Looking to tech-enabled futuristic iCar, says Technopark firm

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on November 27, 2014 Published on November 27, 2014

A concept now becoming popular in Europe and North America is car-sharing. You don’t drive your own car but you can still use one for much less by sharing it. Free-floating car-sharing is the name of the concept.

If one were to upgrade from an iPhone or iMac to a futuristic iCar, we would like to be there with the enabling technology.

This is the vision that drives Technopark-based ARS Traffic and Transport Technology (ARS T&TT), says Jan Linssen, Chief Executive Officer.

Driving economics

“We have a strong belief that technology will allow us to use assets such as vehicles in a more economical manner,” Linssen told BusinessLine.

A concept now becoming popular in Europe and North America is car-sharing. Instead of driving a personal car, people share a car.

“You don’t drive your own car but you can still use one for much less by sharing it. Downscale it to a single street where people can share one or two cars, that is something we want to support but it needs lots of technology,” Linssen said.

A car owner requires identification; you want to ensure that somebody driving your car has correct credentials and a valid driving license.

A car-sharing organisation permits only known members to make a reservation for a car. Once their reservation is acknowledged, members can unlock and lock with their membership cards.

Free floater

Also, you don’t like to be woken up in the dead of the night because somebody wants to collect the keys. So, manual handing over of the keys is to be avoided; instead the driver will find the keys inside the car.

Many organisations want their cars to be brought back to the same location from where it was picked up.

Or rather, one can simply leave the vehicle at the destination to be picked up by another user. Free-floating car-sharing is the name of the concept.

And if something goes wrong on the way and necessitates a replacement car or in case it needs repairs midway, the GPS (Global Positioning System) technology comes to the rescue.

According to Linssen, there’s also a strong movement towards autonomous driving.

You won't need to drive any more. IT will allow the headway between cars to become smaller and as a result more cars fit on the road. However, this requires cars to become much smarter and able to communicate with one another.

People movers

“Recently I spoke to Honda. In 20 years, they do not see themselves in the process of building individual cars. Instead, they will build autonomous people movers. There can be two-people movers, four-people movers, even specific types of buses.”

According to Linssen, it will be far more efficient if there is a continuous stream of cars and one can step into one and join others to be driven where one wants to go.

“So you don’t have either large empty buses on the street or the over-crowded ones. There will be a better balance between supply and demand,” Linssen said.

ARS T&TT wants to introduce technology gradually and in a friendly manner so that people absorb it and ask for more.

“In the beginning, you may perhaps have to push it, but there will come a moment when people start demanding it,” he added.

Published on November 27, 2014

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