- Global engineering and infrastructure giant AECOM and partner organizations in the Capri Consortium are developing pods on-demand (or PODs) as part of a U.K. driverless vehicle pilot project, according to Curbed.
- The consortium — consisting of 20 groups in the private, public and academic sectors — secured a $5.37 million grant from Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected & Autonomous Vehicles to create the shared shuttle vehicles that will ultimately be tested on roads at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
- AECOM said the pilot could be the first step toward the use of autonomous and connected vehicles in hospitals, airports, shopping areas, business parks and tourist centers. The Capri Consortium aims to create a technology-as-a-service model as well as standards for its use.
Driverless vehicles have significant implications for the transportation and infrastructure sectors, and AECOM is getting in front of the action. The new U.S. transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, has cited driverless technology as a key trend she is watching in terms of new developments and their safety implications.
Connected, driverless vehicle technology is also a significant part of the growing smart city discussion. For example, Sidewalk Labs, a division of Google's parent company Alphabet Inc., announced its plans last year to get into the smart city business, as it was looking for large, developable urban areas to test its technology. Later in 2016, Sidewalk Labs announced that it had selected 16 cities around the U.S. as mini-labs where it would provide upgrades to help them prepare for future smart-city features, such as driverless cars.
Similar to the Capri Consortium's goals to create a model for driverless technology, officials with the Gramercy District smart city project — which AECOM Tishman is helping to build — in Ashburn, VA, aim to create a "smart city in a box" model that can be easily rolled out in other locations. When it's completed in 2019, the district will allow residents to use smartphones and other devices to interact with the city.