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).

 

Dresden and Saxony in the media: When the own university gets negative associated

It was a creeping process. It started approximately when I left Dresden for the first time to do my internship in the south of Germany. During my subsequent semester abroad in Loughborough (UK), I began to realize that this process is not only taking place in Germany, but also on a global scale.

By “process” I mean in this context the ever stronger association of Dresden with Pegida and of Saxony with right-wing extremism.

When I returned from my semester abroad, intimidated by the media coverage, I was unsure exactly what to expect. In fact, however, I quickly realized that not much had changed in my self-created “bubble” of university and various volunteer activities. The only changes worth mentioning in my immediate everyday life were the numerous calls for “counter-demonstrations”. Otherwise “Business as usual” was the rule.

During my MBA in Paris and Frankfurt, however, I was able to gain for the first time very emphatic experiences regarding the external perception of Saxony / Dresden. Because with the majority of my new acquaintances I could count on being confronted with questions about Pegida and right-wing extremism immediately after my self-imagination. In some conversations I almost had the impression that I had to justify myself for my place of study and thus also for my choice of university – especially since I was not originally born in Saxony. This development reached its climax when I recommended a fellow student from Paris, who is a Muslim and has a slightly Mediterranean skin tone, to visit Dresden during his holiday in Germany. Since it did not take long before other fellow students pointed out to me that this could be too dangerous for him. Until then, I was not aware that a stay in Dresden could apparently be classified as life-threatening.

Since I could not and still cannot estimate how these very drastic views about my new homeland could come about in detail, I therefore visited a Fishbowl discussion on the topic “Dresden and Saxony in the media” this Monday. All in all I had the impression that even the representatives of Deutschlandfunk and ZEIT did not have a really clear explanation for this phenomenon. Therefore, I would like to go here only into one insight gained by me during the discussion: Apparently errors were committed on all sides – both with the politics, and the media and the consumers/us all. For the latter, it was never as easy as it is today to help shape the external image of Saxony and Dresden with their own means. All you need is an internet connection.

Therefore I would like to point out in the next months in different posts, what makes Dresden so worth living, why the Technische Universität Dresden is an outstanding Alma Mater and that Dresden has to offer more than Pegida and right-wing extremism.

SePIA: A scenario-based platform for the inspection of automated driving functions

As part of my work at the Chair of Automotive Engineering at TU Dresden, I am involved in several projects dealing with the assessment of highly automated driving functions. One of these is SePIA (scenario-based platform for the inspection of automated driving functions), which is funded by the European Union and in which a large number of Saxon project partners are on board.

The background of SePIA is, that vehicles with automated driving functions have to reach at least the driving abilities of an attentive human driver – and this over their entire lifetime. The main objective of SePIA is therefore to create a scenario platform with real driving scenarios derived from accident databases, accident reconstructions and Naturalistic Driving Studies (NDS). With the help of the platform, highly automated driving functions can then be assessed with regard to their functionality both during development and, for example, during a later general inspection. A special feature here is, that the scenarios presented should also be assessed with regard to their (objective) criticality and their representativeness for other regions / countries.

My field of application now lies primarily in the representativeness check. Together with the traffic accident research at the TU Dresden we want to develop a methodology with which we can determine the validity of the platform / the scenario catalogue for other areas and countries – a not trivial undertaking, since in the platform samples / data from most different surveys are brought together.

“Fantasy and reality do not catch up.” (Manfred Hinrich, german philosopher)

Before my first day at the Chair of Automotive Engineering (LKT), I often thought about what my future activities would look like, what I could expect and how much I would like to work at the LKT.

After two weeks I can now say:

My fantasies and reality don’t match – and that’s a good thing!
Even though my ideas were already extremely positive, I am all the more pleased to have been received so warmly and to be given the opportunity from day one to immerse myself in completely new and exciting areas!
Since the beginning of October, I have been working on finally getting to know object-oriented programming (C++) and to penetrate the infinite depths of GitHub.
What I could never have imagined during my studies – to program myself one day – has now become reality.

Even though I still have a lot of respect for the new tasks and challenges as well as fight with one or the other line of code much longer than planned, I am looking forward to the next weeks.

So that fantasy and reality may never catch up 🙂

A blog for everything that matters for me

Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about which topic I want to dedicate my blog to, and I haven’t come to any conclusions. Because there are simply too many areas I would like to tell you about here: Be it interesting newspaper articles or books, insights in everyday life or professional challenges – I would like to record them all here in this blog.

Since I’m still very inexperienced at blogging, I’ll need a little time to find my own style in the beginning. But I’m quite confident, because what they say: Practice makes perfect!