Cars and Cities on Speaking Terms

Season 1 Episode 5
November 25, 2022

Episode Summary

Point B co-host Michael Kara is joined by the 1st Vice Chair of the City of Gothenburg Transport Board, Hans Arby to discuss the importance of getting connected cars on speaking terms with cities and the role of data in the impending technological transportation transformation.

Key Highlights

1:55 What does an intelligent city look like?

3:05 Ideating the city of the future and the role of vehicle data

4:03 Using data from e-scooters as a base for expanding data use

5:30 The next level of intelligent management of data

7:07 Clean air zone and congestion charges explained

8:37 How urban mobility business models are changing

10:26 Logistical and technical challenges of car sharing

12:23 Working together to create the cities of the future

Meet Our Guests

Hans Arby
Hans Arby

Hans Arby is a senior researcher at RISE (Research Institute of Sweden) and adviser for public and private mobility actors, focusing on business model and ecosystem innovation and governance. He is 1st Vice Chair of the City of Gothenburg Transport Board. He founded UbiGo which launched one of the first commercial, subscription-based MaaS (Mobility as a Service) operations in Stockholm. He has close to 20 years of experience within sustainable transport, ITS and has been providing strategic support to cities in developing transport strategies and long-term planning and marketing of public transport. He has an MSc in electrical engineering from Chalmers university and has been working with business development, marketing and sales in different high-tech industries before entering the mobility industry.


- [Narrator] Welcome back to another episode of "Point B", a Sibros podcast where we interview industry experts about the latest innovations and trends in automotive technology and the connected vehicle industry. Tune in to learn about topics ranging from the next generation of electric vehicles to advances in connectivity and micro mobility.

- Hello. My name is Michael Kara. I'm the technical solutions manager here at Sibros, and introducing our "Point B" podcast today. I have a special guest. He has over 30 years of tech experience including an engineering background, and is the founder of UbiGo Innovations AB. Let me have the honor of introducing first vice chair of the City of Gothenburg Transportation Board and senior researcher at RISE, Hans Arby. Nice to meet you, Hans. How are you today?

- I'm fine, thank you. Thank you for having me here.

- Could you speak a little bit about your experiences, and maybe give us an opportunity to learn a little bit more about you?

- Yeah. I'm been trying to cover all sides of mobility. So I will be working for city and region about traffic and city planning, city development. Worked as an entrepreneur with UbiGo. That was one of the mobility as a service pioneers. Now I also work as a researcher at RISE, which is the Research Institute of Sweden. We're about 3,000 employees, covering all the way from mobility to energy, housing, chemical and so on. So it's a big national research institute, where I still working with mobility. Since two years ago, I'm also a part-time politician in Gothenburg, also working with mobility from that side.

- So your vested interest is to start building the city of the future. It seems like we hear a lot of terms about intelligent cities and things like that. What does that mean to our listeners today?

- Yeah, well, I mean, you talk about smart cities, intelligent cities is a overused term. That could mean, maybe, everything, but I think when we talk about intelligent city, we need to start talking about how we want our cities to look like and the challenges we have there, and then see what kind of intelligence we need to make this happen. So we want cities to be more livable, safe to move as a pedestrian biker, passenger, driver, attractive public spaces and so on. We have problems with congestion, emission, we have limited public space that we need to share as good as possible. We have safety issue. And if you look at big cities, there are no space for new infrastructure. We can't build any more infrastructure. It's all about trying to utilize that space in the best way for everybody.

- So we're still in the ideation stage of looking at what the city of the future is.

- Yeah. So I mean, And there's a lot of pilots going on. We talk about cars and cities on speaking terms. So it goes both ways. There's a lot of data in modern cars that we, as a city, could have very good use of. I mean, that's everything from the traffic flow, we can see if it's slippery roads so we can send out warnings and everything. So I mean, the cars are really probes out in the reality, that data we need to access. Then, of course, we also have data that the city should communicate to the cars and the drivers with the regulation, with speeds, accessibility. If we could have more dynamic congestion charging, we can set the fees and so on.

- Can you speak to some of the additional data points that, say, would be exchanged between vehicles as well as the city infrastructure?

- Yeah. Yeah. I think a very good example that we've seen the last few years is e-scooters, because an e-scooter, it's 50% software almost. I mean, they are working as probes out in the reality, and it's also possible to guide the driver, where he is allowed to park, where he's allowed to drive, the maximum speeds and so on. So I think that e-scooters gives us a glimpse what you could actually do if you had cars talking to the city and sharing data, and also getting data back. So let's say, I mean, we, If we start with, Maybe we should start with commercial vehicles used for traffic management for instance. Then we could have, We want the vehicles to share all the experiences that the vehicle and driver has. So it could be the flow, it could be congestion, different disturbances, travel time. We could have the road conditions, if it's slippery road for instance, air quality, detecting unprotected road users, and everything that if you are a traffic manager in traffic management central somewhere, that you really get a good understanding how things are looking outside, and be prepared to do different actions.

- And it sounds to me that you're looking to take this to the next level, to where more intelligent management can be done to provide a safer, more efficient route through cities.

