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Autonomous Shuttles on the airside apron at Sendai Airport


Cooperating to introduce autonomous shuttles

As part of an initiative by MLIT (the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transit), 2getthere Asia as subcontractor to Toyota Tsusho Corporation provided two demonstrations at Sendai Airport (Japan). In October and December 2018 our 3rd generation GRT vehicle was featured on the airside apron in mixed traffic, interacting with a variety of other vehicles featured on the airside. The tests were carefully designed to show mixed operations capabilities, with objects placed on the path, along the route and intersecting with manually driven vehicles.

Autonomous on the airport apron

The demonstrations were organized as a step towards integrating autonomous shuttles on the airport apron, delivering passengers to planes not connected to an airbridge. The key requirement for the application is the route is not dedicated to the automated system, sharing the road with manually driven traffic on the airside. As the vehicles shuttle between the stairs and the terminal building, there are intersections with other vehicles entering the route from any of the adjacent airplane positions. The automated system needed to take into account cross traffic of both motorized traffic and pedestrians.

Airside environment

The airside resembles a city center in the diversity of traffic and traffic movements, although in an environment where access is controlled and behavior can influenced through training. For any application where automated/autonomous vehicles are expected to operate amongst manually driven vehicles, the challenge is to ensure safety (of both passengers and the surroundings) and maintain throughput (of both the automatically and manually driven systems) – all while taking into account any applicable constraints. In specific for Sendai Airport these constraints concern operating on an airport and in Japan.

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Speaking on mixed traffic at Move 2019

Move2019

Our vision is to create the world’s most important mobility event, where disruptive technology and innovation drive much needed change.

Mixed traffic applications in the Netherlands

On the 13th of February 2getthere is speaking on automated transit systems: mixed traffic applications in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has a rich history with the very first autonomous vehicle being introduced at Schiphol Airport in 1997 and the first urban application at Rivium business park in the city of Capelle aan den IJssel. From the first generation in 1999, to the 2nd generation in 2006 and the new 3rd generation to be introduced in 2019 with mixed traffic commencing in 2020. Robbert Lohmann will outline the various phases and considerations that were made in moving from one generation to the next and the experiences gathered along the way.

The story of MOVE

MOVE will bring together disruptors, their technology and their attitude with stakeholders across all modes and disciplines: to dialogue, to create insight and to promote collaboration. We guarantee to be more expansive and multi-disciplined than any other event on the planet.

New thinking and new action is required now because existing transportation paradigms are broken beyond repair and are often the cause of the problem, not the solution.

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REVO-GT

Revo-GTOceaneering Entertainment Systems

Witness the next REVOLUTION in group transit at the IAAPA Expo (booth 1982): REVO-GT.

Introducing Revo-GT

During the IAAPA Attractions Expo, Oceaneering and 2getthere introduce REVO-GT: an out of park experience. REVO-GT is 2getthere’s GRT vehicle, a self-guided, driverless group transit vehicle, tailored to the requirements of theme parks and attractions.

The system provides a safe, flexible, low-cost, comfortable, and environmentally friendly means of transportation on a 24/7 basis – in virtually any weather conditions – with zero emissions. Its interior is climate controlled, and can maintain a comfortable environment for its passengers, even in extreme ambient conditions. Routes and destinations can be pre-programmed or passenger-selected. Bill Bunting, Director, Business Development, Entertainment Systems, Oceaneering, said: “The move into transportation for theme parks, campuses and business parks, even urban zones is a natural fit, and opens up so much opportunity to serve a broader market hungry for transportation solutions that are clean, efficient, cost-effective and, most importantly, safe and reliable. Oceaneering has been delivering those hallmarks for more than 50 years, and this is simply the next step in expanding our worldwide presence in the fields of technology adapted to solving what’s needed with what’s next.”

The REVO-GT was developed in partnership with Netherlands-based 2getthere, based on the 3rd generation GRT vehicle being introduced at Rivium (the Netherlands), Brussels Airport (Belgium) and Bluewaters Island (Dubai). “Oceaneering is very excited to be teamed with 2getthere to bring the REVO-GT group transit vehicle technology to the marketplace. We have had a long and successful relationship with 2getthere over the years, working on high-profile vehicles and systems for the themed entertainment market,” Bunting said.

