AV Living Lab and partners established Slovenian autonomous driving ecosystem

Companies BTC, DARS, AMZS, The Automobile Association of Slovenia (AMZS), and AV Living Lab are creating a worldwide unique partner ecosystem. This ecosystem is an integration of diverse types of infrastructure (city within a city, highways, testing and proving ground) within a single unified location, providing multi-industry expertise, as well as Industry 4.0 advantages and potentials. The aim of the partnership is the development of an innovative learning ecosystem as a provider of solutions and technologies for connected autonomous vehicles. Our open model ecosystem is inviting other partners to join it. As a reference green country in digital Europe, Slovenia will replicate the ecosystem also to other EU countries.

The automotive industry is at a crossroads of mastering electrification, autonomous driving, and digitalisation and matching them with corresponding innovative new business models. These challenges are creating a need for holistic and complex ecosystems. The future of automotive industry is not under the full control of car vendors anymore, but is rather under heavy influences by the energy sector, the ICT, the financial industry, and others. Other industry players are entering the automotive solution markets almost uninvited. New players, coming from other industries, believe they have the answers about the future of mobility.

Ministry of infrastructure is supporting development of connected autonomous driving

The Ministry of infrastructure is aware of the immediate future impacts and thus fully endorses and supports the development of autonomous vehicles in Slovenia. The digitalisation and decarbonisation are key aspects of future mobility solutions that will be safe, efficient, environment-friendly, and sustainable. Advances in connected intelligent transportation systems (C-ITS) and e-mobility are the main paths towards solving the transportation congestion issues, changing mobility habits, and lowering vehicle emissions.

We envision autonomous vehicles becoming a mobility inclusion mechanism of the elderly and the handicapped, while partially freeing them of daily reliance to other support personnel.

Dr. Peter Gašperšič, Minister of Infrastructure: 

“The formation of the common Slovenian ecosystem for development of concepts and solutions for connected autonomous driving is truly a pioneer incentive that will bring about major technological and societal changes towards a new transportation and mobility reality. It is of utmost importance that on this path we join forces with industries and research institutions from Slovenia.”

BTC City Ljubljana is enabling development of new business models

Among Slovenian companies, BTC stands out by actively introducing the concept of a living laboratory, called BTC City Living Lab. It is the focal point of innovation energy and acts as a testing and demonstration facility, creating new solutions that will enhance the existing and create new business models. Already in 2017, BTC has tested and demonstrated smart city solutions in the living lab. They are followed by testing concepts and new solutions of autonomous mobility, smart grids, and retail. We will actively seek new business models and solutions in all these diverse fields with partners, start-ups, institutes, and educational institutions from Slovenia and abroad.

Jože Mermal, Chairman of the BTC Management Board:

“We can stay at the forefront of today’s dynamic business world only by relentlessly pursuing a clear vision and boldness in testing the driving, as well as demonstrating innovative solutions. The BTC Company is known for its openness and innovative approach, achieving substantial breakthroughs as a cofounder of ABC Accelerator and ABC Hub that are the key building blocks of smart city BTC City Ljubljana. We are revolutionising the retail world in 2018 by introducing digital platform Eligma, which is an amalgamation of digital and real environments of BTC City Ljubljana. Eligma is based on the blockchain technology and will enable crypto currency payments, too. BTC City Ljubljana turnover of 21 million annual visitors, rich and diverse types of infrastructure, and wide retail offerings result in an ideal ecosystem for the development of future advanced connected mobility solutions. Such projects are pushing the world forward and we are taking on this challenge to enable further economic growth and increase the quality of life for current and future generations.”

Slovenia is not an island in Europe

DARS is managing and maintaining Slovenian highways, infrastructure objects, and intelligent transportation infrastructure. A special care is given to highway drivers, sustainable development, the optimisation of road traffic and road safety. DARS will ensure intelligent infrastructure on parts of the highways for the support of the Slovenian ecosystem and the testing of autonomous driving.

Božidar Volk, Head of Sector for Intelligent Transportation Infrastructure, DARS: 

“We are well aware that Slovenia must not become an island in Europe; therefore, we are actively participating in EU projects. Our project management department has been pursuing the projects of cooperative intelligent systems since 2013. DARS is part of international projects that are developing connected systems and real-time communication and information exchange.”

Autonomous mobility brings new challenges

Autonomous driving with associated advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) will profoundly change our personal mobility and increase road safety. We must face new challenges that such new types of development bring, while we expect the real proliferation of autonomous driving with proactive changes of legislation, adaptation of transportation infrastructure, legal issues of responsibilities after accidents and other issues of personal mobility. The Automobile Association of Slovenia (AMZS) with more than 79,000 members is taking on these challenges also as the premier representative of Slovenian drivers’ interests.

Franc Kmetič, General Secretary of The Automobile Association of Slovenia (AMZS): 

“AMZS has by far the longest tradition and most experience in autonomous driving and ADAS systems in Slovenia. We are closely following the development of car solutions, especially electronics and ADAS systems and their influence on vehicle performance and passenger safety. We are a credible partner in larger international projects, also with other auto associations, where we contribute with research, tests, and scientific publications to the field of autonomous driving, while trying to bring this subject closer to the lay public. AMZS is willing to share and advance this experience within the Slovenian ecosystem for the development of concepts and solutions for autonomous driving, thus maintaining our leadership position to disseminate knowledge and information to the lay public.”

Lucija Sajevec, M. Sc., CEO, AMZS, d. d.: 

“We are proud of our AMZS Centre for safe driving, Vransko, as one of the most advanced such centres in Europe and one that will become part of the Slovenian ecosystem for the development of concepts and solutions for autonomous driving. We will strive further to advance our safe driving programmes for drivers, while developing the centre’s infrastructure and closely following the mobility trends based on our involvement in multinational projects. These will enable the testing of ADAS systems and the training of drivers based on current and future technologies from the autonomous domain. However, people are the most valuable asset for training people and for knowledge dissemination, thus advancing the knowledge and expertise remains our primary objective.”

Autonomous vehicles will become part of our everyday lives

AV Living Lab is managing a globally unique, live learning environment, which is full of everyday interactions, all within the BTC City Ljubljana area. The key objective is the creation of research and development environment to enable the best possible experience with the most advanced, connected driving and autonomous vehicles.

Connected and autonomous vehicles will become part of our everyday lives in the near future. Learning in a real environment with real people and their interactions is the best way to master the new technological knowledge and learn about human – autonomous vehicle interactions, towards humanising and personalised autonomous transportation. Gradual learning of autonomous vehicles and their behaviour within a situation-rich interactive environment is the key aspect to successfully taking on new autonomous modes of transportation.

Daniel Avdagič, CEO of AV Living Lab: 

“Our key objective is the transformation of the future of mobility. AV Living Lab is creating a partner ecosystem for the development of solutions and applications, digitalisation processes, developing new innovative business models and forms of mobility, and foremost seeking solutions about what and how in a driverless future.”

Photo: Studio Bomba for BTC Company