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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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SMRT (Singapore) and UTS (United Arab Emirates) take a stake in 2getthere

Asian-and-Middle-East-Joint-VenturesCarel van Helsdingen, Chief Executive Officer, 2getthere

[quote]“These investments support the realization of projects under contract and development and integration of new technologies.”[/quote]

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Investment

SMRT International Pte Ltd (SMRT International) and United Technical Services (UTS) today announced their investments in 2 Getthere Holding B.V. (2getthere), a Netherlands-based company that designs and makes a family of Automated Vehicles (AV). SMRT International is acquiring a 20% stake worth €4 million (SGD 6 million) in 2getthere, while UTS is increasing its holding in 2getthere to 11% against the same valuation.

These investments are a strategic step that will deepen 2getthere’s technological capabilities as a leading market provider of AV systems. It will also enhance the delivery of current and new projects in the Middle East and Asia Pacific. Mr Carel van Helsdingen, CEO of 2getthere, said, “We are very proud to reach an agreement with two of our longstanding overseas partners. Investments by these industry leaders will support the realization of the projects currently under contract and our continuous development and integration of new technologies into our solutions.”

Fit with Vision

Mr Goh Eng Kiat, Managing Director for SMRT International said: “We have been working with 2getthere since 2010. We have made this investment as we are confident in 2getthere’s technology and see growing demand for AVs in Asia. We look forward to working together to further expand operations into international markets through the provision of consultancy services and operational expertise with transportation networks.”

2getthere Middle East and UTS Chief Operating Officer, Mr Ziad Al Askari said, “2getthere’s solution is aligned with the push for greater autonomous transport within the Middle East in general, and specifically in the United Arab Emirates. With this investment we can accelerate our contribution to Dubai’s 2030 goal to make 25% of all trips within the city driverless, as recently announced by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.”

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Roadmap

Mr Carel van Helsdingen concluded: “The investment and involvement of SMRT and UTS in 2getthere further strengthens the ability to deliver complete, and completely automated, systems to our customers today. Our systems and applications will grow into scenarios of increased complexity, incrementally shifting into higher degrees of mixed operations, from applications in controlled environments towards semi controlled environments. In pursuit of this roadmap, we will work within 2getthere and with our partners to enhance the technology so as to ensure the safety and capacity under mixed operations.”

New Projects

2getthere Middle East, a joint venture between UTS and 2getthere, signed a contract to supply a system based on the 3rd generation Group Rapid Transit (GRT) vehicle for an undisclosed project earlier this year. This is 2getthere’s second AV system in the Middle East after its Personal Rapid Transit system in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.

Established in Singapore since April this year, 2getthere Asia Pte. Ltd (2getthere Asia), a joint venture between SMRT Services Pte Ltd and 2getthere, has been awarded its first consultancy project for a major Singapore client to assess the feasibility of implementing the GRT system within the client’s premises. In addition, 2getthere Asia remains on schedule to trial the first 3rd Generation GRT vehicle in Singapore by the end of this year.

“2getthere’s unique technology sets it apart as a proven solution for commuters and cities today.” said Mr Colin Lim, director of 2getthere Asia and Managing Director of SMRT Services. “The award of these projects confirms the significant potential of deploying AV systems in Singapore and beyond in the near future.”

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