Audi investigates urban mobility

How can we help commuters move more easily through cities? The Audi Urban Future initiative, a project that started in 2010, has seen the carmaker work alongside architects and urban planners to map out feasible solutions for mobility within the future urban environment (see our report here).

The latest phase saw an interactive exhibit displayed at the International CES in Las Vegas earlier this month. The futuristic city model can, in theory, be applied to any large urban space. Audi worked with findings from the City Dossier Boston research project and architect Höweler + Yoon, winner of the 2012 Audi Urban Future Award, on this latest exhibition.

Specifically, the team analysed holdups in the traffic network. Visitors were able to adopt the perspective of three representative types of commuters – the Road Warrior, Straphanger and Reverse Commuter – and experience how technologies can help make their daily commute a little bit more enjoyable.

First up is the Road Warrior who lives in a suburb and commutes to the city centre by car. Here using piloted parking the car is left in front of a garage as the driver starts the process of parking using a smartphone. He then abandons the car and walks to his office as the car parks itself autonomously at a minimum distance to the other vehicles since the driver’s door can now remain closed. This in turn opens up space in the city as cars can theoretically be parked close to one another.

The Straphanger also lives outside the city but commutes using several modes of transport – firstly driving to the train station, parking and changing over to public transport, and finally walking to the office. So maximum comfort and seamless connectivity is key to this commuter. Audi Connect already allows drivers to track bus and train connections in the surrounding area.

The final Reverse Commuter group lives in the city centre and travels to the outskirts for work. On return in the evening parking can prove to be difficult so again piloted driving was demonstrated as a way of allowing the automobile to navigate the streets on its own.

Read more at the Audi Urban Future initiative blog.

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

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