- If you can make it safe and it's on aggregated level and you protect personal data, I think that all the cars, at some point, will be able to share what's going out outside. So I think one thing, as I said, is that the traffic management to control the flow, being able to send out warnings and so on to cars, mainly managing speed, access to lanes and so on. But then you also have the other dimensions. You can look at, If you talk about mobility management for instance, that you learn from data, do we need to change some of the regulation maybe? Should we open up a lane or close a lane? All those things that are more on a weekly or monthly or yearly base, that you can change the regulation, what you're allowed to do, speeds and so on in the city. And the third level would be also for city planning. So you know where do we need to add or adapt infrastructure, can we remove infrastructure, and so on.

- On a recent trip to Europe, I was shocked to see a couple of fees that were implemented for things like congestion and for clean air zones, which is a new concept, I think, for Americans. Can you speak a little bit more about what those initiatives are and how they work?

- In Gothenburg, Stockholm, London, you have congestions charging, which is a dump charging. That means that you still have different fees, different levels on different time of the day. So you pay more if you're using peak hours. But they are based on looking at the registration numbers, and you get the fees afterwards. In Brussels they are now starting tests with a more intelligent and dynamic road charging. So it depends on where, when and what car you are driving how much you're gonna pay per kilometer. And that today will be used based on a app on your phone. But of course that should be part of the car as well. So that's one thing of really steering people so you actually pay because space is also a limited resource, and you should set a price on that one so you get the better use of the roads. Another part is also done with the low emission zones. Somewhere you more or less are allowed to just drive electrical vehicles we're starting to see, but the big ones, in some cities, they're looking at Paris and so on, that you should pay more fees the further in and the more strict the emission zone is. And, of course, that would be also much better, if the cars could actually talk to the city.

- Do you see any dramatic changes on the horizon of business models that we can expect to see in the future when we talk about some of this intelligence that's going from vehicle to infrastructure and back?

- I think we'll see more sharing of cars because if you look at the electrical vehicle, that's a high investment but quite low running cost. It makes sense to use those car more. A typical car today is parked 95, 96% of the time, so we should use them more, especially, if they're electrical. And also we will save on space. Today, typical private cars has, actually, access to about three parking spaces, if you look in total. But that also means that you would have, maybe, fewer car that are used much more. That also means that they will have a much shorter turnaround and more quicker updates. We might have a much more updated vehicle fleet, which also good because then you will have the new technology, would have the upgrades. Cars will be more intelligent, also, if we'll share. So I think sharing is one important part. And then, of course, we also will see, at some point, self-driving cars more, and that also will need a lot of data and communication between the cars and other cars and the city. And, hopefully, also these self-driving cars will be shared because if everybody's owning their own self-driving car, we'll actually get more congestion because every car will go leave their owner, and then go and park, and then go and pick up.

- Well I think there's additional challenges when it comes to that car sharing model as well, that go far beyond just the vehicle and the manufacturer themselves. That likely is the legal aspects and the insurance aspects which, I think, still needs a little bit of definition before we would see that opportunity scale.

- I think that, I mean, you can say that technology's easy now. There's a lot of, There's a lot of challenges when it comes to technology with the network coverage standardization, how and where should the data go. So there's a lot of challenges. But when you look at business model and legal aspects, it's also a big challenge. What is interesting that you can, at least in some European countries, you can sign up for insurance today, and you pay depending on how you drive. So you have a small computer that you're add into your car, and that measures how you drive, how hard you hit the brake, and so on. And you pay your insurance depending on how you drive the car. And that is something you can do today. But that's voluntary. So there are models, and we will see more of those, I think.

- And I think we'll start seeing that being more integrated in vehicles as the vehicles start to collect that information, and how that data sharing will occur.

- Absolutely. I mean, even though in OEM's own car-sharing services, they add on new telematics instead of using their own. So, of course, you should have that. Should be just the programming, how the car, Is it the shared car or not and so on. So absolutely.

- Hans, so I'm curious. If you had a message that you wanted to share with our viewers, and summarize some of the things that we've discussed today, what would you share with them?

- I would say that from looking from a city's perspective, we know that we need to be, so say, more agile, more data-driven when it comes to, As a city. How we develop and manage the city. So we need help to get that data so we understand what's happening, and how we should build and change regulations so on, and manage traffic based on that one. So we need that data in. But we also need help, in a way, to make sure that the regulation we have are used and followed, and if we wanna create incentives, we need, so say, the channels to do that. I mean, we need the cars and city be on a speaking terms, both the cars and the city, but also the manufacturers and the city, as an organization and politician to talk to each other because we have a very good chance to have much, much better match between the cars and cities. Today, you can say you have a conflict with cars and city, but it could be much, much more better co-operation in between. We need the cars also in the cities, but they need to be there, so say, on the city's and the citizens' terms. And that is something we can do if we share data to get the data into manage the cities better, but also talking to the vehicles and the drivers.

- Well, thank you, Hans. It's been a pleasure speaking with you today about the future of the cities and how vehicles and drivers can all come together to create a harmonious vision of the future.

- And thank you for having me. It was great. Thank you very much.

- [Narrator] Thank you for tuning in to "Point B". Join us next time for more auto tech innovations and trends. "Point B" is brought to you by Sibros.