Mobility and infrastructure challenges
“ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab specialises in smart mobility and infrastructure. Our mission is to work with cities on the preparation of innovative mobility solutions that will deliver high value added not only to inhabitants, but to all “stakeholders” in cities. With this in mind, we put a lot of time and effort into envisaging how to maximise the use of vehicles in order to minimise the idle time they are parked and blocking the streets. We are interested in new mobility-on-demand business models where mobility relies on the use of passenger cars with varying types of ownership (for instance, the HoppyGo project, enabling owners to hire out their cars when they are not using them themselves, and the use of new shared-economy opportunities, such as car-sharing, including new last-mile mobility solutions). We are developing new services that will not only get inhabitants around, but also enhance comfort and convenience. For example, the smart parking service will soon result in the interaction of multiple interesting technologies,” says Edlman. According to him, artificial intelligence can already predict which parking spaces will be available at what times by drawing on data from “connected” vehicles, from mobile operators, and from other data sources. “You need to bear in mind that, the way drivers see it, their destination is a parking space, not the actual place of their meeting. What we want to do in the future, then, is offer drivers a service telling them, as they approach the destination, that parking spaces are available a couple of streets away. Drivers won’t have to spend ages cruising around in search of an elusive space. Instead, the predictive system will not only find a space, but also enable them pay the parking fee at the same time,” states Edlman, offering an example of how the system could be used in practice.
Data gathered from the roads can also be used to assess where people are travelling from and where to, and plan the infrastructure, public transportation and even the land-use plan accordingly. “Data-sharing is important for public authorities, too. A centralised state data repository would be ideal. Something similar to the National Traffic Information Centre we already have in the Czech Republic. Government and private entities would be able to find the data they need in a single place, and regions and the cities would also be required to enter relevant data,” says Edlman. “For example, a new car park would be denied an operating permit if it could not provide real-time data on parking space occupancy,” he adds.
Another aspect here is the possibility of paying for or extending your parking time from the comfort of your vehicle. And then there’s car-sharing. If car owners do not need to use their vehicle at any particular time, it is better for someone else to make use of it rather than having it taking up a parking space.