Angelos Amditis, Research Director at ICCS and European Programme Commitee Member on one of the most gripping topics awaiting participants in Glasgow: Connectivity and Automation.
Automation is regarded as one of the most promising enabling technologies in road transport to prevent accidents, minimise environmental impacts and increase efficiency and comfort. Automation is the hottest research topic in the field of ITS, together with C-ITS, all around the globe.
Automation embraces a variety of different research areas that need to be tackled by the ITS community in the coming years. It includes not only technological challenges, such as reliable and accurate perception at low cost, real-time and accurate localisation and navigation, but also operational and legal barriers. It is well known that in several cases the technology is already available (though expensive) but the application of automation is hindered due to currently unsolved legal and liability issues.
The road infrastructure the automated vehicle is required to circulate should be updated and highly digitalised to enable the transition to full automation and especially to support the transition period where both automated and legacy vehicles will co-exist. There is huge discussion around this topic of the “Digital Infrastructure”. Moreover, the way the automated vehicle will interact with the driver and other road users should be studied further and formulated.
Another significant challenge that automation poses is how to ensure that automated vehicles won’t be hacked and used for harmful acts. This overall area of cybersecurity has received significant attention recently.
In addition ethical issues and moral challenges must be studied further since they will have a significant impact on the way automated vehicles will be accepted in society (How should the car be programmed to act in the event of an unavoidable accident? Should it minimize the loss of life, even if it means sacrificing the occupants, or should it protect the occupants at all costs?).
The fact that automation is a major enabler towards safer, more efficient and sustainable transport is well known by the ITS community and in turn by the Programme Committee of the ITS European Congress. This is reflected in the number of papers and special sessions within the Congress Programme which deal with automation and are continuously increasing during the last years.
What can attendees expect from this topic?
Automation addresses a number of topics which span in various thematic areas of interest for the majority of the attendees of the Congress. All these topics are in the heart of the ITS related research and are expected to receive significant attention during the Congress. Automation is expected to be a key development for transport in the next years and transport stakeholders need to stay inform about all developments in the sector. The specific group of sessions will be a very good source of information in this respect while will provide the framework for discussion and exchange of opinions in all areas of automation. More specifically the following thematic areas will be covered:
- Vehicle based technologies (evolution of ADAS)
- Connectivity and automation (integration of communication technologies)
- Environment perception and all around coverage
- Distributed and centralised control strategies
- Digital infrastructure
- Human interaction
- Standardisation and certification
Current automation solutions have evolved independently for vehicle and infrastructure, thus not fully exploiting the potential benefits for the mobility of people and goods. In this context our vision should be to propose a novel Automated Transport System which introduces harmonised and orchestrated collaboration between all types of automated and connected vehicles, the infrastructure, the mobility users, freight, road and fleet operators, and public transport in a holistic, integrated and seamless way (System of Systems). This ambitious vision will lead to a paradigm shift in the way future transport systems are envisaged and implemented and it is intended to take place in incremental steps to gradually transform existing transport systems.
In addition to this we should work towards the convergence and integration of different concepts and trends including C-ITS, automation, electromobility/green technologies, mobility as a service, IoT and other key trends. None of h above will not continue isolated and the effects and synergies of their convergence have not yet been exploited.
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