IAAPA

The IAAPA Attractions Expo is the largest international trade show for the amusements and attractions industry, featuring 1,000 exhibitors, over 570,000 net square feet of exhibit space, and more than 35,000 participants. 2getthere’s partner Oceaneering Entertainment Systems is exhibiting at booth 1982, joining the more than 25,000 qualified amusement park and attractions buyers representing more than 100 countries who meet at IAAPA Attractions Expo.

IAAPA Attractions Expo was ranked the 22nd largest trade show in the United States by Trade Show Executive for 2016, with 2018 promising to be another interesting edition. For more information and the possibility to experience 2getthere’s autonomous vehicle, contact us or register via http://www.iaapa.org/expos/iaapa-attractions-expo/registration-hotel-travel

Oceaneering

Oceaneering is a global provider of engineered services and products, primarily to the offshore energy industry. Through the use of its applied technology expertise, Oceaneering also serves the defense, entertainment, and aerospace industries. 2getthere has been working together closely with Oceaneering Entertainment Systems for over 10 years, entering into a teaming agreement last year.

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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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Mondial Tech 2018

Mondial Tech 2018Robbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer

2getthere’s 3rd generation GRT vehicle is in a class by itself, also in engineering and build-quality with partner Altran.

Mondial Tech 2018

At Mondial Tech 2018, 2getthere’s 3rd generation GRT autonomous shuttle will be on full display at the booth of its partner Altran. Altran developed the vehicle chassis for 2getthere and responsible for the vehicle engineering as well as the assembly of the first series. With the work for 2getthere, this automatically makes Altran the largest French supplier of autonomous shuttles.

MONDIAL.TECH is a new international BtoB experience for mobility innovators to meet and make business. Showcasing pioneering technologies applied to the automotive industry and its whole ecosystem; it will develop the link between the automotive industry’s value chain and their current and future technologies suppliers, from around the world.

Class by itself

2getthere’s 3rd generation GRT vehicle is in a class by itself. In terms of looks, features, safety, engineering, build-quality and as a result, total costs of operations. Altran’s contribution lies in the development of the chassis, engineering and assembly. Having worked together for the PRT vehicles operational at Masdar City (since November 2010), it was only logical for the companies to continue the cooperation.

Come and experience how the partnership between Altran and 2getthere sets the GRT autonomous shuttle apart – ensuring that it is not ‘slow’ and ‘weird’ looking like The Verge recently stated in this article: https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/17/17859112/self-driving-cars-shuttle-pods-delivery-services!

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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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ITS-Copenhagen-2018

ITS Copenhagen 2018Dennis Mica, Business Development Manager

We will be at ITS Copenhagen and are always available for a good exchange: whether on technology, lessons learned or your plans!

ITS Copenhagen 2018

The ITS World congress is hosted by Copenhagen in 2018, before coming to Helmond in the Netherlands next year. With 2getthere’s vehicle production and testing in Helmond, and the Rivium project in testing and commissioning by that stage, we are certainly looking forward to displaying our vehicles to visitors.

Obviously, we’ll also present at ITS Copenhagen 2018. 2getthere’s Dennis Mica and Rien van der Knaap (OC Mobility), project manager on behalf of the City of Capelle aan den IJssel, are presenting ‘The autonomous Rivium ParkShuttle, from dedicated lane to mixed traffic (SAE level 4)’ as part of the Connected, Cooperative and Automated Transport topic. The session starts at 11.00hr on September 20th (Room Montreal, B5 M1).

Please join us to learn more about the first autonomous vehicle project (1999), the extension and operations of the 2nd generation to date and the planned extension now in progress. In mixed traffic, without safety steward and at speeds in excess of 25kph.

For more information on the conference program, please visit the conference website.

About the ITS World Congress

ERTICO ITS Europe organises either an ITS World Congress or an ITS European Congress every year. The Congresses provides the ideal opportunity for all stakeholders to come together, discuss and make the necessary contacts to move initiatives forward and to develop their business by exhibiting and demonstrating state of the art ITS solutions.

During the Congress, ERTICO Partners also have the opportunity to arrange more focused ancillary events before, during and after the Congress, as well as having access to meeting rooms, lounge areas and hospitality rooms. ERTICO develops specific mobile applications, networking facilities, webinars, videos, interviews and articles on both topics in focus at the Congress but also on the different companies participating. This provides the ERTICO Partners with yet another means to promote their technologies and services.

