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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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Design of 3rd generation Group Rapid Transit system revealed

Carel van Helsdingen, Chief Executive Officer 2getthere
[quote]”When starting out the design process we set out to create an iconic look for the GRT vehicle.”[/quote]
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Sneak peek automotive

As a preview to 2getthere’s 3rd generation Group Rapid Transit vehicle, the updated design for the vehicle is released today. The design of the 3rd generation is realized in close cooperation with Zagato Milano, the renowned Italian automotive design company. This is a logical extension to the cooperation for the design of the Personal Rapid Transit vehicle operational at Masdar City (Abu Dhabi).

2getthere CEO Carel van Helsdingen: ‘When starting out the design process we set out to create an iconic look for the GRT vehicle – much like we did when designing the PRT vehicle. We wanted to break away from the appearance of a mini-bus and at the same time create that ‘family-sense’ with the PRT design.’ The latter is also considered important for those applications where both vehicle types would operate alongside each other.

public transportation

The new design satisfies the design requirements for public transportation and the request for the design to be appreciated by the public without being anonymous. It should not only look modern but also be lasting without requiring a face lift to remain contemporary. The design statement should transmit a positive and futuristic vision.

Based on this Zagato, the Italian Automotive and Design company, opted for a minimalistic design approach with simple but distinctive DLO (day light opening) for both interior and exterior.
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It provides a feeling of lower center of gravity to the vehicle and creates a dynamic balance in the proportion between cabin area and bumper/fender area. All the glass (polycarbonate), with exception of the doors, has three-dimensional curvature giving it an unique elegance and extremely modern image. Interior is very luminous and airy thanks for this big DLO.

The height of the vehicle allows for the air-conditioning to be integrated into the roof, while leaving ample room to accommodate standing passengers comfortably. The interior configuration is flexible, featuring either 8 or 12 seats while allowing up to 8 to 12 standees. As such the capacity per vehicle is increased to 24 passengers, a number achieved regularly during peak hours at the Rivium application. Automated doors featuring a wide opening to accommodate wheelchairs can be integrated at both sides of the vehicle.

The GRT will be fully electrical, typically equipped with a LiFePO4 battery. The vehicles are completely driverless and automatically guided by 2getthere’s proven magnet based navigation system. The vehicles are capable of achieving 40 km/hr. Key safety feature is the obstacle detection system, which uses the latest technologies to ensure the safety of the passengers, vehicle and its surroundings.

Zagato

Zagato COO Ing. Giorgio Gamberini commented: ‘Zagato brings a long tradition of innovative design not only for top range sports cars but also for urban mobility. In 2008 we successfully worked on automated public transportation with 2getthere for the design of the iconic PRT vehicle for Masdar City. This collaboration has now evolved to a bigger size vehicle: the GRT. At the same we believe that the Zagato attitude towards innovations that dates 95 years (1919 – 2015) will surely continue its association with 2getthere in the future with new urban mobility solutions.’

The new GRT vehicle has been offered for applications in the Far East, Middle East and Europe, drawing excellent reviews from potential customers.

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