Connect Crowd to Create – FutureSax Founders Award 2020

Making organizations successful today and tomorrow by means of a virtual world of innovation and swarm creativity – that is the idea of “connect crowd to create”, who are competing in this year’s Saxon Founders Award of FutureSax as one of over 120 teams. Since I find the idea of having all employees participate heterarchically and participatively in the company’s innovations in a virtual innovation world incredibly exciting and interesting, I would like to call for support for the audience award. You can vote here at FutureSax.

On the way to autonomous driving: With accident and traffic observation data to the optimal test scenario

Road traffic is highly complex and difficult to describe. And yet it is absolutely essential that we manage to present it in a compact form in meaningful test scenarios. Only in this way can we succeed in bringing highly automated driving functions to series production readiness in the foreseeable future.

The test scenarios themselves can be generated either logically, i.e. from abstract considerations, or data-driven, i.e. from analyses of the traffic situation. Or a combination of these two possible approaches. And it is precisely for this purpose that it is important that we use as much information and knowledge as possible to generate test scenarios that are as relevant as possible: We have to merge different databases, such as data from traffic observations and accident records. You can read how this can be done here: “With accident and traffic observation data to the optimal test scenario”.

On the way to autonomous driving: Traffic observation with drones and stationary cameras started in Dresden!

As part of my work at the Chair of Automobile Engineering at the TU Dresden, we have now started the first drone flights and stationary camera recordings for traffic observation. In addition to the determination of test scenarios for the validation of automated driving functions, the aim is also the validation of traffic simulations. Further information can be found directly here on the chair homepage.

Challenges and research approaches for the supra-regional validation of a scenario catalogue for automated driving functions

This admittedly somewhat unwieldy title basically describes the core content of my doctorate, which I was able to present and discuss at the WKM Symposium in Karlsruhe in mid-July. In the following I will present the content of my presentation on the basis of my submitted abstract, but I am always happy to hear more detailed questions and discussions – also by email to my professional address.

Accepted abstract:

Driver assistance systems are becoming increasingly important in the automotive sector and represent a key technology on the road to automated driving. Since the systems have to operate in complex traffic situations, comprehensive testing is necessary for their development and homologation. A means of testing is provided by test scenario catalogs derived from real traffic events, which attempt to depict road traffic events as comprehensively as possible with the aid of normal driving, critical and accident scenarios.

Natural driving data (NDS studies) as well as police and in-depth-accident databases can serve as databases for the test scenario catalogues, like e.g. in the “SePIA” project. These databases represent a sample from a clearly defined population (often highly localised) in terms of time, subject matter and space. Test scenario catalogues generated from the databases are therefore initially very limited in their scope of application.

This is due to the diversity of traffic events with regard to environmental (e.g. topographical), economic (e.g. income-specific) and social (e.g. socialisation of road users) aspects as well as with regard to traffic itself (e.g. volume and composition of traffic). In order to apply the test scenario catalogue for the validation of driver assistance systems as widely as possible (nationally / internationally) as possible, it is therefore necessary to determine its relevance and significance for other regions. This ensures that the diversity of traffic events is taken into account. The methodology used for this should be theoretically simple and quickly applicable to as many regions as possible and offer a high degree of reliability. This is the only way to take account of the rapidly changing global traffic situation and ensure the success of a test scenario catalogue.

However, method development poses several challenges: On the one hand, the requirements mentioned result in a conflict of objectives (to develop a method that is as simple as possible but at the same time accurate and universal); on the other hand, the databases that are actually used often do not correspond to the same basic population and usually arise under different objectives and statistical survey plans. Furthermore, supra-regional comparative databases are not available across the board and their comparability and quality fluctuate. These challenges as well as research approaches for addressing them are part of the presentation.

Information about the novelty value of the work:

The development of a method for the reliable validation of a scenario catalogue generated from inhomogeneous databases (bottom-up) represents a novel research project.

“How technologies influence our society” – CDI Alumni Convent 2019

Arrive, marvel and still feel at home: This is how it felt for me to take part last week in the annual and – this year for the first time international – Alumni Convention of Graduates of the Collège des Ingénieurs (CDI).

Arriving and being amazed was on the agenda, because the convent took place in the castle Nymphenburg in Munich and was therefore really embedded in a very beautiful scenery. Except for the weather, which was a little miserly with sunbeams, the venue was completely convincing.

One of the most beautiful locations in Munich: The Nymphenburg castle

I feel like at home, because on the one hand I still have memories from childhood days of long walks through the Nymphenburger Schlosspark. On the other hand, a large part of my MBA year was also on site, which made it feel to me as if we were all coming together again for a lecture or Master Class after a short period in the company.

