the investment. ‘Our ambition is to transform business park Rivium into an innovative transit node. The route of the ParkShuttle system is extended to the base of the Van Brienenoordbridge where a connection to the Waterbus [a local transportation service connecting various cities in the Rotterdam area – ed.] will be realized. The investment is part of a regional investment program by the Metropolitan region and its first important step in assuming a leading role in the realization of autonomous transit.

In addition to the extension of the route within Rivium, we will also commence an electric bike sharing scheme and create a seamless transition from car, bike, waterbus, ParkShuttle and metro. Driverless transit will be an integral part of the transportation chain and not just a ‘last mile’ solution for travel between Rivium and metro station Kralingse Zoom.’

Significant Growth

Currently the ParkShuttle carries over 2,400 passengers daily. This number will increase significantly according to Alderman Van Sluis: ‘We are exploring the possibilities to extend the route to the Erasmus University. This extension, as well as the connection to transport over water, will result in a massive increase in the amount of passengers. We are also anticipating the realization of Feyenoord City [the new stadium of the Rotterdam based soccer team – ed.], allowing spectators and visitors of events to travel from Rivium. The business park will be able to welcome many visitors who aren’t necessarily reliant on their car, which fits really well with our ambition to transform it to the Rivium Campus: a place where working, living and leisure go hand-in-hand.’

Performance Delivered

Although innovation is important, the city of Capelle aan den IJssel values availability and reliability first and foremost. This is the primary reason the cooperation with the current developer,  2getthere, is continued. ‘2getthere,  is the leading developer of driverless systems. We embarked on the first project 20 years ago! We know each other well, believe in the robust and sound technology and system of  2getthere,  and have built a considerable advantage in knowledge and experience. The investment of the ‘Vekeersonderneming Rotterdam’ is an important step to further increase our leading position’, according to Alderman Van Sluis.

Robbert Lohmann adds: ‘The transformation to operate autonomously on public roads aligns well with our technology roadmap and planned developments. We value the partnership with the city, which is clearly demonstrating it wants to lead by example as well. With the renewal the application at Rivium will remain host to the frequent reference visits for our technology.’

In the upcoming week Capelle aan den IJssel and  2getthere,  will conclude the provisional investment with ‘de Verkeersonderneming Rotterdam’. After this step the city and  2getthere,  will continue to work out the detailed agreement, with the first work commencing before the end of the year. In 2019 the new system will be operational and the transit node Rivium-Campus will be realized.

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2getthere establishes an office in Silicon Valley

office-2getthere-silicon-valleyCarel van Helsdingen, Chief Executive Officer, 2getthere

“We are hardly some inexperienced startup.”

Silicon Valley

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.’

Priority

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.’

Smart cities

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.’

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Autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicles Carel van Helsdingen, Chief Executive Officer, 2getthere
[quote]“Where a demonstration only provides an indication of the way passengers interface, a real-life application shows real-world behavior.”[/quote]

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99% efficiency

The driverless Masdar Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system at the carbon neutral Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, UAE, has functioned at over 99% efficiency since it began services 6 years ago! This remarkable achievement is indicative of the system’s quality technology, dynamic safety features and robustness resulting in almost no failures or delays, and zero collisions and accidents since its launch. 

2 Millionth Passenger 

The PRT opened to the public in 2010, operates on a 2km loop servicing students and visitors from the parking lot to the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST). The transport system hit 500,000 passengers and 1,000,000 million passengers in November 2012 and May 2014 at a daily average of 692 and 787 people respectively. Since May 2014, the system saw a tremendous increase of 175% in passenger traffic to reach 2,000,000 transported passengers in November 2016. Serendipitously, the Masdar PRT system transported its 2 millionth passenger one week before the commencement of the 7th year of operations.

Ms. Geethma Devangee, a student from Merryland School Abu Dhabi, who was visiting Masdar City on an educational field trip was the 2 millionth passenger. To celebrate the milestone, Ms. Devangee was presented with a dining voucher redeemable at any restaurant in Masdar City and a commemorative certificate.

Reliable and high service level

Speaking on the challenges of running an efficient system, Carel van Helsdingen, CEO of 2getthere said, “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.”

Significant Step

Speaking on the system reaching 2,000,000 million transported passengers, Yousef Baselaib, Executive Director of Sustainable Real Estate for Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s future energy company, said,
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“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.”

Data autonomous vehicles

Since 2010, the Masdar PRT system has also been collecting data which will be utilized for the further development of autonomous vehicles, in relation to the technology, its interactive capabilities with users, and social implications. For example, data collected so far displays an average occupancy of 60% overall with peaks of nearly 90% on weekends. Having this information on hand has undoubtedly assisted in the success rates of 99.6% and 99.9% for system availability and vehicle reliability respectively.