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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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Contributing to the Airport Access Ideas Forum

Airport Access Ideas ForumMilda Manomaityte, Director of the Global AirRail Alliance

The Forum gives the opportunity for transport professionals to challenge themselves and each other with forward thinking discussions.

Airport Access Ideas Forum

2getthere’s Dennis Mica will be contributing to the second Airport Access Ideas Forum on Wednesday 27th of June in London. The Forum is an event designed to highlight the key challenges airports, city planners and ground transport operators need to prepare for when planning airport access for future users.

The Forum will focus on Autonomous Vehicles Technologies and Mobility as a Service, looking into how it will impact the future of airport infrastructure design, non-aeronautical revenues, public transport access mode share and urban development. Attendees discuss the latest innovations in passenger mobility and their effect on airport access, including infrastructure planning, revenue and passenger experience. Through interactive discussions the Forum participants look at how new technologies and the sharing economy is changing road access and car parking businesses at airports, as well as the opportunities public transport can deliver for airport operators in terms of non-aeronautical revenue, improved customer experience and business development.

For more information on the agenda, please visit the event page.

About GARA

The Global AirRail Alliance focuses on connecting air with rail. Why? Because, together, air and rail can transform our travel experience. When integrated seamlessly, both in the cloud and on the ground, it forms a major chunk of our travels and can significantly improve our experience. By connecting people who work in these two big industries, by learning and comparing information about it, GARA creates a platform where business from around the world can improve their own operations, better connect with their customers and optimise their procedures.

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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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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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Regulations Required: safety drives autonomous vehicles market (whitepaper)

Regulation-Required-Safety-Drives-Autonomous-Vehicles-MarketSjoerd van der Zwaan, Chief Technology Officer

Governments must demand from manufacturers that they are able to prove their products are safe

Regulations required

Authorities will have to introduce strict regulations to ensure the safe introduction of autonomous vehicles on public roads. By doing so, they can also speed up the adoption, says 2getthere, the Utrecht-based company specializing in autonomous transit systems, in a whitepaper published today, named Safety in Autonomous Transit. The whitepaper says authorities should set stricter conditions regarding road safety, reliability and availability of vehicles and also for the spatial planning of public areas where autonomous vehicles operate. Stricter regulations will most likely result in a shakeout in the supply side of the autonomous transit market.

It is becoming common for autonomous vehicles to leave their testing facilities behind in favour of public roads. Unfortunately this also leads to an increase in the number of accidents. In order to guarantee passenger safety, 2getthere says governments will have to set stricter requirements for manufacturers of autonomous vehicles. More concretely, this means that a level of safety will have to be defined which manufacturers must be able to guarantee – both on paper and in practical tests in a controlled environment. Designs should be tested for road safety by independent assessors, who should also be tasked with the assessment of public areas and traffic situations in which autonomous vehicles will be operated.

The whitepaper claims that a step-by-step approach is the most logical choice to ensure the introduction of autonomous vehicles on public roads in a manner that guarantees the safety of passengers as well as the environment. 2getthere’s experts refer to examples where autonomous vehicles are already being deployed successfully in more or less controlled environments such as airports, campuses and amusement parks. The company says the first step is to introduce autonomous vehicles in relatively controlled environments, where the number and complexity of possible interactions with other traffic can be limited.

Read and download the white paper: 2getthere whitepaper Regulations Required – Safety drives autonomous vehicles market

A shakeout is imminent

2getthere estimates that it will take ten years or more before autonomous vehicles will dominate the public road. There is a lot of distance to cover from ‘successful demonstration’ to ‘large-scale everyday mobility solution’, says Sjoerd van der Zwaan, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of 2getthere. ‘Governments must demand from manufacturers that they are able to prove their products are safe – and they must set concrete requirements regarding reliability, availability and safety. This includes tasking the assessment of products and their application to independent bodies, such as the RDW (Netherlands Vehicle Authority) in the Netherlands. Manufacturers may see this as a challenge, but it’s a necessary step, considering the responsibility they carry in the transportation of people and the introduction of autonomous vehicles in the public area. It’s the only way to prevent unnecessary incidents.’

A call for stricter regulations will most likely result in a shakeout in the supply side of the market, says 2getthere’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Robbert Lohmann: ‘In this whitepaper we conclude that the industry is a long way away from making autonomous vehicles that are as safe in mixed traffic as, for instance, city buses with professional drivers. We believe it remains to be seen if all manufacturers currently in the market have the commitment for the long haul, or the knowledge and expertise to take the necessary steps.’

