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Every new Volvo car to have an electric engine by 2019
05 Jul 2017:

Swedish car manufacturer Volvo has announced its plans to become the first traditional automotive company to completely transition from internal combustion engines to electric engines by 2019. 

The announcement came on Wednesday 5 July, and will see all new Volvo cars be either fully electric, plug-in hybrid, or a "mild hybrid".

The company said the announcement marks “the historic end” of cars solely powered by petrol or diesel and “places electrification at the core of its future business”.

Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive, said in a statement: "This is about the customer. People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers' current and future needs.”

The Swedish car manufacturer first announced its commitment to electrifying its products back in 2015.

Earlier this year, Volvo announced the launch of its first all-electric vehicle is coming in 2019 with battery packs up to 100 kilowatt hours (kWh).

The pure-electric model will have a 100 kWh battery pack with an estimated 300 miles of range – depending on the vehicle’s efficiency.

The automotive company – which was bought by Chinese carmaker Geely in 2010 – said it would also launch five fully electric models between 2019 and 2021.

“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Mr Samuelsson. “We have said we plan to have sold a total of 1m electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.”

Volvo has also promised to lobby for more charging infrastructure and educating consumers on the benefits of the technology, in order to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs).

Across Europe registrations for new EVs grew 38 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), and now constitute 3.2 per cent of the European market.

In the U.S. EV sales grew by 49 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Transport safety stakeholder workshop
15 Jun 2017:

TRIP is organising its sixth one-day stakeholder workshop which will take place in Brussels on Wednesday 28 June 2017.  The workshop is aimed at senior researchers and consultants, policy makers, planners and other stakeholders with an interest in the future of transport safety.  Attendees will learn about the progress in transport safety research and how findings can be used to guide the development of future transport safety. Participants will also have the opportunity to influence TRIP's recommendations for future policy development.

 More information 

Small-scale Doppler effect to help cyclists stay safe
13 Jun 2017:

An extremely sensitive radar that can detect when different parts of people’s bodies are moving at different speeds could help drivers avoid collisions with vulnerable road users such as cyclists.

Bicycles haven't changed much in function since Karl Drais took the first ride 200 years ago in Germany, but while cyclists once only contended with horse-drawn buggies, modern city traffic leaves them more vulnerable than ever.

That’s why researchers are looking at how to make cars smarter to help drivers avoid vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians.

‘The city has to be for pedestrians,’ said Andres Aparicio, senior manager for ADAS and connected and automated vehicles at the Spanish engineering group IDIADA. ‘Step by step the car needs to go out of the city.’

Until that happens, he is working with large automotive manufacturers like Audi, BMW, Daimler, Toyota, Volvo, Bosch, and Continental to develop prototype vehicles with automated systems that can help drivers avoid collisions.

Aparicio runs an EU-funded research project called PROSPECT which has developed a sophisticated radar and car-mounted camera system that can provide advance detection of cyclists and pedestrians at intersections – from up to 80 metres away. And it's not just a blip on a screen.

‘These are long-range high-resolution radar systems that are able to detect a shape or an object ... it can detect the shape of the legs of a pedestrian or the square shape of a car,’ he said.

The PROSPECT researchers are also using camera motion recognition and micro-Doppler effects from radar. The Doppler effect, the change in frequency of sound, light, or other waves from an object as it approaches a target, can be used to measure its speed. Micro-Doppler has an even tighter focus, and detects varying speeds of various parts of one object.

Predicting intent

‘Different parts of the body moving at a different speeds, that helps predict pedestrian intent. If you are about to start walking or running, we can predict it,’ said Aparicio.

Such judgements are made without a second thought by human drivers, but are harder for a machine. By using micro-Doppler, the system is better able to pick up subtle movement cues we take for granted.

‘The cars are sensing not only cyclists that may be crossing, but also parked cars and walkers on the side of the road as well,’ said Aparicio.

It's important that the system is not too sensitive though, or else the car would be overreacting to the stimuli for a busy urban environment.

t is therefore designed to provide drivers with a warning from metres away, but the collision avoidance only kicks in at the last second, choosing the best option, to steer around or to brake, to stop a crash.

Even though fully automated cars are on the way, the city is still the most complicated scenario and the hardest for vehicles to perform in, Aparicio explained.

