31 January 2017, 1.30 pm at ETH Zurich, Audi Max
Autonomous driving is a topic of increasing importance for society in general and for the transport industry in particular. Semi-autonomous systems are already on the market and fully automated vehicles will most likely drive on our streets in the forthcoming decades. Driverless vehicles are expected to make private travel more convenient and to lower the cost of freight transport. In addition, due to a more efficient mode of operation autonomous cars or trucks are supposed to make transport and mobility more energy efficient and less carbon intensive. However, an unprecedented increase in road traffic volume may easily neutralize potential efficiency gains.
Eleven speakers from industry, academia and public administration covered a wide range of topics: cutting-edge academic research in the field of robotics and control algorithms, product development and user experience in pilot tests, or how the introduction of autonomous driving – and the new Mobility-as-a-Service business associated to it –impacts industry and travel behavior. The conference made clear that the automotive industry, as well as the academic community, are investigating and testing the technology considering evolutionary developments (progressive automatization) and revolutionary development (fully automated vehicles) despite the huge uncertainties still associated with the new technologies. Other challenges identified by the speakers include questions of liability and their consequences for the insurance industry, implications for the logistics business, impacts on public transport or how these insecurities affect governmental institutions that eventually have to regulate autonomous driving. The last section addressed implications for the environment, in particular traffic volume, energy demand and CO2 emissions, and revealed a wide range of potential scenarios. It turned out that the degree to which autonomous driving develops hand in hand with increased car or ride sharing will be crucial for the technology's environmental impacts.
The conference attracted a wide interest with over 250 participants from industry, academia and governmental bodies. The event, which was co-organized by SCCER Mobility, is the forth in a series of public symposia hosted by a consortium of researchers at ETH Zürich, Empa, inspire AG and H2energy.
Presentations and more photos