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Towards cooperative vehicles and automation: The highlights of the 11th ITS European Congress, Glasgow

A sunny Glasgow hosted the 11th European ITS Congress in early June. The event, attended by over 2,500 people brought delegates from across the European community and the wider globe together to discuss new trends in ITS. Anna Bonne-IET, Martyn Minear-Arup and Darren Capes-City of York Council review the event in the article below.

The IET was busy filming at the ITS European Congress in Glasgow in order to bring you the latest Intelligent Transport solutions being trialled on our streets. Watch the demonstrations from the ITS European Congress.

Connected vehicles and the progression towards cooperative vehicles and automation was a key topic throughout the conference. The plenary session of the congress brought industry leaders within the road industry and a major European city mayor together to discuss the roadmap towards automation, and whether there was a demand from policy makers to deliver automation.

The Congress saw technical, commercial papers, special interest and project sessions being held as well as an exhibition hall containing exhibitors from across Europe showcasing innovative products and projects that they had been involved in. The event also included a Mayoral Summit, which saw mayors form across Europe gather to discuss issues faced and agree collaborative solutions.
image taken of the stand at the ITS conference  
The Congress covered five main themes:

  • From standalone to connected to automated
  • New transport services from satellite technologies
  • Sustainable transport for people and goods
  • ITS and climate change
  • Bringing new services to users

The Congress showed the possibilities that satellite technologies can have within the transport industry, with the capabilities extending beyond traditional positioning tasks. The potential is great, however the true value has not been realised yet. Topics around sustainable transport for people and goods talked of the sustainable options being brought in to remedy issues that are faced within the current transport climate, with the topic seeing many links to cooperative vehicles and bringing new services to users.

The prominent theme of the conference was Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS), which was first proposed as a concept at the 22nd ITS World Congress in Bordeaux last year. The concept of MaaS aims to shift users away from personally owned mobility to a shared experience, where mobility is treated more as a service. Last year in Bordeaux, ERTICO leaders stated they wanted to see the beginnings of MaaS implementation being demonstrated in Glasgow, however the uptake has been slower than first hoped. One country that is doing much development towards MaaS is Finland, whose transport services, governance, network coverage and smartphone penetration mean that it is ideal to implement MaaS as a concept. Whilst many delegates at the conference discussed the possibilities and future of MaaS, the reality was often forgotten that uptake of the MaaS faces many obstacles.

Image taken of the speaker and the crowd at the ITS confenrece Many city and regional authorities were present and offered great opportunities for experiencing the development of ITS across the world. The ITS community continues to be challenged by the concept of a truly 'smart city' and this played an important role in the Congress, with many hours of discussion around the technologies and policies that will be central to ITS playing its part in the development of future cities.

The IET’s joint session with ITS-UK bought together 60 cyber security and ITS experts in an open discussion on the cyber security challenges when connecting cars to infrastructure. The discussions were led by Dr Anna Bonne of the IET. The panellists were Peter Vermaat - TRL, United Kingdom, Frans op de Beek – Rijkswaaterstat, Gerhard MENZEL, European Commission -DG MOVE and Colonel Franck Marescal, Chef de l'Observatoire Central des Systèmes de Transport Intelligents. Each panellist was given just a few minutes to set the scene before opening up the conversation to the audience. Franck’s presentation included a live hack of a car in Spain! The discussions included how to go about recruiting an ethical hacker, sharing best practices used and what regulations might look like in the future.

The Congress also saw the launch of the IET/ITS-UK Local Authority Guide to Emerging Transport Technology which aims to share best practice and new ideas across local authority boundaries. The project was launched by the Department for Transport who also shared their work with Atkins on ITS use by local authorities.

The demonstrations at the 2016 ITS European Congress focused on the use of data from a variety of sources which when combined can provide a more informed and integrated choice to the travelling person. The IET was busy as the event capturing the technology demonstrations. The demonstrations included Green Light Optimal Speed Advice (GLOSA) by Dynniq which used a connected vehicle service delivered via 4G communications to an on-board unit to provide the GLOSA service to driver, an innovative Maintenance Assistance Vehicle (MAV) using a converted airplane catering vehicle by Mott MacDonald for Highways England which reduces resource requirements and improves road-worker safety, and seamless vehicular connectivity across terrestrial and satellite communications demonstrated by the Satellite Applications Catapult. Please watch this space for the videos of the demonstrations which will be released soon.

As always, the Congress also acted as the perfect place for networking, doing business and meeting new and old acquaintances, both in the Congress by day and around Glasgow by evening.

The 2016 ITS World Congress is due to be held in Melbourne in October, with the event due to have greater number of attendees and delegates than were in Glasgow. The next ITS Congress is to be held in Europe and is the 12th ITS European Congress , which takes place in June 2017 in Strasbourg. Being the location of the European Parliament, Strasbourg Eurometropolis will offer a unique location for policy leaders to interact and hear the latest trends of ITS. Find out more.

Thanks to Martyn Minear, Arup and Darren Capes, City of York Council for their input into this review