AV Living Lab organized exceptionally successful City as a Lab Summit

On Thursday and Friday, 4 and 5 April, 2019, BTC City Ljubljana held the first international and cross-industry event, the City as a Lab Summit 2019: The Birth of Autonomous Marketplace, visited by over 200 guests from 12 countries.

The event was supported by the general sponsors the company BTC and the American company AccuWeather, which is one of the larger providers of weather information, and organised by AV Living Lab, which connects the digital and physical infrastructure of BTC City Ljubljana, and offers companies in different branches of industry an ideal environment for testing future mobility solutions, named City as a Lab.

The main topic of the event was the new opportunities for different industry branches, which are brought by autonomous vehicles and new forms of mobility. The event was also supported by A1 Slovenia, Nomago, IBM, with Lexus as the official mobility partner.

The speakers stressed the importance of autonomous vehicles, which disrupt the market similarly as did smartphones in 2008, and which will strongly influence our lives and different business environments.

They also pointed out the importance of real test environments like BTC City Ljubljana, where automotive industry and other branches can test and improve their solutions in autonomous driving in their developmental phase.

The era of autonomous vehicles does not bring only new technical solutions in the vehicles, but also an entirely new environment for providing services and content, which can be tested and developed only in a living laboratory like BTC City.

As the summit continued they talked about numerous advantages of autonomous vehicles in our lives, since they will considerably improve our safety, comfort and the experience of mobility. A decrease in the number of vehicles in the cities will shorten travel times and save us a lot of time, which we could use for work, rest, entertainment, or shopping through new platforms.


On the first day of the event we heard about different ideas, experiences and challenges from Claus Breitfuss from Magna, Rodrigo Caetano and Ruther Hörndahl from Scania, Ana Bižal from Hella, Fede Ponce from Nissan, Daniel-Emanual Hauptmann from AID (Autonomous Intelligent Driving) owned by the German company Audi, Brett Murray and Andy Grignon from the largest US bank JPMorgan Chase, and Marjan Beltram from Nomago.

Highlights from the speeches of the first day:

“Autonomous vehicles will shorten the commute to work, which will influence the prices of real-estate outside of big cities, bring down the extent of loans related to car purchases, while they will open a completely new consumer environment,” said Brett Murray from JPMorgan Chase, who sees this new era as an opportunity for banks.

“The new mobility means that we will make sure that the customers go from point A to point B. How they will travel is completely irrelevant. In the cities they will probably use a combination of vehicles, from a car to a scooter to a bike,” says Marjan Beltram from Nomago.

“Safety will be a key feature of autonomous vehicles, since it will be regulated. The regulations will have to be loosened a bit, which means somewhat less safe vehicles. Is this acceptable?” asked himself Claus Breitfuss from Magna.

“The key element of autonomous vehicles will be experience, where the manufacturers of lights will also have a stake. With LED lights we can create special ambiences in the car – relaxed, evening, office – to fit the activity and the mood of passengers. The lights can also convey danger warnings,” Ana Bižal from the German company Hella stressed the role of suppliers.

“In the future we will sell capacities, number of seats, not vehicles. The city transportation will be entirely electric and autonomous,” believes Rodrigo Caetano from Scania.

“Autonomous vehicles should be designed and created to fit their users. They must be functional, desirable and environmentally acceptable from the standpoint of construction, not only the drive. We must offer an excellent experience, adapted to individual needs, for example, by playing back the beautiful memories to pensioners,” is the vision of Fede Ponce from Nissan.

“A completely automated or autonomous vehicle is the hardest engineering challenge since we put the man on the Moon. A jump from a partial into fully autonomous driving will be the responsibility of technological companies, not car manufacturers,” says Daniel-Emanuel HauptmannAID (Autonomous Intelligent Driving).

“Autonomous driving has gone to the air, beginning with the zone between 0 and 500 meters. The key significance of autonomous transportation is to give the people more space and time, not to improve productivity,” explained the robotaxi service pop.up designer Massimo Martinotti from Italdesign.

“The advantages of a city serving as a lab, like BTC City Ljubljana, are that car manufacturers and companies from related industries can test their product in different developmental phases. In a real environment they can obtain real results, which the closed testing circuits do not provide,” said Radovan Sernec from AV Living Lab.

“Autonomous vehicles will improve the quality of our life, as they will give us more free time. They will also have a great impact on the environment. In the future, BTC City Ljubljana will decrease the number of parking spaces, replacing them with green areas, and bring BTC City closer to our visitors,” said the Executive Director for Digitalisation and Innovation in BTC, Julij Božič.

“We provide a test centre for car manufacturers, suppliers and other businesses, where they will be able to test different technologies in autonomous vehicles in one place; from sensors to the operation of infotainment system, which the users will use considerably more when the cars take over the driving,” explained the Managing Director of AV Living Lab, Daniel Avdagič.


The second day of the City as a Lab Summit was opened by the European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport, Violeta Bulc. She was followed by the speakers: Stefano Polidori, International Telecommunication Union, David Mitchell, AccuWeather, Janez Križan, A1 Slovenija, Abhishek Shukla, HPE Ventures, Luigi Ksawery Luca from Toyota, Bobi Milošević from Daimler, and Alexander Wolfson from BMW.

The highlights from the second day’s speeches:

“It’s about people, not machines, cars or drones. This is the basic guideline for the future industry leaders and shareholders. In Europe we will fight against monopolies, also the monopolies of telecommunication companies,” said Violeta Bulc, the European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport.

“The era of autonomous vehicles will undoubtedly bring new business opportunities and new scenarios, offering a chance for fast development,” believes Stefano Polidori from International Telecommunication Union.

“How can an accurate weather forecast enhance your life in autonomous vehicles? It will tell you when to get up, when to leave home, so you won’t be late for your meeting. It will describe the road conditions, which route to take, and whether you should go anywhere at all. In order for you to trust it, the autonomous vehicle will have to make the right decisions,” says David Mitchell from AccuWeather.

“I believe that smart cities and autonomous driving technology will bring new business opportunities and new service payment methods,” says Janez Križan from A1 Slovenija.

“Infotainment systems in cars belong to the field of edge computing. We are talking about data, managed by a computer. They make decisions. In 2023 already 73 % of it will come from edge computing. Decisions will be made in milliseconds, for which we will require the 5G network,” says Abhishek Shukla from HPE Ventures.

“We are transforming from an automotive company into a company in the field of mobility. On our way we put our faith in cities, which are becoming our customers and partners,” says Luigi Ksawery Luca’ from Toyota.

“In Daimler we do not believe in a closed system for data access. The data is essential for development of the industry. But technology should be under control,” says Bobi Milošević from Daimler.

“BMW has always been a manufacturer of excellent cars that the customers desired. Today our challenge it to create excellent customers, service users. We can do this only if we offer them excellent services and experience,” says Alexander Wolfson, BMW.

During the last 65 years the company BTC has gone through several transformations – from public warehouses to a living lab, which offers the most advanced Slovene and foreign companies a platform for development and testing of their business ideas. A year ago we recognised the potential of the transformation of mobility, which can be by its significance compared to the advent of smartphones. Therefore, we established the company AV Living Lab, which connected the digital and physical infrastructure of BTC City Ljubljana, and offered it as an ideal test environment for mobility of the future. According to estimates, the mobility industry is going to reach $7,000bn and will transform all aspects of economy.