Tag Archives: transport

How Ford Is Exploring the Quantum World with Microsoft to Help Reduce Congestion

Our connected world has helped billions of people improve their lives in numerous ways such as offering instant access to information, enhancing health care, providing new ways to watch movies or experience music, and equipping our homes with smart speakers.

Yet with all these advancements, many of us find ourselves stuck in more traffic, not less. The fantastic navigation technology that anyone can use and helps us more efficiently get places simply does not have the power to coordinate traffic on a mass scale.

But could it? Through a joint research pilot, Ford and Microsoft scientists have simulated thousands of vehicles and their impact on congestion by leveraging powerful quantum-inspired technology. While we’re still in the early stages of quantum computing development, encouraging progress has been made that can help us take what we’ve learned in the field and start to apply it to problems we want to solve today, while scaling to more complex problems tomorrow.

Julie Love, senior director at Microsoft leading their quantum computing business development, says, “Quantum computing has the potential to transform the auto industry and the way we move. To do that we need to have a deep understanding of the problems that companies like Ford want to solve, which is why collaborations like these are so important.”

Our researchers teamed up in 2018 to develop new quantum approaches running on classical computers already available to help reduce Seattle’s traffic congestion.

During rush hour driving, numerous drivers request the shortest possible routes at the same time, but current navigation services handle these requests in a vacuum. They do not take into consideration the number of similar incoming requests, including areas where other drivers are all planning to share the same route segments, when delivering results.

Just imagine a family trying to get ready for work and school in the morning with similar departure times. If an individual day planning app gave each person the quickest way to get going, there likely would be a bottle-neck at the bathroom. Now scale that to a family of thousands…

Instead of this type of individualized routing, what if we could develop a more balanced routing system — one that could consider all the various route requests from drivers and optimize route suggestions so that the number of vehicles sharing the same roads is minimized? That sounds great — and could potentially save everyone time, not to mention aggravation — but one major roadblock towards balanced routing is the fact that it would require extensive computational resources.

Simply put, it’s not feasible to have traditional computers find the optimal solution from a huge number of possible route assignments in a timely manner. That’s where quantum computing can help. Essentially, existing digital computers translate information into either a 1 or a 0, otherwise known as a bit. But in a quantum computer, information can be processed by a quantum bit (or a qubit) that can simultaneously exist in two different states before it gets measured. Upon measurement, however, either a 1 or a 0 appears randomly and the probability for each is governed by a set of rules called quantum mechanics.

This ultimately enables a quantum computer to process information with a faster speed. Attempts to simulate some specific features of a quantum computer on non-quantum hardware have led to quantum-inspired technology — powerful algorithms that mimic certain quantum behaviors and run on specialized conventional hardware. That enables organizations to start realizing some benefits before fully-scaled quantum hardware becomes available.

With the ability to process vast amounts of data that’s not possible today. It’s easier to imagine how quantum computing has the potential to deliver balanced routing to drivers, which could create a series of cascading benefits: smoother flow of traffic, more efficient commutes, and even reduced pollution.

Additional thoughts from Julie: “By taking what we’ve learned about quantum computing and bringing it to hardware that’s already available, we don’t have to wait until quantum computers are deployed on a wide scale to take advantage of the technology. Using world-class quantum algorithms customized for specific problems, we can bring measurable improvements and drive change that can impact people’s lives.”

Working with Microsoft, we tested several different possibilities, including a scenario involving as many as 5,000 vehicles — each with 10 different route choices available to them — simultaneously requesting routes across Metro Seattle. In 20 seconds, balanced routing suggestions were delivered to the vehicles that resulted in a 73 percent improvement in total congestion when compared to “selfish” routing. The average commuting time, meanwhile, was also reduced by 8 percent — an annual reduction of more than 55,000 hours saved in congestion across this simulated fleet.

 

These results are promising, so now we’re expanding our partnership with Microsoft to further improve the algorithm and understand its effectiveness in more real-world scenarios. For example, will this method still deliver similar results when some streets are known to be closed, if route options aren’t equal for all drivers, or if some drivers decide to not follow suggested routes? These and more are all variables we’ll need to test for to ensure balanced routing can truly deliver tangible improvements for cities.

Our collaboration with NASA last year also involved similar work around a routing efficiency problem for fleet vehicles, but our growing quantum computing team is working with Microsoft and others to investigate how this technology can be used in areas ranging from robotics to aerodynamics, as Ford continues to seek out ways to create better products and experiences for people.

This work with Microsoft is another example of how we are dedicated to finding innovative solutions for problems our cities face. Our recently unveiled City Insights Platform uses data and advanced software tools to enable cities to explore and help solve a variety of mobility issues. By leveraging parking, transit, traffic, safety and census data, City Insights Platform lets local planners test various concepts even before implementing them in the real world.

