The transport industry as it stands is no longer sustainable and, one way or another, cannot continue to exist as we know it today. Either we find new, smart, green alternatives and drive the world into a new age ourselves, together, or we risk an international collapse. This is where innovators like ourselves, and Applied Autonomy, Hydrolift Smart City Ferries and YETI MOVE come in.
For the teams in Norway, evolution is an inevitability, as populations grow and streets become overcrowded. Around the world, not only are we struggling to cope with the number of cars on the roads, but we cannot continue to rely on diesel and fossil fuels.
“30% of emissions are produced in the transport sector, and that’s way too much. We just can’t go on like this,” says Rebecca Ronke, Project Lead, Applied Autonomy. “There has to be a shift.”
The public transport sector has an image problem, and Applied Autonomy is dedicated to fixing it through the power of autonomous, self-driving vehicles. Already trialled in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg, Applied Autonomy is investing in the EZ10 electric autonomous minibus. Initial tests have been positive, with the zero-emissions craft replacing two full manned diesel buses in the town; but this is just the start.
“We have to achieve full autonomy,” explains Ronke. “We have to just do better than what we’re doing today, we don’t really have a choice.”
Sustainable mobility needs collaboration
Applied Autonomy is a part of SAMS Norway, a cluster of companies that have combined their resources and skills to help further drive meaningful change across various transport sectors, and bring automation to Norway as well as to the global market. “Together with the companies we collaborate closely with both regional authorities like Viken County Council, Innovation Norway and government representatives” says Torun Degnes, CEO of SAMS. “This close and iterative collaboration across industries and between sectors is instrumental to reaching the necessary systems change towards sustainable mobility. This applies to all cities and regions across the world; a sustainable mobility system will not be achieved by actors working alone ”.
One of Applied Autonomy’s partners is Yeti Move, a technology development company committed to developing snow operation solutions.
“Automation can give you much more consistency of operations,” says Peter Due, CEO of Yeti Move. “We’re all working towards something greater and if we’re looking at the world, we’ll need to implement more sustainable solutions.”
The problems facing the industry are the same at land and sea, and the solutions are very similar. Hydrolift Smart City Ferries is looking to replace large, heavy and fuel-dependent ferry boats with smaller, efficient, autonomous smart ferries. Instead of launching bigger and bigger fuel-powered machines to ferry as many people as possible in one vessel, Hydrolift’s solution is to create much smaller, regular links with zero-emission, automated boats.
“I think the challenges that cities around the world are facing are much bigger than what we would like to admit,” says Halvor Vislie, COO, Hydrolift Smart City Ferries. “If we can provide better solutions to reduce emissions, make sure that people can get to where they’re going faster and more efficiently, we achieve so many things that go far beyond just one element of technology."