How can the transport of the future be reinvented to cater to the challenges that lie ahead? Engineers and designers are working on new projects which at times are revolutionary, to change the way we get around.
Transports du futur - Crédits : vokduy - Thinkstock
An autonomous vehicle is an automotive vehicle capable of travelling on an open road without any intervention from a driver. So what’s its secret? An array of digital sensors (cameras, radars, sonars, lidars, etc.) whose data is processed by specific software and processors. Thanks to these digital tools, it is possible to generate a 3-dimensional reproduction of the road situation through shape recognition (edges of roads, lanes, obstacles, etc.). Their artificial intelligence algorithms make it possible to decide on the action to take on the vehicle’s controls: steering wheel, accelerator, brakes, etc. Everything is commanded by servos which decide on switching to and from automatic driving mode.
Using cooperative systems is crucial to increase the safety levels of future autonomous vehicles and their full integration into the global transport system,” explains Yves Cohen, business innovation director in the Cities, Roads and Mobilities Business Unit at Egis. “For example, new functions will eventually be able to guide autonomous vehicles through traffic lights and toll booths or transmit alerts to the necessary vehicles whenever circumstances so require (heavy traffic, incidents, roadworks, etc.)
Hyperloop, the innovative project dreamt up by the entrepreneur Elon Musk, is a means of transport consisting of propelling a magnetically-levitated shuttle through a very low-pressure tube. By reducing friction to a minimum, vehicles could reach a speed of 1,200 km/h.
The concept appears to come straight from a science fiction film and yet it could become reality in the next few years.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) has already selected Egis for the detailed design of the prototype tube to be built in 2018 at Francazal airport near Toulouse. This French site was chosen by HTT for the installation of its world test site comprising two infrastructure prototypes and a 3,000-sqm research centre. Our teams were asked to produce a detailed design study of the one-kilometre elevated tube and to supply project management consultancy services. Discussions are underway to study other longer-term forms of collaboration.
For Egis, this ambitious project constitutes a serious opportunity to rub shoulders with a world where working methods are different, where new technology might emerge and also to map out tomorrow’s travel patterns. Ready for take-off!