PAV Webinar: Lessons learnt, barriers and the future of mobility

19 December 2022 - Published by Sophie Rasbash

Project partner CLEAN held a webinar on the 24th of November that gathered all the pilot cities of the PAV project to share their insights on barriers encountered, lessons learnt, and thoughts and reflections. Hosted and moderated by CLEAN, the event had the contribution from Jayne Golding (Hitrans), Eduard Röntgen & Jan-jaap de Vlieger (Almere), Tanja Goebler & Lukas Arndt (Hannover), and Max Wehlin (Varberg) who presented their pilots projects of autonomous vehicles and the outcomes.

One common learning was that the infrastructure for maintenance and cleaning must be close to the route to be efficient and helpful in needed situations. For instance, in Inverness as it was an electric vehicle, it needed to be charged and finding the perfect location in the Campus was possible due to the great understanding between parties.

Adapting the surrounding environment for the AVs needs is also a crucial step, another case from the pilots was adding new elements such as billboards so the vehicle can recognise where it is or even removing elements that could cause potential issues like bushes. Those efforts strengthen the interaction and relationship between the vehicle and the surroundings.

Another type of relationship that needs to be built up is the relationship between partners and all the stakeholders involved. Having catch up meetings so everyone is on the same page and a good collaboration between city planners, media, general public, users, local communication agencies like in the Inverness pilot that helped with the graphic content as they are professionals in the area. All the pilots concur that communication is a key element to make people understand the project, as a result they can change their position from skepticism to acceptance.

One of the barriers found is that there were no operators for this type of vehicle (as they still need an operator by law for security reasons), as it is a new technology, however with a proper training they were able to solve the different issues that may had appeared. Some of the issues that needed to be solved were the number of emergency stops. These emergency stops were due to the sensors being too sensitive to other external elements such as cars passing by, cyclists and even were stopped by leaves or sand which was tricky taking into account the conditions of the terrain.

In the future, there is a need for a bigger capacity for the vehicles so they can be at the same level as regular public transport. With more pilot projects as seen in PAV, technology will get better, and legislation and policies will allow a faster speed and no necessity for operators. Some other pilots will continue developing to new places and regions and others will extend the service with other uses such as registration before getting to destination. Overall, it can be seen that Autonomous Vehicles are here developing for the future.