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.”

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).” The success of the PRT system at Masdar City has shown sustainable transport is a viable option even in the harsh conditions of the Middle East.

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Amsterdam Driverless Vehicles

driverless-vehicles-amsterdam-lelylaanRobbert Lohmann, Chief Operations Officer, 2getthere

[quote]“Sharing of transit is crucial to improve the sustainability and liveability of a city.”[/quote]
 

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The Team

Commissioned by The Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA), a multidisciplinary team consisting of UNStudio (architects/urban designers), Goudappel Coffeng (mobility consultants), Geophy (data specialists) and 2getthere (innovative mobility systems developers) has collaborated on a study that examines the future potential of the integration of infrastructure and city development around the area of Amsterdam’s A10 ring road and the Lelylaan area. Part of this are the Amsterdam Driverless Vehicles.

The Study

Currently the A10 ring road in Amsterdam forms a barrier that inhibits the connection between the inner and outer parts of the city and renders its immediate surroundings both uninhabitable and unused. As population growth has propelled development further outward from the city center and along the ring road, an opportunity was identified to integrate the highway and the city in a way that generates new forms of living and improves mobility for future inhabitants.

The result of the study formulates solutions that reconcile the disparate nature of the highway and the city through the injection of new programs and amenities, alongside improved accessibility, to make the A10 and its surrounding neighborhoods a desirable destination with a positive presence in the city.

Envisioning how future mobility and urban development can be successfully integrated requires a new toolbox with which the building blocks of the city of tomorrow can be built. The goal of the proposal is twofold: a proposition for a new multimodal transport hub located on the intersection between Cornelis Lelyaan and the A10, and new urban developments on both sides of the A10 that link the adjacent neighborhoods and create a unique new address in Amsterdam.
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Amsterdam Driverless Vehicles

The Hub, a new mixed-use destination, offers a smooth mobility connection that will allow users to transition between private cars and public transport; from cars which run on petrol to electric mobility; from driving to walking and cycling. Offering parking, restaurants and retail, the Hub also includes a stop for the CityPods, a new alternative to mass-public transport. 2getthere’s Amsterdam Driverless Vehicles provide mobility to the city center of Amsterdam in approximately 10 minutes. Through a redesign of the spatial planning, the system can operate using the current roads. The Hub also features a charging station for electric mobility and, through the use of locally stored car batteries, will function as an energy supply center in peak hours for the surrounding neighborhoods.

‘Sharing of transit is crucial to improve the sustainability and liveability of a city. Shared use, electrification and autonomous operation are converging trends, with the benefits of one becoming synonymous with the others. Shared transit, or public transit if you will, is a requirement to reduce the number of vehicles in an area.’, states Robbert Lohmann, COO 2getthere. In the case of the Amsterdam Lelylaan, the system can transport 1000 persons per hour per direction, with one vehicle departing approximately every 75 seconds.

Conclusions

In addition to the development of the Hub and the connecting transit systems, the study has also considered the main highway A10, introducing flexibility in the flexibility in the direction of travel of the lanes. This also allows to use the existing space smarter depending on the time of day. By introducing housing and offices close to the ring, the A10 will no longer be a barrier between the city center and its suburbs. The Hub is in the middle of all this, with all modalities converging and allowing for easy transfers, amongst other to the Amsterdam driverless vehicles of 2getthere.

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VIP transit: Prince Charles enjoys a driverless vehicle at Masdar City

prince-charles-in-masdar-PRTCharles, Prince of Wales, United Kingdom

[quote]”The main challenge facing us all now is how we can de-carbonise our economy, radically.”[/quote]
 

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Prince Charles

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!
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Dinner Cheque

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.

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Operations contract of Driverless Parkshuttle extended with 2 years

ParkShuttleDick van Sluis, Alderman Roads and Transit, City of Capelle aan den IJssel

[quote]”We are realizing more-and-more that the we have been ahead of our time with the ParkShuttle.”[/quote]
 

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Extension ParkShuttle

The world’s first driverless vehicle, the ParkShuttle at business park Rivium in the city of Capelle aan den IJssel (the Netherlands) will continue operations for at least 2 more years. The Metropolitan region Rotterdam The Hague (MRDH) confirmed the extension until late 2018 of the concession of operator Connexxion last week. The city of Capelle aan den IJssel has voiced the intent to renew the system and expand it once the concession runs out.