The scenario we explored with Microsoft is just one way that quantum-inspired solutions could be of interest to cities. Since we know how a quantum computer would attempt to solve a problem like this, we’ve reached a point where we can apply our knowledge to address near-term issues with hardware that we already have. That puts the future much closer to our grasp than many may have initially thought — and we are intent on seizing the opportunity.

Source: Dr. Ken Washington, Chief Technology Officer, Ford Motor Company

Uber plans flying cars to beat jams

 

Flying cars may finally move from science fiction to factVALERY HACHE/AFP/GETTY

The $70bn (£54.6bn) ride-hailing giant has made much of its plans for self-driving cars. The next step is more outlandish. The San Francisco company is one of more than a dozen pouring money into the development of crafts that take off like a helicopter but fly like an aeroplane — VTOL (vertical take-off and landing vehicles).

Uber claims that these flying machines could be the key to ending millions of hours that are wasted by people sitting in traffic. The company will this week hold a summit in Dallas to unveil progress towards the
large-scale introduction of airborne cars.

Source: The Sunday Times

 

mytaxi and Hailo join forces to create Europe´s largest taxi e-hailing company

mytaxi and Hailo join forces to create Europe´s largest taxi e-hailing company

  • mytaxi and Hailo create Europe’s largest taxi e-hailing company with 100.000 drivers in over 50 cities in nine countries
  • New company to use mytaxi brand with head office in Hamburg, Germany
  • Andrew Pinnington, currently Hailo CEO, to lead newly formed company
  • mytaxi founder becomes Managing Director of Daimler Mobility Services and strategic advisor
  • Daimler Financial Services continues strategic investments in innovative mobility services

 

mytaxi and Hailo, two innovative leaders in the field of taxi e-hailing, are joining forces and creating Europe’s largest taxi e-hailing company with 70 million passengers and 100.000 registered taxi drivers in over 50 cities across nine countries.

The geographic footprint of the two companies is very complementary. Hailo operates in the UK, Ireland, and Spain, while mytaxi is available in Austria, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

The newly formed company will operate under the mytaxi brand and will rebrand all Hailo operations in UK, Ireland, and Spain by mid 2017. Andrew Pinnington will be appointed CEO of the new company. Niclaus Mewes, founder of mytaxi, is taking a seat on the supervisory board and in addition he will become Managing Director of Daimler Mobility Services GmbH. He will play a central role in the integration and strategic development of the new mytaxi company.

“The joining of mytaxi and Hailo is another strategic step in making us a leader of mobility solutions and platforms. By providing mobility at your fingertips, customers can enjoy various forms of mobility with a transparent overview and easy to pay services. This investment is in addition to the nearly 500 million Euros we’ve already invested in building mobility platforms and services over the last years. We are prepared to make further strategic investments as we continuously build our mobility eco-system.” said Klaus Entenmann, Chairman of Daimler Financial Services AG.

“By combining Hailo and mytaxi, we have created the largest European taxi e-Hailing company. We bring together world class technology, an iconic brand, high quality people and the financial backing of our shareholders”, said Andrew Pinnington, CEO designate of mytaxi.Niclaus Mewes, founder of mytaxi, said: “Hailo and mytaxi are both market leaders in the countries we operate. Together we are even stronger and we look forward to further innovative transport and mobility solutions as we provide compelling offers for both drivers and passengers.”

The announcement of the proposed combined business is subject to the approval of the European Regulatory Authorities and a decision is expected in the next weeks.

Source: Daimler

Gotthard base tunnel the longest railway tunnel in the world operating with Polycom radio system

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Gotthard base tunnel the world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel, Switzerland’s Gotthard Base Tunnel was inaugurated in the first week of June. It uses the Polycom radio communication system, which is based on Tetrapol technology from Airbus Defence and Space. Due to the tunnel’s length of 57 kilometres, a secure and stable radio communication system is vital to coordinate the work of emergency services in the event of a technical failure or fire incident.

The police, first responders and ambulance services use the system in the Gotthard tunnel, along with firefighters and Swiss Federal Railways rescue trains. Polycom is a secure nationwide radio communication system for public rescue and safety organisations as well as for operators of critical infrastructures. Polycom covers Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

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Before the inauguration, the two single-track tunnels were equipped with the Polycom system. Each tunnel tube has a Polycom radio communication system consisting of two overlapping cells for both tubes. Each cell works independently and is based on nine radio transceiver stations. Coverage in the tunnel is ensured by a radiating feeder cable that receives the radio signal from two directions. This makes communication possible on both sides even if parts of the system were damaged by fire.

Trains run at high speed through the tunnel which is located up to 2,300 meters below the surface and took 10 years to build. The Gotthard Base Tunnel system connects Northern and Southern Europe and is the heart of the New Rail Link through the Alps (NRLA).

