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TaaS Technology Conference 2019

By [email protected] - 23rd August 2019 - 10:17

Those attending represented interests from across the entire value chain of the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV), Electric Vehicle (EV), Energy/Battery, Charging, Infrastructure and Future Mobility industry. The event, staged by Angel Business Communications Ltd in partnership with Coventry University, and WMG at the University of Warwick, included two co-located conferences; the inaugural TaaS Technology Awards; pitches from five start-up businesses, and an exhibition zone supported by a score of sponsors.

There can be little doubt that the rapid evolution of the mobility marketplace has been accompanied by fragmentation and a want of standardisation, e.g. electric and hybrid vehicles use up to four different charging plugs. That shortcoming is replicated elsewhere, said HERE Mobility’s Alon Pastor, who pointed to the proliferation of stand-alone apps that can make trip planning a disjointed, time-consuming process. “We do need competition in the market, but not the confusion that can arise in performing the task of getting from point A to point B,” said Pastor. He saw three steps as a necessary solution to this challenge: versatility, where apps accommodate multiple modes of transport; visibility, where they take users through trip planning, ticketing, hotel booking and other required steps; and optimization where, regardless of what users adopt as their preferred app, they deliver an efficient, unified service based on shared data and on behavioral science techniques that understand how people move around. Providing this mobility marketplace model was, said Pastor, something HERE was enabling with its portfolio of suitable APIs and tools.

Of course, to get to point B you need an address that is unambiguous, clearly and easily annunciated and universally applicable. This was the theme of a presentation by George Hall from what3words. He recounted how the London-based business had draped the globe with a virtual 3 x 3m grid and assigned three unique words from a vocabulary of 40,000 English words to each of its 57 trillion grid squares. This geocoding system – the first designed for speech recognition – can also convert the three-word address to GPS coordinates and place a pin on a map. The system is now available in 37 languages and in use with more than 1000 businesses, government agencies and NGOs across 170 countries.

Tomaso Grossi from TomTom chose mapping for autonomous vehicles as his topic, making the point that these would differ significantly to those used in contemporary navigation systems. While most automakers were testing high-definition maps for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), TomTom’s HD Map now includes RoadDNA Suite, a set of layers that enable accurate and robust localisation for autonomous vehicles and can integrate data from optical, radar and LiDAR sensors.

Autonomous vehicle sensors and their integration formed another strand of the programme, with Mike Dempsey from Claytex reviewing the company’s work in developing tools and real-world models that can simulate camera, LiDAR, Radar, Ultrasound, GPS and IMU sensors, and Zeina Nazer from Cities Forum exploring the challenges and opportunities for LiDAR sensors within ADAS.

While four-wheeled transport featured high on the agenda, micro-mobility in the shape of electric scooters, bike-sharing services and so on came a close second. Nor were the needs of pedestrians and the disabled overlooked, with an important segment of the programme devoted to their safety and access to services in a rapidly changing world.

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