Top representatives from LADOT, Siemens and AWS (Amazon Web Services) have addressed CES, taking place in Las Vegas this week (January 6-10), to highlight ways in which different sectors can work together to create more effective and efficient transportation solutions.
One of the key themes that emerged was the smarter use of data. Not just in terms of making data open and connecting various transport nodes, but also in terms of having a proper focus for how data is used.
“Big data and smart cities are not simply about connecting everything with everything else, we have to know what problems are that we want to solve,” said Marcus Welz (above), CEO of Siemens Mobility ITS in North America. “This is why we built what we call our Digital Lab. Our ambition is to bring state-of-the-art artificial intelligence into transportation. Our team is composed of dozens of data scientists, data analysts, and software developers who are building the cloud-based architecture which can be integrated with existing infrastructure.”
Seleta Reynolds (below), general manager of LADOT, was keen that such AI advances should be used for the good of entire communities: “We want to continue to build physical infrastructure, but we also want to build digital infrastructure. We want to use it to help people manage their mobility and to connect them to opportunity.”
Hardik Bhatt, smart cities vertical leader for Amazon Web Services was also keen to focus minds on specific targets. “When we think about mobility and the use of data and AI, it always goes back to solving a customer’s problem. A customer can be a state or city, but most importantly it is the user of the mobility services.”
“One of the examples of good use of data is where we have built a mechanism to identify near misses – a very important KPI for traffic operators, to help them make roads safer,” continued Welz. “We can also use data for simulation to actually predict and prevent congestion. And we enable the cities to simulate the impact of mitigation strategies before they are put into operation.”
“We need to start connecting the dots,” continued Bhatt (above left). “because when it comes to seamless mobility, you have multiple players generating multiple types of data, you need to make sure that you’re connecting them. And for the driver, it really doesn’t matter where the data comes from. They just want to get from point A to point B. So, we are seeing a lot of stakeholders coming together, building a data lake and building machine learning and AI algorithms using multi-jurisdictional data.”
Reynolds concluded with some inspiring words: “In mobility and transportation a lot of the return on investment is indirect, because it’s about allowing people to have real economic mobility and pull their families out of poverty, or to keep their families from falling into poverty – it helps our citizens to achieve their dreams.”