The construction of the tunnel is managed by AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd, while engineering, installation and commissioning of the Polycom system was managed by Atos Switzerland.

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Source: Sam Fenwick-TETRA Today

Tiredness alarms ‘to be forced on drivers’

Cars in the future could sound an alarm or automatically slow down or stop if the drive is not focused on the road, or even flash hazard lights to warn other motorists.

In the future, cars could sound an alarm or stop automatically if the driver is not focused on the road

CAMERAS that monitor a driver’s gaze and sound an alarm if they are looking at a phone or falling asleep could be a legal safety requirement in new cars within a few years, it was claimed this weekend.

European Commission officials are preparing a raft of new safety proposals for car manufacturers and are expected to include measures to cut the number of accidents caused by drivers who are distracted or tired.

Experts this weekend predicted that the measures, due to be unveiled next month, could be among the most significant safety advances since manufacturers began fitting airbags in the early 1990s.

A landmark report compiled for the commission by Britain’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) found that technology which recognises when a driver is distracted or drowsy is now “cost effective” and can be included in future EU safety regulations.

Source: Mark Hookham. Sunday Times

 

Local Authority traffic management systems get green light

  • Market leading Zenco Systems to deliver fully-managed digital monitoring solutions with integrated airtime
  • Local Authorities benefit from a more resilient, cost-effective traffic management solution
  • Connectivity platform and mobile network choice delivered by Wireless Logic.

Zenco Car

In just seven years, Zenco Systems have become the market leader in visual traffic monitoring systems, working with over 35 Local Authorities throughout the UK. Their overarching aim is to deliver digital solutions that keep traffic moving – a vital ingredient in the armoury of Local Authorities as they maintain their commitment to agreed Local Transport Plans. So whether it’s bus lane monitoring, box junction enforcement, or parking proximity to schools, Zenco Systems’ integrated solutions are supporting councils in their drive to keep town centre traffic flowing whilst discouraging anti-social driver behaviour across a number of enforceable actions.

Behind Zenco Systems’ bigger picture is a suite of smart, intuitive technology that provides automatic wireless enforcement via a range of static and mobile cameras. Each system involves a complete 360° solution that captures, transmits and processes both still images and video providing near real-time evidence-based data to a local authority control centre. Data is sent across 3G thus avoiding the need for hard-wired connectivity from the camera to back-office applications. The review and processing of data across Zenco’s own platforms mean that the entire monitoring and control process is delivered as a one-stop solution with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and video analytics all deployed seamlessly.

Working in partnership with resellers, Zenco Systems have, until now, left the critical area of mobile connectivity to the end user. “Whilst a vital part of the entire system, customers were happy to acquire SIMs and handle the ongoing everyday management,” comments Adrian Ford, Sales Director for Zenco Systems. “So whether it was ‘bill shock’ for a data-hungry camera in a busy location, or general connectivity issues, we found that local authorities were very much in the hands of the mobile networks, with varying levels of customer support experienced.”

At the time of Zenco Systems’ review of connectivity, a meeting with Wireless Logic, Europe’s leading M2M Managed Services provider, enlightened the Zenco board to the benefits of providing a fully managed-connectivity solution as part of their traffic monitoring proposition. By partnering with Wireless Logic, Zenco could give local authorities a hassle-free fully cost-managed connectivity solution with the right tariff and associated support. “Our early conversations with the Wireless Logic team soon made us realise that by managing an entire portfolio of SIM-based cameras, we could enjoy complete visibility and control on behalf of our customers, UK-wide,” continues Zenco’s Adrian Ford. “And with SIMs that typically consume between 5GB and 10GB of data per month, our ability to purchase and market competitively would mean additional value-add to both our resellers and end-customers.”

Behind Zenco Systems’ bigger picture is a suite of smart, intuitive technology that provides automatic wireless enforcement

Jon-Paul Clarke, Business Development Director for Wireless Logic explains further: “With Zenco’s nationwide deployment, we were able to highlight a number of opportunities to provide a better connectivity solution to their customers – firstly, a choice of networks so that each camera location is optimised for network coverage, secondly, data aggregation where data usage can be spread across the entire portfolio – allowing more busy locations to balance with less data-intensive installations, and thirdly, complete visibility of Zenco’s entire SIM estate through the Wireless Logic SIMpro platform. This gives Zenco’s teams the ability to manage, monitor and bill, thus empowering councils to purely focus on the business of traffic management with worry-free 3G connectivity.” With traffic monitoring solutions deployed across the country, Zenco Systems are now talking to all local authority partners with options on connectivity management. “The response to our connectivity proposition has been nothing but positive,” adds Adrian Ford. “Users realise that they can now have dedicated data-SIMs that sit o