EMEA: Link & Go autonomous city car
AKKA Technologies focuses on the automotive and aerospace sectors in Germany and France, employing close to 11,000 engineers and consultants in more than 20 countries. MBtech, a member of AKKA Group, provides engineering and consulting services focusing on the mobility industry, automotive industry, rail transport and aerospace. Together they have developed a concept for an autonomous city car called Link & Go.
Link & Go is a concept for smart cities and OEMs to consider, it is not intended to be a vehicle developed by AKKA/MBtech. It is intended as a thought-provoking example of how things could be in the autonomous driving future. The goal of this concept is to enable car sharing and car pooling through social media channels. A car that is easy to access and supports both manual and autonomous electric vehicle driving scenarios in order to reduce emissions and make in-city traffic flow more fluidly.
The seating allows for a traditional vehicle arrangement as well as that of a lounge format in which all occupants can face each other while on the move. Interaction with the vehicle is accomplished through gesture recognition, touch and augmented reality. Aircraft fly-by-wire lessons learned are used to enable drive-by-wire technology in this concept. The following video shows the Link & Go on the move. Even if you don’t speak French, it’s worth a watch until the end to see the little car in motion.
In my discussion with AKKA, they offered that the true challenge with autonomous cars is not the “autonomous driving” part, that is just technology. The challenge is how the car integrates with the overall mobility expectations of society: How and when you use it; how it integrates with your other services and personal data; how you control (or drive) it – voice, touch, etc. There’s a great deal of emotion related to cars and driving today and this comes from the OEMs. If we have one-size-fits-all vehicles, what happens to this experience?
I believe there will be many steps along the path to autonomous driving and many different definitions as to when we’ve reached the end goal. There are efforts underway with OEMs, such as Audi and Volvo, to add autonomous features to existing car models to create semi-autonomous driving. We have the fully autonomous Vision released earlier this year by Mercedes that feels a little bit like a space ship; but wouldn’t it be amazing to have this be your daily drive. With Link & Go there is possibly a solution in the middle for city dwellers who are not interested in owning a car. And of course we have the Google pod, which everyone is now familiar with. In a chat with some industry experts at a conference yesterday I mentioned that every time I saw the Google car I felt like it should be part of a cartoon ride at Disney World as it doesn’t even look like a car. And the response I got really gave me pause to think. One of them said, “that’s because it’s not supposed to be a car. We have an emotional connection to the driving experience and this isn’t intended to offer that.” Maybe this is a better way to set the stage for what autonomous driving is all about? Think about that one a bit more, I think he’s on to something.
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Claudia Bacco, Managing Director – EMEA for RCR Wireless News, has spent her entire career in telecom, IT and security. Having experience as an operator, software and hardware vendor and as a well-known industry analyst, she has many opinions on the market. She’ll be sharing those opinions along with ongoing trend analysis for RCR Wireless News.