The ParkShuttle is operational since 1999, making it the first driverless vehicle system in the world. In the 17 years that have passed, it has grown into a big success with the system carrying over 2,000 passengers per day. Although not showing their age, the currently operational vehicles are over 13 years old and have each driven over 200,000 kilometers. As part of the extension of the concession remedial works will be conducted to correct the rutting of the road and restore the driving comfort. 

Extension ParkShuttle

The high appreciation scores of the passengers in combination with the positive influence of the system on business park Rivium as a location for companies, are the basis of the decision to extend the concession. A recent survey of passengers shows the ParkShuttle scores favorably in comparison to a bus service on reliability, operational hours, waiting times and passenger information.

The city of Capelle aan den IJssel has the intent to renew and extend the system by late 2018. The initial extension will be towards a stop at the ‘Van Brienenoord’ bridge where a station for the Waterbus will be created. In addition the location will house a rental facility for electric bikes. The route to this location runs over public roads, amongst manually driven traffic. As such the ParkShuttle is likely to be the first autonomous system operating in mixed traffic without actually featuring a safety driver or steward on-board.

   

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Ahead of Time

‘We are realizing more-and-more that the we have been ahead of our time with the ParkShuttle’, comments Alderman Dick van Sluis, responsible for Roads and Transport. ‘Where autonomous transit has only become a hot item in the last 2 years, we have experience dating back to 1999. That gives us a great advantage and ensures we are in the spotlight both within the Netherlands and internationally.’

Within the region administered by MRDH there are several other locations where autonomous transit is being considered. Alderman Van Sluis: ‘Now that the concession has been extended, it allows looking at other systems and extending the ParkShuttle. The latter is our challenge for the upcoming period: how can the ParkShuttle contribute to the development of Rivium to an attractive and innovative location for companies.’

Focus on Innovation

Naturally Eric Bavelaar, managing director Connexxion for the West Region, is very appreciative of the extension: ‘It is vital that in a time where we foresee mobility significantly changing in the coming 15 years, we expand on the basis that was founded with the city of Capelle aan den IJssel and MRDH.’ As an important stakeholder in public transit, Connexxion focuses on innovation with the ParkShuttle being a primary example. As such Connexxion will also deploy additional service employees to stimulate the use of the ParkShuttle system.

2getthere is currently developing its 3rd generation automated vehicle, incorporating the sensory systems to be able to drive in mixed traffic. The new vehicles are lighter, completely bidirectional and feature air-conditioning. The first prototype will be available end of January 2017. 2getthere is in contact with the city, MRDH and Connexxion about using these vehicles for the extension and renewal of the application.

2getthere’s CEO Carel van Helsdingen: “We are pleased with the 2 years’ extension and the ambition of the government to renew and extend the system. However, what pleases us even more is the positive ratings by the passengers of the system. Over the years the vehicles have proven their reliability and service level during all weather circumstances.”

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Enthusiastic Visit to Rivium for Insights in driverless transit

Dennis Mica, Business Development Manager, 2getthere

[quote]”This is 10 years ago and we more-or-less still see the same demonstrations.”[/quote]

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Insights in Driverless Transit

Earlier today 2getthere hosted ‘insights in driverless transit’ at business park Rivium in the City of Capelle aan den IJssel, providing information about the key aspects related to the realization of automated vehicle systems. The ParkShuttle system at Rivium remains the only automated vehicle system operational at grade, featuring at grade intersections with other traffic, which doesn’t require a safety driver or steward on each vehicle to warrant the safety.

The program ‘insight in driverless transit’ was hosted for consultants specifically, drawing visitors from Italy, South-Africa, Sweden, Norway, Singapore, USA and the Netherlands. Presentations during the morning program were made by the Metropolitan Region Rotterdam The Hague, Ricardo Rail, SMRT and 2getthere.

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Podcar Conference

In the afternoon the ParkShuttle served as the reference visit preceding the Podcar Conference. Following earlier conferences in amongst others Silicon Vally, the conference is organized on 20 and 21 September in Antwerp, Belgium. In addition to 2getthere, the city of Capelle aan den IJssel and Connexxion shared their experiences with the operations of the ParkShuttle system over the last 10 years with the visitors.

Subject of presentations and discussion during the conference will be Mobility as a Service, experiences with operational systems, policy making, sustainability, safety, multimodility and ‘City of Things’. Speakers represent local authorities, real estate and system developers, public transit operators, consulants and universities.

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2getthere hosts Insights in driverless transit ahead of Podcar conference

Carel van Helsdingen, Chief Executive Officer, 2getthere

[quote]“The lessons learned from the application at business park Rivium are the basis for the Masdar application and the 3rd generation GRT vehicle.”[/quote]

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Morning Program

The development of self driving vehicles is growing tremendously. What is the impact of automated vehicles in public transport? How can we prepare the city for these self driving vehicles and specifically for public transport? What do you need to know to properly advice your customers which laws, standards and regulations to apply?

