during their exploration of AV technology. • Rider experience: Thanks to networked systems, AVs can supply real-time data through an app or kiosk to respond to rider requests and help riders plan their journeys. • Safety: Those same networked systems introduce multiple layers of safety, with vehicles constantly communicating with the system and humans con- stantly keeping a watchful eye on overall operations. • Accessibility: For people using wheelchairs and other assistive devices, accessibility standards are a main consideration in AV design. Shifting mining to a safer, more sustainable future Mining companies have recently taken up the charge of making the industry more sustainable, committing to greenhouse-gas-emission benchmarking and ultimately reaching net-zero operations. Histori- cally a dangerous profession, the industry is also focused on better protecting workers and becoming safer, adopting a “vision zero” ap- proach. AV and electrification technology will play an important role in realizing these ambitions. Automation can also level the playing field, allowing smaller companies to compete more effectively against established operators. We recently worked with a local university to research the potential of adding EV/AV haulers to an 80-mile stretch of a confidential client’s operations. There is a lot to consider, from technology selection to route planning and operational and capital cost analysis. In establish- ing a potential path forward, it’s important to build a roadmap around different options to consider how automation might best realize goals in mind. Mining companies have a long history of adopting new technologies; the path here will lie in starting with simple applications and building on that experience to inform the uses of advanced ones. In our estima- tion, the industry has the potential to become a global leader in using autonomy to promote productivity and safety. Building our AV future together Working with clients in all of these areas has taught us not to think of autonomy as a particular technology, but to treat it as a powerful tool for rethinking and rebuilding entire fields. With a problem to solve and the vision for a solution, we can build the roadmaps that lay out the deployment of AV technologies that fundamentally change – and improve – countless facets of our communities. With the right planning and guidance, communities, companies, and businesses can realize an autonomous future with big gains in effi- ciency, safety, and sustainability.
As technology evolves, and the needs and expectations of the travel- ing public change, aviation regulatory agencies are exploring myriad ways of enhancing the safety, security, and health of the general public. From airside to landside to terminal, possibilities include security, in- specting, cleaning, and clearing snow off runways. AVs can play a key role in foreign-object detection (a critical concern), guiding aircraft tugs and fuel trucks, wayfinding, dispensing passenger info, operating shuttle services, managing parking, and even operating self-driving wheelchairs. All of this needs to be completed in a fashion that bal- ances technological integration with the personal elements of change. Delivering the goods in urban areas Short-run delivery in congested settings had established a small foot- hold before the pandemic. Autonomous cars play a role here, but so do sidewalk robots, indoor delivery bots, and even drones—which are coming: New federal regulations, set to take effect in March 2021, re- lax operating restrictions in ways that will make it easier to use drones for deliveries. The pandemic turbocharged demand: the shutdowns in spring 2020 had everyone asking for the lower-risk, hands-free deliv- eries that autonomy can provide, spurring pilot projects in hospitals, hotels, and campuses. That demand will likely stick around in a post- pandemic world. Nuro and Starship, leading AV manufacturers, have moved aggressively to test and market these solutions with restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacies, online retailers, and food services like Postmates. Consultants McKinsey & Co. value the last-mile delivery market at US$86 billion—and project strong growth. Creating connections in campus environments Whether university, hospital, or business park, most campuses offer transportation services to move people more quickly than walking and more efficiently than driving (never mind parking). These dedi- cated services have traditionally taken the form of passenger shuttles, golf carts, and even micromobility. Locations like the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi have begun de- ploying autonomous vehicles, which function especially well in these less-congested, low-speed settings. Benefits AVs can bring to these settings include: • Sustainability: AV shuttles can help create a mobility network of shared and emission-free transportation on campuses. We helped Arizona State Uni- versity create a concept plan for an electric, accessible multimodal service
JONATHAN GARRETT and KATIE CLOTHIER are product developers with Stantec GenerationAV™. GRAYSON BRULTE is Stantec GenerationAV™’s Innovation Strategist.
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