Pragmatic approach

Lohmann believes the same applies to the demand side. He says: ‘Stricter requirements will increase the cost of the introduction of autonomous vehicles. Higher cost levels will cause municipal governments to shift their focus from yet more demonstrations to permanent and commercially viable solutions. In the short term, this may seem to slow down the market introduction, but in fact it will speed up the actual utilization of autonomous vehicles. For this reason, we suggest taking a pragmatic approach, in which autonomous vehicles are first introduced in semi-controlled environments before we take the step of deploying them in fully uncontrolled environments.’

He continues: ‘We will have to build up practical experience with operational systems that carry large numbers of passengers, such as those recently made possible in the Netherlands by the introduction of new legislation (the ‘Experimenteerwet’) that regulates fully autonomous vehicles operating in mixed traffic . If at this moment we are able to introduce autonomous vehicles in a controlled manner, this will contribute to road safety in cities.’

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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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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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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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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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Connecting Bluewaters Island to the Dubai transit network

Bluewaters Island APM

Home to Ain Dubai, the world’s tallest and largest observation wheel in the world, Bluewaters is a destination under construction 500 metres (1,600 ft) off the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) coastline, opposite The Beach and near Dubai Marina. Public transit to the reclaimed island is realized by an Automated People Mover System connecting to the Nakheel Harbour station of the Dubai Metro. The Bluewaters Island APM will feature 25 automated GRT vehicles capable of carrying 24 passengers each.

System Description

The APM system will connect two stations approximately 2.6 kilometers apart. The capacity will initially be 3,750 people per hour per direction, with the possibility to increase the capacity to 5,000 pphpd. The trip time will be approximately 4.5 minutes. The energy of the battery operated vehicles will be topped-off during the stops at stations, with a 10 minute recharge being required every 1.5 hours. The application is the first to feature 2getthere’s 3rd generation Group Rapid Transit vehicle.

Vision 2030

The solution is a perfect fit with the Autonomous Transport Strategy as a pillar to achieve a sustainable economy for the UAE, as announced by Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The automated vehicles have a great appeal and will encourage more people to visit Bluewaters Island by public transit. As such it contributes to the goal of 25 percent of all trips to be done by driverless vehicles by 2030.

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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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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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Masdar PRT system eclipses 1 million passenger-mark

[quote]On May 22nd at 13.55 hours, the PRT system at Masdar welcomed its 1 millionth passenger.[/quote]

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‘This milestone demonstrates the popularity of the technology being showcased at Masdar City,’ said Anthony Mallows, Director of Masdar City. ‘The PRT system has made a significant contribution to the city’s development thus far, and will continue to feature as an important function of the city’s transportation system.’

The PRT system at Masdar City was the first PRT system to open to the general public on November 28, 2010. From the very first moment the system has been a success, attracting local visitors to the retail at Masdar and featuring prominently as part of the Abu Dhabi Big Bus tour. International dignitaries, ranging from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to secretary-general Ban Ki Moon and leaders of many nations around the globe, have also been introduced to 2getthere’s innovative transit system during their visit to Masdar.

The patronage of the system is actually four times higher than originally anticipated. The higher ridership is possible as the degree to which people share vehicles is also double what was expected. Where the average occupancy of a normal car ranges from 1.1 to 1.3 people, the average occupancy of the pods ranges between 2 and 2.4, with the higher values being achieved on the weekends.[/one_half]

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2getthere CEO Carel van Helsdingen comments: ‘We are very proud to have reached the 1 million passengers milestone. It confirms the success of the application and the attraction of Masdar to people. We are confident this will help convince other developers to consider these type of feeder systems to improve their accessibility as well.’

The PRT system has achieved a 99.4% system availability since the opening. ‘Establishing a mark like that in a difficult climate can be attributed to sound engineering. It is good to see we didn’t get it wrong. At the same time we are continuously taking in the learnings from the application to ensure that we can apply these for next systems’ adds Van Helsdingen.

The system at Masdar was realized in close cooperation with UAE based United Technical Services. UTS and 2getthere actually celebrated 15 years of cooperation for the Gulf Coast Countries just the night before. UTS COO Ziad al Askari: ‘The success of the cooperation didn’t come overnight. We have both invested significant time and effort in building the relationship and the business. Systems like these aren’t like toasters: there are so many variables that can be influenced to generate the right passenger experience that projects typically have a considerable lead time.’

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