Visions of mobility

David akinjise experienced first-hand how fast and merciless technical progress can be. At the beginning of the new millennium, he was employed by nokia, the market leader for cell phones at the time. "When apple introduced its iphone, the development was laughed at in the boardroom." But the laughter soon got stuck in the throats of those in charge. Only a few years later nokia was finished – and apple the top dog.

At present, the founder of "the new now gmbh" also sees a technology shift underway – in mobility.

Families in autonomous cars watching the latest movies while driving; city centers experiencing a miracle as parking lots are transformed into parks; robotic drones delivering parcels; and air cabs for everyone: the visions of future transportation presented at the district’s mobility summit in baunach on thursday evening were literally out of this world. The three speakers’ loud, flashy presentations had the effect of a three-hour brainwash on the 70 or so visitors – somewhere on the borderline between science and science fiction.

That was quite intentional. "It’s not about describing the current mobility today", explained district administrator and host johann kalb (CSU). The approach was to break away from familiar patterns of thought and embrace innovation. Oliver bertram from the vienna-based thinktank wideshot, for example, showed how much free space a city would gain if parking spaces were no longer needed because autonomously driving shared cars were waiting outside the city (a vision we will present in more detail). And akinjise highlighted the moral conflicts that technical innovations bring – from digital facial recognition to artificial intelligence at the steering wheel.

Questions about the opnv in the district

Despite, or perhaps because of, so much theoretical high flying, the questioners from the district quickly brought the ensuing discussion in the baunach burgerhaus back down to earth: "in the intermodal mobility concept, these things that we have heard today, from robotics to autonomous driving, play no role at all.", said thomas ochs of the grunen bamberg-land. Traffic planner markus hammrich from the district office disagreed: autonomous driving is being taken up there, albeit on the sidelines.

The transportation planner himself had a question for the experts. "Will transport networks like the nurnberger still play a role in the future??", hammrich wanted to know. "It’s a question of survival. If public transportation providers open up and integrate into overall digital systems and apps, they have a rough chance of survival.", said bertram. "The key question is: how can we get people to change their mobility behavior?, explained akinjise. For bertram, too, the opnv is an opportunity. "For the burghers, the change is a rough hurdle, made more difficult by the lack of compatibility of the individual services." The viennese received spontaneous applause for his work.

Regional bus station in focus

After questions about data protection in public robotic vehicles, the visitors also took up the demands of the french day, which had arisen in the context of the opnv series. Thomas ochs wanted to know from the district administrator how the regional bus station could proceed. "As soon as we have the opportunity, we could start tomorrow", kalb replied. But the city first has to get the land from the railroad company. "In fact, the ROB is the hub of the entire public transport system."

Comment of the author:

From carl benz and his first single-cylinder two-strokes to the human-crushing machines in "terminator 3," visitors to baunach were caught up in a maelstrom of information and entertainment. The arc was stretched and overstretched – from facial recognition in autonomous cars to chinese social harassment and the tricky question: can I stop at a country lane with my girlfriend in a robot car?? The three-hour presentations were a borderline experience somewhere between "star wars and "knight rider". Impossible to summarize the individual contents in the form of an article seriosly. So it’s all a sham?

No, on the contrary: it was exciting to be regaled with visions of the future. It has shown that it is worthwhile to go beyond the usual models of transport. A county can also be a pioneer, and at the moment it doesn’t need air cabs or spaceships. A regional bus station, that would be something too.

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