Autonomous driving is more than just a hype. Advancing and more powerful computing power, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and sensors are making autonomous driving a reality.
The progress towards full Level 5 autonomy is gradual. Already today, mid and high range cars use achievements of autonomous driving research, such as radar assisted Adaptive Cruise Control. Leading car manufacturers predict Level 4 autonomy vehicles in the next four years. This will enable full autonomy in geofenced urban areas.
Being aware of forthcoming revolution, leading car manufacturers have included autonomous and connected cars in their strategies. They are building the ecosystems — actively preparing for the revolution, which will convert drivers to passengers and content consumers, changing the way to move and live forever. Besides that, the autonomy revolution will have a huge impact on mobility and transport industry, logistics, and urban planning.
Beside bold visions of car manufacturers, nobody else seems to be well prepared for the mobility revolution, like pedestrians, bike and motorbike rides, drivers, cities, infrastructure, local and national governments, economy … Before autonomous cars will overflow our streets and cities, small scale testing is therefore crucial. Beside technology testing, which can be performed in closed environments, testing in real life environments is essential for the quicker pace of autonomous transport revolution and acceptance by people.
Research and development
Realizing the urgency of real life testing, we have transformed our people and content-rich environment into the ideal testing ground for future urban mobility technologies. A common perception of living lab are scientists in white coats, working on single, industry specific challenges. Our vision of living lab is a cross-industry joint research and development, with more industry specific building blocks.
The habitat of AV Living Lab is BTC City Ljubljana, one of the biggest privately owned test beds in Europe, but certainly most alive. It is one of the largest business, shopping, entertainment, recreational, and cultural centers in Europe, which has been growing and transforming for more than six decades. Our small “city in a city” is a rich environment, with real people, real cars, real roads, and real interactions. It is small enough to be easily controlled and powerful enough to attract more than 21 million visitors every year.
Beside existing rich environment, we are building the AV Living Lab ecosystem, which includes our partners from industries, academia, local and national government, and startups. Such diverse ecosystem enables utilization of many unusual and unpredictable situations and opens the development of new business models and legislation, which will be well-matched with forthcoming transportation revolution.
We have already started our first Blockchain pillar, enabling transformation from a closed platform with limited API possibilities to completely transparent and opened blockchain paradigm. Our AV Living Lab BC platform in stage 1 involves experts from automotive, retail, finance, energy, and ICT industry and we envision first use cases to be presented at the end of April 2018 at TEN-T days. We have observed that same IT people behave, think and act differently, dealing with IT platform vs. blockchain platform. By giving them access to blockchain platform, they transform themselves into cross industry and cross product wunderkinds.