Transport technology of the future around the world
13 June 2018
If the thought of booking a driverless car service to the airport, or boarding a self-driving train to work sounds a little bit farfetched, you will be surprised to find that the future is closer than you think. In a technological climate that George Jetson would approve of, the face of our roads is rapidly changing. Auto manufacturers, tech giants and government bodies are working together to bring digital disruption to our roads in unexpected ways.
While Silicon Valley is the undoubted epicentre of digital innovation, there are plenty of examples both close to home and abroad, where engineering, design and algorithms are shaping the way we all move. Here are some of the technologies across the world that may be available to you soon.
Trains, United Kingdom
2018 has seen the maiden journey for the first self-driving train on the London Thameslink route, set to be a regular transport option for London commuters from 2019. For now, the train’s journey will still be managed by a human driver but the new automated train technology will sync train journeys, increasing passenger capacity and speed through beacon technology and an improved digital signalling system.
London is consistently rated as suffering from the worse traffic congestion in Europe, so the speed offered by self-driving train technology will provide a welcome change for the travel-weary Londoners.
Cargo droids, Italy
Ever get the feeling there’s something following you? Maybe it’s one of the new modern personal cargo droids that’s launched in Italy in 2017. The company behind the iconic Vespa scooter has created a mobile droid that looks like it stepped out of a sleek design catalogue.
The robotic personal assistant follows a pace behind you as you go about your day like a backpack on wheels, helpfully carrying your things so you can be hands-free.
Source: Piaggio Fast Forward
As self-driving car prototypes become safer and more sophisticated, the vision of human-driven cars sharing the road with self-driving cars is coming to life. This is particularly apparent in Singapore.
In 2018, a robo-taxi fleet is set to take flight, servicing a large geographic chunk of the Southeast Asian city-state.
Mining trucks, Western Australia
In our own backyard, there’s large-scale innovation taking place in the Pilbara mines of remote Western Australia. With the introduction of robust AI technology, one mining giant is retrofitting a fleet of 19 iron-ore haul trucks to be fully automated.
Copyright © 2018 Rio Tinto
Automated shuttlebus, Sydney
Source: Transport for New South Wales
Across the globe, driverless and automated transport technology is making its presence felt. There are many questions still hanging in the balance – how will all these options really work on our roads? What are the risks and what can we expect to gain? Only time will tell, but the ride will be a fascinating one.
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