DIGITAL TEST FIELD FOR CONNECTED MOBILITY
Auto Tech Review|February 2020
In order to pave the way for future mobility, the development and testing of automation as well as the connection of all road users is necessary. With the Aldenhoven Testing Center, RWTH Aachen University and Vodafone have set up a mobility test field equipped with all relevant communication technologies and a variety of track elements.

OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

Today, digital transformation is already opening up undreamt-of potential across all industries. From smart and safe cities to industry 4.0, digital commerce and eHealth to fully automated mobility. Whether cities, companies or everyday life – hardly any area is not affected by the conversion of analogue into digital and thus highly automatable formats. If the challenges of digitisation can be mastered, then there are enormous opportunities for opening up new business models and value creation opportunities. Safety and comfort are improved, the environment and resources are conserved.

In addition to the increasingly powerful digital systems, the required solutions are made possible in particular by an increasingly high-performance mobile networking of all components in an ecosystem, and the different ecosystems among each other, as can be seen particularly well from the example of mobility.

Here, the rapidly progressing automation offers numerous opportunities, but also challenges. Traffic can become safer – in mixed traffic – if traffic situations are safely controlled by automated or autonomous systems. The same applies to traffic efficiency, which means the increase in traffic throughput. Due to their high complexity, inner-city areas place the greatest demands on technology. In addition to the technical challenges, acceptance plays a key role in the successful introduction of the new mobility services. There is public debate on this issue currently. When accidents occur with prototype vehicles, this has a negative connotation. Tests in public transport therefore have a direct influence on the perceived safety level of automated vehicles.

MOBILITY OF TOMORROW

Mobility enables access to work and education, services and goods, leisure activities and thus participation in social and economic life. It is also an important cornerstone for a country’s overall economic development. The increasing population growth, the desire for individual locomotion, the urban sprawl and the worldwide increase in economic output have led to a significant increase in motorised individual and freight traffic in recent years. This development results in local and regional congestion of the transport network, increased accident risks, noise and pollutant emissions as well as a growing need for space in the transport infrastructure. At the same time, the economic and health damage caused by standing in traffic jams increases significantly, as the driving time cannot be used sensibly at present and the driver is put into a stressful situation.

Technological innovations in the fields of alternative drives, digitisation, and connectivity as well as automated driving represent central solutions for addressing the problems mentioned above. These technological developments are also resulting in new service offerings such as mobility-on-demand and mobility-as-a-service, which can also contribute to improving the situation. The resulting changes in mobility behaviour will bring about further changes in many areas. For example, it can be assumed that the time gained in automated vehicles will lead to an increase in onboard mobile media consumption, which will result in corresponding offers. This will also drive technology innovation in other industries.

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