‘Full automation will first come in comfortable situations like highways, where cars are all going the same speed and things are more predictable.’


In the meantime, systems like these may be the last line of defence to protect vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists. While motorist deaths are on the decline in Europe, fatalities from two-wheeled vehicles, bicycles and motorcycles, remain stubbornly high. 

Cyclists account for a stable or growing share of people injured in traffic accidents, with a rate 7-9 times higher than car travel, according to researchers.

Professor Luca Pietrantoni from the University of Bologna in Italy runs the EU-funded XCYCLE project, which has analysed hundreds of accidents between cyclists and cars to try and look for ways to cut down the numbers.

A common problem with cyclists is the crossing of junctions on red signals, so to cut back on this the team has tested a new system of timed green lights known as a green wave.

They are programmed so that if cyclists ride at a speed of 20 kilometres per hour, they will hit green lights all the way through their journey. The system is designed to coincide with cyclists flowing into city in the mornings and out in the afternoons.

‘The system increases the comfort and safety of cyclists,’ Prof. Pietrantoni said.

‘This green wave strategy will be launched this summer in the bike-friendly city of Groningen in the Netherlands for user behavioural evaluation purposes,’ said Prof. Pietrantoni.

Researchers on the project are also developing new systems for motorised vehicles, such as audio and visual warnings for lorry drivers that can help prevent one of the most common accidents – hitting cyclists when lorries turn across bike lanes.

‘For example, a bicycle bell that rings as an auditory reminder to truck drivers to avoid a collision,’ said Prof. Pietrantoni.

Kitting out bikes, especially electric bikes, with better avoidance systems could also help.

‘Most of the on-bike systems available in the market give information to the cyclist about the route, but it’s relatively uncommon to find a safety-related on-bike system,’ said Prof. Pietrantoni.

The team was specifically interested in trying to understand the risk of a crash at an intersection. In a controlled area in Italy they tested a safety system installed on the handle bar of a bicycle which provided visual and auditory warnings to the cyclist, preventing an unsafe encounter between them and any nearby vehicles.

The team found that cyclists will adapt their behaviour if they have access to such additional avoidance tools.

‘Some cyclists are quite reluctant to have expensive technology on their bike, but other types of consumers who are using electric bikes are more willing to accept this type of safety-related tech,’ said Prof. Pietrantoni.

Transdev and Delphi team up to develop on-demand autonomous transportation
13 Jun 2017:

Mobility services provider Transdev is partnering with Delphi Automotive to develop a global, fully automated, mobility-on-demand (AMoD) transport system. The system will utilise Transdev’s universal routing engine (URE) and Delphi’s automated driving platform, the Centralised Sensing, Planning and Localisation (CSLP) platform which Delphi is developing in partnership with Mobileye. 

Delphi and Transdev will share knowledge of AMoD systems to develop fully autonomous vehicles, a driverless vehicle infrastructure solution (DVIS) and cloud infrastructure to support a commercial AMoD system that can operate globally. 

Delphi will integrate its turnkey CSLP platform into Transdev’s mobility service vehicles, including a centralised computer running Delphi’s Ottomatika vehicle control software, a comprehensive sensor suite and all the required connectivity and data devices based on Control-Tec real-time analytics, Movimento’s secure, over-the-air (OTA) technologies and Mobileye’s REM technology.

Transdev will integrate its URE and remote control-command software, including intelligent infrastructure and additional software modules dedicated to public transportation and leverage its deep knowledge in client use-cases, safety and quality of service specifications for shared mobility services. 

The collaboration with Delphi will allow the two groups to jointly test the entire system: dispatch, remote control-command and vehicles, and test the sensor architecture and intelligence for driverless last-mile and door-to-door transportation service with the next phase including a commercial service.

Transdev and Delphi will start collaborating on open road, driverless pilot programs in Paris-Saclay and Rouen, France.

Transport for London launches new digital travel assistant with Facebook
13 Jun 2017:

Transport for London (TfL) has launched the next generation in customer service technology with ‘TravelBot’ using Facebook Messenger.

The new social media tool, which is powered by artificial intelligence, can ‘chat’ with customers using Facebook Messenger and instantly tell them when their bus will arrive, provide service updates and Tube maps.