Preceeding InnoTrans in Berlin and PodcarCity in Antwerp, we would like to invite you to ‘Insights in driverless transit’ on the 19th of September in Capelle aan den IJssel in the Netherlands. The program consists of speakers from MRDH, SMRT, Ricardo Rail and 2getthere.

09:30              Welcome
09:45              Introduction by Dennis Mica, 2getthere

10:00              Presentation by Gert de Visser, MRDH
                         ‘Insights in process of selection and introduction’

10:30              Presentation by Jan Scheepers, Ricardo Rail
                        ‘Insights in safety certification’

11:00              Presentation by Mark Ng, SMRT
                        ‘Insights in operations of last mile solutions’ 

11:30              Presentation by Jean-Luc Valk, 2getthere
                        ‘Insights in the 3rd generation GRT system’                   

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Afternoon Program

In the afternoon a reference visit to the ParkShuttle is organized as part of the Podcar Conference, hosted in the city of Antwerp on September 20 and 21. As an introduction the parties involved in the realization will talk about the experiences from their perspective.

13:00              Presentation by Dick van Sluis, Capelle a/d IJssel
                        ‘Lessons learned by the city’

13:20              Presentation by Peter Krumm, Connexxion
                        ‘Lessons learned by the operator’

13:40              Presentation by Carel van Helsdingen, 2getthere
                        ‘Lessons learned by the supplier’

After conclusion of the last presentation we will spilt up into groups of 20 people for an on-site visit to the Rivium application. It is still the only automated system in the world that operates at grade, without stewards and has crossings with other traffic.

Please feel free to share this invitation with your colleagues or other consultants in your network that like to learn more about automated vehicle systems. The conference on the 19th of September is free of charge.

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UTS and 2getthere celebrate 15 years co-operation

[one_half] On May 20th United Technical Services (UTS) and 2getthere celebrated 15 years of co-operation. In May 1999 the first joint efforts between United Technical Services and 2getthere were made, marketing the innovative transit systems within the United Arab Emirates. With the UAE undergoing rapid development, the driverless systems appeared to be a good fit with the urban environment rapidly changing.

15 years later the companies are able to celebrate the co-operation on the eve of the first system realized and operated in close cooperation establishing a landmark passenger number. The cooperation has been so good that the cooperation by now services the Gulf Coast Countries and has led to a Joint Venture being established.

Ziad Al Askari, COO United Technical Services, states: ‘Over the years the companies have created a very strong relationship. The transit systems require intensive contact between the companies and with the potential customers, to ensure the application meets their requirements and is fit for purpose. UTS, as an engineering pioneer in the Middle East, contributes the local knowledge, expertise and understanding, ensuring a sound basis for the systems realized.’[/one_half]

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Over the years the cooperation has evolved, with the partners pursuing projects in Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in addition to the United Arab Emirates. ‘Through our network in the region other opportunities are presented to us. We are currently following up on multiple opportunities. The realization of the system at Masdar has really increased the interest in these type of systems’ adds Al Askari.

2getthere CEO, Carel van Helsdingen, believe the cooperation will only become stronger over the next years due to the increased interest. ‘There are so many developments ongoing, that we currently have the work cut out for the Joint Venture. We do expect that all the hard work put forward is going to result in at least one other project in the near term.’

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2getthere participating in the iMobility Challenge

[one_half]On September 11th 2getthere participated in the iMobility Challenge at the Valkenburg airstrip in the Netherlands. With the motto “intelligent mobility for Smart Cities” and the vision to demonstrate how European cities can be provided with smart, energy-efficient, low-pollution and safe transport systems, this event was a high-level technology demonstration day.

2getthere CEO Carel van Helsdingen showed FIA President Jean Todt the future of mobility: Personal Rapid Transit. The mock-up model of the Masdar Podcar was on display to visitors, allowing them to experience how spacious the vehicle is. [/one_half]

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Organised with the assistance of the Royal Dutch Touring Club (ANWB), attendees included the world’s leading motoring organisations, leading mobility experts, universities, industry CEOs and international and national policy makers as well as other dignitaries, and the Media. Formula one star Nico Rosberg with Dutch racing drivers Giedo van der Garde, Robin Frijns and Kevin Abbring were also present to endorse intelligent mobility and demonstrate the high performance capabilities of electric vehicles.

Participants had a chance to take the driver’s seat and experience a diverse variety of technologies, systems, services & actual deployment examples in the field of intelligent mobility.

In particular the event was divived into four areas: efficient, cooperative, smart and safe mobility.

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