The programme of this year’s Alumni Convention: The highlight was the presentation of the “German Leadership Award“.

And Master Class character the Convention actually had to offer. Top-class speakers such as Dr. Alexandra Borachardt of the Reuters Institute for the study of journalism, Julius van de Laar, former campaign strategist of Barack Obama and André Schwämmlein, founder and CEO of Flixmobility, gave each other the baton.

The convention was rounded off by the presentation of the “German Leadership Award” to Dr. Hans Langer, founder and CEO of EOS, one of the leading specialists for additive manufacturing processes. The German Leadership Award recognizes executives, companies or institutions who apply and implement leadership in an innovative and successful way in their working environment and who bring the topic to the public in a particularly value-creating way. The award ceremony was moderated by Dr. Alexandra Borchardt in an entertaining and entertaining manner.

All in all it was an extremely successful weekend and I am already looking forward to the next convention in 2020!

Venture Lab: We design the mobility of tomorrow!

At the beginning of March I was finally allowed to return to the venerable and beautiful Banz Monastery as a speaker for the Institute for Political Education of the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation. My mission and aim was to explore the mobility of tomorrow together with a mixed group of participants (14-50 years old; young people – engineers – marketing experts) after a review of the fascinating history of the automobile. And because tomorrow’s mobility is still in the stars and it is therefore difficult to make a final statement, I developed innovative business ideas myself together with the participants using design thinking approaches and the Value Proposition Canvas.

Seminar description of my lecture of several days within the intergenerational seminar “Mobility & Innovations”.

We approached tomorrow’s mobility as follows:

  1. Review of the fascinating history of the automobile: Starting with the invention of the wheel (approx. 3340 B.C.) via the first electric car (1881) to the invention of the 3-point safety belt in 1959 by Nils Ivar Bohlin. In doing so, the initial scepticism towards the new means of transport was considered as well as a comparison of the accident statistics of horse and car traffic.
  2. Innovations and their significance for the economy: Definition of innovation as an “idea in action”. Review of disruptive business models, such as the distribution of “American ice” by Frederic and William Tudor in Calcutta (India) in 1833. Analysis of today’s innovative business models, such as that of ioki or Lilium.
  3. Venture Lab: Development of own innovative mobility concepts by the participants with the help of guided creativity techniques and using the Value Proposition Canvas. The Value Proposition Canvas should help to develop products and services that your customers really want. This is done through an intensive analysis of selected customer segments. This involves actively putting oneself in the shoes of one’s customers and understanding their tasks, wishes and problems. At the end, each team gave a presentation including a business model and pitch to an internal seminar jury.
Left: Intermediate status to a persona of a potential customer (Team 1) | Right: Team 2 in the development of the Value Proposition Canvas (product view)

The mobility concepts of tomorrow should be developed for two specific questions:

  1. Micromobility: With which products / services can 2030 more people be transported through the city / the same space in the same time?
  2. Long-distance-mobility: With which products / services can 2030 people be transported quickly, ecologically and (as far as possible) individually?

The big question is, of course, which business models were developed in the Venture Lab. Out of consideration for the intellectual property of the participants, I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but I’d like to reveal so much:

The “Micromobility” team developed a concept for a new ring track that can transport passengers through large city centres in concentric circles arranged one next to the other at walking speed – the persona shown above was conceived as the customer segment for this purpose.
The “Long Distance Mobility” team, on the other hand, developed a kind of “individual pneumatic tube” for individual transport over long distances by wealthy business people (from middle management onwards).

Finally, I would like to point out that I was really fascinated by the concrete and well elaborated ideas that the participants developed within a very short time in the seminar. However, with regard to the Value Proposition Canvas, I noticed in the seminar that it was sometimes very difficult for the participants to put themselves in the shoes of their potential customers and identify their jobs, pains and wishes. Above all, the differentiation between the individual terms was sometimes a little tricky. In order to be able to deal here in the future still a little more precisely with the Canvas and to be able to let the participants train the handling with the Canvas, the next seminar should last best simply one day longer 🙂 I look forward now already to the next round!

