The SHOW project is unique in many ways, one of them being our 70-strong consortium. Our SHOW partners come from every corner of the transport sector across the EU, each bringing their own strengths and knowledge to the table. Safe to say we want you to meet them!
Next up is CDV, the Transport Research Centre in the Czech Republic. We spoke to Marek Vanžura, Head of Autonomous Driving Department.
Can you tell us a bit more about your role in the SHOW project?
In the SHOW project, I function as the demo site leader for the Brno satellite site in the Czech Republic. My responsibilities include leading my team to accomplish the promised outcomes of our grant agreement, and coordinate and communicate with all involved local partners, the consortium and relevant stakeholders. It is a complex set of activities, but I am lucky enough to work with tremendously dedicated and capable individuals I can trust and rely on. There is a huge excitement and motivation in all of us, because automated vehicles have never been deployed on the roads in the Czech Republic before. What we do in the SHOW project is a trailblazing activity that is bringing automated mobility to the Czech people for the first time.
How do you see the role of automation in advancing sustainable mobility/how can automated vehicles contribute to more sustainable mobility?
Automated vehicles are sometimes seen as a silver bullet that will single-handedly solve every problem of transportation. There are undoubtedly areas that will be positively impacted by automation and automated vehicles, but there are plenty of social and ethical determinants that need to be researched and developed alongside the advancement of automated technologies. One predominant factor is trust. It is not possible to introduce sustainable mobility built on automated vehicles without first making sure that people as users of this technology have trust towards it. The first role of automation is to prove to people that it can truly improve their lives. I believe that automation has the potential to advance the safety and comfort of mobility while simultaneously being more sustainable, but it has to be done in the right way. Finding this right way is one of the primary objectives of the SHOW project.
Why do you consider a project/collaboration such as SHOW (and your participation in it) important for the sector?
The future of sustainable mobility that involves automated vehicles requires very close cooperation between as many stakeholders as possible. This is not something that could be achieved just by one company or one organization alone. Diversity is the key. Sustainable mobility needs to be inclusive at all levels. The SHOW project does exactly that – it is bringing and supporting diversity in many forms. There are countries from all around Europe involved, private companies collaborating with the public sector, and research institutions working together with municipalities and transport operators. Furthermore, approaches and aims and cultural, racial, and gender perspectives are diversified as well. This mutual intertwining is absolutely crucial and necessary for meaningful, sustainable, and safe deployment of automated technologies into our everyday lives.
In what aspect do you expect SHOW to have the biggest impact?
In the case of our site, the impact of the SHOW project is hard to overstate. Just the fact that the SHOW project will allow the general public in our country to experience automated vehicles for the first time is inherently valuable and cannot be appreciated enough. Providing a first-hand experience with these cutting-edge technologies has a significant educational value. The increasing power of media, wide-spread circulation of fake news and biased marketing campaigns can easily deceive people about the real capabilities of automated technologies. There is, therefore, a significant public benefit to experiencing these technologies first-hand.