In the world of transportation projects, we were hoping to be able to talk about the success and prosperity to London and the rest of the UK that Crossrail had promised off the back of its December 2018 launch, but we all know how that has turned out.
Though the project remains incredibly ambitious, with continuous delays and an expected opening of 2021 or even beyond, we’ll instead, look at some transportation projects making real progress this year.
The mass deployment of autonomous vehicles (AV’s)
As each year passes, we inch closer and closer to a fully autonomous automotive world as significant progress has been made in 2019 already, with plenty more to be made in the next 6 months alone.
As things are today, the Netherlands stands as the global leader in autonomous technology, using the technology to improve transportation along the ‘Tulip Highway’, using a fleet of self-driving trucks.
The technology is being used in larger vehicles much more prominently than cars, as they can be linked and told to stay in the slow lane together, making the journey significantly more safe and simple for the tech to operate.
Singapore has been ranked as the second-best place in the world for the advancement of AV’s as the government has already built a custom made town where the technology can be thoroughly tested, while a fleet of self-driving buses is being launched in 2020. Furthermore, an entire branch of the government has been set up to deal with the complete implementation of the technology.
When it comes to the UK, Sarah Owen-Vandersluis, Head of Public Mobility Strategy for KMPG UK said, ‘In both the public and private sectors, the pace and scale of activity is rapidly increasing. New Initiatives and collaborations and beginning to identify benefits like improved accessibility, productivity, safety and economic growth, and prove the commerciality of new business models.’
The rollout of 5G
Most people would assume that 5G is being rolled out across the UK to simply increase the speed of which data can be transferred to a mobile phone, making internet access significantly faster, however, the technology is also critical for AV technology to work, as a strong connection to a network is an important aspect of self-driving tech. That being said, as the news has reported recently, Huawei is being halted with their plans to roll out network infrastructure due to security concerns, something which will delay the process of full coverage in the UK. That hasn’t stopped the likes of EE from launching their own 5G network though, with others soon to follow. This means that the UK will have a major part of the infrastructure in place for thousands of AV’s to take to the road.
Flying cars and hydrogen-powered buses
The two other ambitious projects which are worth a mention, is the launch of the UK’s first hydrogen-powered bus and the continued development of eVTOL (electric vehicle take-off and landing) technology. Though this may still be a few years from being adopted by the mass market, check out some of the content shared this year by clicking the links below.