How precise positioning is set to change transport forever

An idea doesn’t have to be complicated to fundamentally change society. Just look at stone tools; the wheel; the compass. So when we talk about precise positioning — a high availability service that makes satellite navigation more accurate and reliable — it might not sound as glamorous and life-altering as AI or XR.  While it’s set to have a huge impact on basically every area of our lives, we think the sector it will really alter forever is transport. Imagine public transport that’s extensive and easy; trains that are so reliable that you’re never left stranded on the platform for an extra 40 minutes because your train is out of service; scooter services where you get rewards for using them responsibly. Now subtract the imagination part of the equation: this is all coming to you in the very near future!

12 startups recently enrolled on Accuracy Unlocked, our Precise Positioning acceleration program. hubraum spoke to some of the transport experts from the program to hear what changes we should expect.

“WE CAN REWARD GOOD MANNERS AND GOOD BEHAVIOR”

An interview with David O’Reilly, Chief Commercial Officer at Zeus Scooters.

How will precise positioning help solve shared mobility headaches?

Ensuring accurate positioning is a challenge for micro-mobility. With precise positioning technology delivering an accuracy of up to 10cm, Zeus is able to ensure that our riders park their scooters unobstructively and safely. By being able to more precisely track where the scooters are parked, we can reward good manners and good behavior from riders whilst at the same time being able to fine riders who leave their scooters in obstructive spots or places that might be dangerous for traffic or pedestrians.

Having extremely accurate positioning also allows us to monitor our ZeUsers’ very closely. We will be able to react quickly if a rider is on the pavement or in an unauthorised area. It will also allow for more accurate monitoring of speed checks and journey distance. It will also allow our ZeUsers to see exactly where a scooter has been parked for their next ride and for our operations team to easily locate the scooters to swap out batteries and carry out basic daily maintenance on the scooters.

“AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES EXPAND THE PUBLIC TRANSPORT NETWORK AND FILL IN THE GAPS”

We spoke to Jorma Hiie, Project Lead at Auve Tech, who offer flexible level 4 autonomous shuttles.

How does precise positioning help promote autonomous driving as the #1 choice for transport?

Our goal in Auve Tech is to enhance public transport as we know it today and make it more accessible, personal and convenient for everybody. The autonomous last-mile sector helps expand the current public transport network by filling in the gaps in areas where due to demand, infrastructure or cost, no public transport options are available. Precise positioning is one of the main foundations for successful autonomous transport. Since autonomous vehicles operate within a pre-mapped area, the precision of a high-definition map and localization plays a huge role in making the whole system safe, smart and reliable.

That sounds incredibly useful. And it sounds like pre-existing transport companies could integrate the vehicles into a broader network. This said, do you think autonomous vehicles will be more popular with businesses like this (as a B2B model) or with customers?

Autonomous last-mile offers an abundance of use cases from offering a normal bus stop service (where there is a specific schedule and route) to on-demand use cases (where vehicles come whenever the passenger requests it within a pre-mapped area, and they arrive at the time requested). The vehicles can be teleoperated, meaning a fleet of vehicles can be overseen from a distant control room instead of having designated drivers for each unit.

This helps to keep the costs down both for the businesses that want to implement mobility systems for solving logistics bottlenecks but also for individuals that can make use of the autonomous mobility services for stock delivery or transportation. The popularity of autonomous last mile mobility lies largely in the early-adopting businesses that are ready to give these new solutions a try. The end goal is to make the service beneficial for both the businesses and the end customers that use the service on a daily basis.

“EXPECT CHEAPER TRAIN FARES”

We spoke to Morteza Nokhodian, the co-CEO of PANTOhealth, a startup carrying out monitoring and predictive maintenance of transport infrastructure.

How will precise positioning make trains run more punctually, cost less to maintain and generally improve the railways?

Railway is the most environment-friendly form of transport and the usage of railway transport is constantly increasing globally. The biggest challenge faced by the railway industry is keeping infrastructure operational and defect-free. Infrastructure managers carry out regular measurements and run maintenance which is very costly and, in most cases, insufficient. However, the evolution of IoT and big data analytics has made it possible to carry out live monitoring of infrastructure and to use past data to predict possible future defects. This approach is called Predictive Maintenance.

Part of Pantohealth’s monitoring solution

As the train moves along the infrastructure, every piece of sensor data relates to a specific point on the track the train is at, and low-precision location services can lead to mislabeling of data which leads to inaccurate predictions of defects.  In addition to this, an issue is normally implied by an abnormally high level of vibration, heat, force, or some other non-visual sensory data so the defective component does not give any visible indication of there being a problem. Without precisely pinpointing defective components, the maintenance provider will be unable to identify where a repair must be carried out. So, without a proper precise positioning system predictive maintenance of the interaction of train and railway infrastructure is not possible.

Predictive maintenance highly reduces the risk of potential accidents, more so than using legacy methods. Over time, thanks to the access to more data, predictive maintenance keeps getting better which minimizes the cost of upkeep and the effort required while maximizing the time the railway functions smoothly. This effectively reduces the cost of transport and enables more individuals and businesses to use this sustainable form of transport.

“LET’S HELP LEARNER DRIVERS BECOME BETTER DRIVERS”

We spoke to Kierian Tirlemont, one of the team at Smartmoov, who offer the road safety tools of tomorrow.

A screenshot of the Smartmoov interface

You’ve developed the only product on our program which uses precise positioning in an educational way. How has your device solution benefited from precise positioning?

Smartmoov is an educational software that records a driver’s trip and detects various driving incidents (accelerating too quickly, braking too suddenly, forgetting to turn their indicators on, speeding, slipping stops, etc.). At the end of the trip, a statistical report makes the driver aware of areas where there is room for improvement, helping them to become a better driver.

Our product is used by driving schools as an educational tool, but also by professional training courses, road safety associations and insurance companies.

In terms of benefits our device has derived from precise positioning, this technology allows us to ensure accurate and reliable satellite positions. Driving lessons mostly take place in cities, and the presence of buildings can make it difficult to track the exact position of the vehicle. Thanks to the precise positioning module, we can transmit the real and accurate route to the apprentice driver. In addition, it has allowed us to create an algorithm that automatically analyses the driver’s route. As such, we’re able to reliably and accurately report incidents that the driving instructor did not notice.

Want to hear more about how precise positioning is being developed at Deutsche Telekom? Click here.

Plus stay tuned for part two! We’ve got a second installment on how precise positioning will make robots our allies in the workplace.

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