Finally, a small excerpt from the history of the automobile: What would our cities look like today without the automobile?

ioki – mobility on demand #fmcdd19

I have to admit that before the Future Mobility Camp I neither knew the start-up ioki nor did I know that it belonged to Deutsche Bahn. When I learned about the latter during the session planning, I noticed that I was immediately struck by a certain basic scepticism. A start-up that belongs to the German railway and wants to turn public transport upside down? Can this really go well or won’t it rather be a marketing gag? Can a steamboat as big, old and in urgent need of modernization as the Deutsche Bahn really build up and maintain a young and dynamic start-up?

ioki’s analysis of 2019 and imagination of 2025

Apparently Deutsche Bahn can do this. ioki’s pitch was a bribe for its striking independence from Deutsche Bahn – it was not until the round of questions that the auditorium came to talk about the mother-daughter relationship. Otherwise, ioki presented itself as an independent start-up that wants to improve public transport (revolutionizing would probably be too far-fetched). While in 2019 the average car driver still searches 118 hours a year for a parking space and spends 75% of his time alone in the car, ioki wants to increase the share of shared and inexpensive trips in Germany by 2025. These are best done in autonomous vehicles.

ioki combines motorised individual transport and public transport for individual public transport on demand

While ioki is of the opinion that start-ups such as Uber or Lyft displace short-distance, cycle and pedestrian traffic, ioki aims at an intelligently networked public transport system that is supposed to enable flexible mobility without owning a car. Motorised individual transport will be combined with public transport to create individual public transport on demand. This is made possible by a platform on which customers can enter their travel preferences. Once the request has been successfully met, customers are picked up by a publicly operated shuttle at a public stop and taken to their desired stop with other customers collected en route. This, of course, takes place route-optimised, in coordination with the cycle times of other public means of transport, such as suburban and underground trains, and purely electrically. The concept is currently being tested in Hamburg in the districts of Lurup and Osdorf in cooperation with the Hamburger Verkehrsverbund (HVV) – enclosed are the most important key data for Hamburg:

  • 25 purely electric “London-Cabs” with a range of approx. 200km.
  • 110 offered public stops.
  • 200 passengers per day.
  • A shuttle covers an average distance of 500km per day.
  • The average occupancy rate is 1.7 (compared to 1.1 in normal traffic).
  • The shuttles are continuously in motion and follow an “intelligent” route. Similar to predictive policing, which predicts the next criminal offence, an algorithm is used to estimate where the next request is most likely to be made.

So much for ioki’s publicly available business concept. Much more exciting for me, however, was the procedure for selecting the Hamburg Lurup and Osdorf test field. In addition to the OnDemand platform, ioki has developed a “Mobility Simulator” that can be used to identify potentially suitable areas for the shuttle service – in other words, the Mobility Simulator seems to be the heart of ioki’s business concept. In concrete terms, a microscopic image of the areas to be investigated was created over a development period of 1.5 years, in which it was simulated for each individual inhabitant how they move through the public space. Due to the agent-based model, it is even taken into account whether it is a work, leisure or shopping trip of the individual agent. This detailed simulation was made possible by the fusion of different data sources, e.g:

  • Social demographic and geographic data (e.g. from national statistics offices)
  • Route diaries from mobility studies (e.g. Mobilität in Deutschland)
  • Source and target matrices from mobile radio data

I find ioki’s use of mobile data from “a large German network operator” the most interesting. What could we accomplish in the field of active vehicle safety if we could use driving profiles from mobile phone data for driving and driver behavior analysis? On my request, ioki had to buy the mobile data on the one hand and on the other hand was subject to high data protection requirements. The mobile phone data used cannot be traced back to a single person, since ioki is only allowed and able to evaluate the data in relation to the municipal boundaries. This means that no driving behaviour can be reconstructed within a “municipality” – the macroscopic level of observation thus achieved is really very high.

All in all, I was really impressed by ioki’s presentation, but it remains to be seen how ioki’s model will perform. In any case, it is clear that this form of mobility will not pay off for the regional transport companies without a public subsidy – it is and will remain a local public transport system. On the other hand, it will be exciting to see up to which city size ioki can offer its services economically. For such a complex and detailed simulation not only a corresponding budget is necessary, but also a current and detailed data basis. I am curious!

PS: Whoever compares the basic idea of ioki’s shuttle on demand with the old-fashioned and often smiled at “call/collection bus” is a rogue 🙂

Future Mobility Camp Dresden #fmcdd 2019

The future of mobility, our mobility – what will it look like? This question is probably one of the most hotly debated questions currently being asked by a wide range of different groups: Starting with commuters, continuing with the self-made expert and ending with the long-standing expert in autonomous driving. And yet no one will be able to answer this question.

All the more reason why the Future Mobility Camp in the Dresden State and University Library fascinated me so much, as its barcamp format, i.e. that there was no fixed agenda / list of speakers in advance, seemed to approach this question rather unconventionally. And so it was:

In three sessions, which were designed by the participants themselves, I gained an insight into traffic and mobility from the point of view of transport scientists, students or city consultants.

