Connected and autonomous vehicles, MaaS and intelligent transport systems are moving from lab into the real world, with over 100 smart mobility trials underway
There are still large numbers of sceptics who insist that self-driving vehicles will never be tolerated on British roads.
Yet they are already here.
The biggest test of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) completed a three-year trial involving more than a dozen vehicles in Coventry and Milton Keynes last year and has just published some key findings.
In the USA, Waymo has been pioneering self-driving cars for more than a decade and, after recording more than a million autonomous miles last year, its test fleet is currently clocking up 25,000 miles of autonomous driving every day.
In France, a fleet of self-driving Renault Zoes is about to hit the streets of Paris, while in the Midlands, trialling a cutting edge MaaS app has given transport planners at Transport for the West Midlands (TfWM) the confidence to bid for – and win – £20 million of Government funding to establish the UK’s first Future Mobility Zone.
Significant progress is being made on several fronts, but while academically-driven projects like UK Autodrive in Coventry/Milton Keynes are eager to share the results of their research, the commercially-focused projects like Waymo tend to be less forthcoming with their data.
The over-riding objectives of these trials are generally three-fold: test and refine the convergent technologies needed to facilitate the roll-out of genuinely autonomous vehicles, eliminate any safety issues and measure – and in some cases mould – public attitudes to CAVs.
Read Mark Sutcliffe's article on smart mobility getting street-wise from Smart Transport Journal