The third annual Audi Urban Future Award was recently presented in Berlin to a team from Mexico City. That team, headed by architect and urban planner Jose Castillo, beat out competitors from Berlin, Boston, and Seoul.
Castillo and his team had some strong impetus from trying to find a solution to urban mobility because, according to the IBM Commuter Pain Index, Mexico City is, well, the most painful in the world for commuters.
So the team developed an operating system for urban mobility that is based in large part on turning commuters into what’s called “data donors.”
Simply, by having commuters provide information to an on-line data platform, the aggregated data can then be used to develop forecasts for commuters to reduce the pain of commuting.
Annegret Maier, head of Data Intelligence at Audi, said, “The team from Mexico City has succeeded in collecting reliable data in a user-friendly way. On the basis of these data, in future we can develop tailor-made mobility services.”
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler presented Audi’s vision of the future of mobility at the award ceremonies.
Stadler stated, “The car has to be seen once again as a desirable object of progress. To achieve this, we have to tear down the walls between infrastructure, public transportation and individual traffic.”
Stadler admitted that there are issues related to cars, particularly in the growing number of congested metropolises around the world, but said, “We have a responsibility for the problems that the car causes in mega-cities today, and will take an active part in solving these problems by means of our development work. To do this, we need local government, project developers and industry to work together.”
So just as the winning team came up with the notion of data donors, Stadler seems to be calling for cooperative concerns, public and private.
Among the things that Audi is working on are self-parking cars, which are said to be capable of reducing the amount of space required in parking garages such that a garage could accommodate two-and-a-half more cars, as well as systems that allow the car to obtain information from traffic signals so that the car’s speed and location are optimized, thereby reducing carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 15%.
Stadler said, “Our ambitions don’t stop at the car – they include its surroundings. Urban solutions will be a decisive business factor for us. If ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ leads to a better experience of urban life for our customers, we will have achieved our goal of success that is sustainable in every way.”
Volkswagen AG has created a new Canadian subsidiary to deploy a network of public charging stations for electric vehicles.
Uber Technologies Inc. is collaborating with the U.S. Army on a co-rotating propeller system that could be used for flying taxis and military drones.
Jaguar Land Rover Ltd. is testing driverless pods equipped with large “eyes” designed to let pedestrians know they’ve been recognized by the vehicle.