The first session was 70 minutes about “micromobility”, i.e. inner-city mobility, for example, in the form of electric scooters, which can already be found on every street corner in Paris. The maximum speed for this is 15 km/h. Micromobility focuses primarily on the question of how to transport more people through the same space. We discussed not only e-scooters, but also remote-controlled skateboards, kilometre-long conveyor belts, as known from the airport, and a transport system inspired by the airport. With this system, every passer-by could get a tag to be transported through the city in a huge “luggage system”. In the end however, we couldn’t agree on a solution in the 70-minute session and got lost in some small-scale debate about the current legal situation and the possible compatibility of pedestrians and e-scooters on the sidewalk.

Nevertheless, the following arguments made a lasting impression on me:

  1. A study from Portland (Oregon) has shown that e-scooters replace car traffic, but not pedestrian traffic. Furthermore, tourists in particular are using e-scooters, which are easy to rent.
  2. Even if the infrastructure adjustments necessary for micromobility seem large to us, they cannot be compared in any way with the costs of adapting to the car. Only existing road widths have to be adapted or traffic separations introduced.
  3. Micromobility could help small supermarkets and shops to regain their momentum, as trips to them would become more lucrative again.
  4. Over the past decades, people around the world have always invested the same amount of time in travel. Thus, the time spent on transportation/travel per day is constant over time, transportation modes and the comfort of the means of transportation within a country. We may travel faster these days, but we travel farther and more often.

Personally, I believe that micromobility is a serious issue and can also be a step in the right direction towards the sensible use of urban space. For example, how much valuable space are we already giving away for multi-lane roads through city centres, which are usually subject to heavy traffic during rush hours? And how much space for parking spaces where vehicles are parked that are only used for an average of one hour a day?

These questions will soon be addressed in the #fmcdd19 sessions on IOKI and parking management. See you soon!

P.E.A.R.S – Prospective Effectiveness Assessment for Road Safety

Almost every new car today is equipped with a number of different driver assistance systems, whether relatively simple lane change warning systems or automatic emergency brake assist systems, which are designed to prevent accidents in urban traffic or mitigate collisions. In addition, autonomous driving, especially on motorways, is already within sight and will come in the (near) future.

The question that inevitably arises for many engineers is the influence of these systems on real road traffic. To what extent is the increasing market penetration noticeable in traffic and to what extent do the systems prevent accidents and injuries? The latter question aims at the pre-crash phase, i.e. the time before the first collision of an impending accident – a question that cannot be answered immediately due to a lack of data in real road traffic.

To address these questions, an international consortium, P.E.A.R.S (“Prospective Effectiveness Assessment for Road Safety”), was founded in 2012. It consists primarily of partners from the automotive industry, scientific institutions and universities (e.g. TU Dresden). The aim is to develop an understandable, reliable and accepted simulation method for the quantitative evaluation of accident-preventing technologies / driver assistance systems. In addition, an ISO standard for the predictive evaluation of the road safety of active driver assistance systems installed in the vehicle is to be developed – also here with the inclusion of virtual simulation methods, which should enable a cost-effective evaluation.

The P.E.A.R.S. consortium is divided into a total of four sub-working groups, whereby since November of last year I have been allowed to participate in Working Group A (WGA) “Methods, models and effectiveness calculation”. The main aim of WGA is to answer the following three questions:

  1. Definition of evaluation targets and a basis for comparison (“baseline”) for evaluation
  2. Implementation of virtual simulation models
  3. Development of metrics for estimating the effectiveness of safety systems

Since I am still in the process of getting an overview of the already extensive work of working group A, I cannot define my exact topic at this point yet. However, it seems that in the WGA – similar to SePIA – I will be dealing with the comparability / extrapolation of simulation results for other regions / countries.

So far the work in this extremely international consortium gives me a lot of pleasure and I am looking forward to report already in March from the General Assembly in Frankfurt. For further information / future publications, a regular visit to the P.E.A.R.S homepage at www.pearsinitiative.com is definitely recommended!

“It depends on yourself whether you want to use the New Year as a brake or as a motor.”

According to this quote from Henry Ford I wish you a happy new and successful year 2019! May all your wishes for the New Year come true.

I myself started the New Year at the North Sea with a beautiful view of the fireworks of the island of Föhr and will continue to dedicate the remaining days to the biography of Alice Schroeder about Warren Buffet (“Life is like a snowball”).

I wish you a refreshing winter holiday and see you soon!

PS: The next article in January will be about the P.E.A.R.S-Initiative (www.pearsinitiative.com).