The TravelBot can also link direct to a customer service agent, making customer service queries easier than ever.

Features of the new service includes:

  • Bus arrivals: customers can check when their bus is due to arrive by simply sharing their location or providing the bus stop code available at every bus stop

  • Bus route status: customers can ask for bus service updates, including information on bus route diversions

  • Service updates: customers can ask for the latest service updates for the Tube, TfL Rail, London Overground, DLR and London Trams

  • Maps: the TravelBot can provide Tube, Night Tube and rail maps

  • Message an agent: the TravelBot can refer customers to a customer service agent.

TfL has been driving innovation through making its data open and accessible beyond TfL. With more than 12,000 developers, over 600 apps are now powered by TfL data.

"Millions of people already use our Journey Planner and social media channels to help them get around London, and we are constantly seeking new ways to make the process even easier,” said Shashi Verma, TfL’s Director of Customer Experience. “This TravelBot will make it simpler for people using Messenger to get the information they need as they move around the city. We think that this initial version will be a major step forward in how we provide travel information to our customers and we look forward to their feedback to help us improve the product over time.”

As people use the service, it will ‘learn’ and become even more precise. TfL will explore the possibility of further features in the future including providing journey planning information and status alerts.

To access the TfL TravelBot, search for ‘TfL TravelBot’ on Facebook.


Number of electric cars worldwide increased 60% in 2016
13 Jun 2017:

Globally, the number of electric vehicles (EVs) surpassed 2 million units in 2016, an increase of 60 per cent compared to 2015, according to the latest report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

In 2005, the number of electric cars owned worldwide was in the hundreds.

A decade later, EV sales surpassed the 1 million milestone and in 2016 increased by 60 per cent, thanks to a combination of falling prices, increased choice and stricter emission regulations.  

The number of electric car stock – primarily composed of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) – worldwide now stands at more than 2 million, however, electric cars still only account for 0.2 per cent of all the cars in the world. 

This is set to change, Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects that 35 per cent of global car sales – 41 million per year – will be EVs in 2040.

Furthermore, the global EV charging stations market is on track to reach approximately $28.2 billion by 2025.

According to the latest IEA report, China led the global EV market in 2016, accounting for over 40 per cent of all electric cars sold, more than double the amount sold in the U.S. 

More than 200 million electric two-wheelers and more than 300,000 electric buses were sold in China last year, making the nation the current global leader in the electrification of transport, the IEA said.

China, the U.S. and Europe made up the three main markets, totalling over 90 per cent of all EVs sold around the world.

In Norway, electric cars had a 29 per cent market share last year, the highest globally, followed by the Netherlands with 6.4 per cent, and Sweden with 3.4 per cent.

According to IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives, in order to limit temperature increases to below 2°C by the end of the century, the number of electric cars will need to reach 600 million by 2040.

To achieve this transition, strong policy support will be required, the IEA said.

Cities are playing a key role in encouraging EV adoption, often due to concerns about air quality in city centres.

In 2015, a third of global EV sales took place in 14 cities across the world.

Transport for London (TfL) is dedicating £18 million towards the upgrading of the capital’s power grids, which will enable energy companies to install 300 EV fast-charging stations by 2020.

Countries are also beginning to address the importance of increasing EV uptake.

Austria is set to connect a series of EV charging points in a bid to boost EV ownership in the country.

In Australia, businesses and policymakers have come together to stimulate the nation’s EV market, including the launch of a new national body, research grants, and private sector investment.

In India, all cars sold will be EVs by 2030 in a bid to curb air pollution, according to plans set out by the country’s Energy Minister.

Check out our recent infographic on decarbonising the transport sector here.

Aviation: An Open and Connected Europe for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Global Leadership
13 Jun 2017:

The European Commission is delivering on its ambitious Aviation Strategy for Europe by adopting a series of measures to further support open and connected aviation markets in the European Union and beyond. These initiatives aim to safeguard competition and connectivity in aviation, facilitate investments into European airlines and enhance the efficiency and connectivity of European skies. This will reinforce the competitiveness of European aviation, which is a strong driver of job creation, economic growth and trade. Open and connected aviation markets offer better value flights to a greater choice of travel destinations worldwide.

Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: "Our Aviation Strategy of December 2015 set an ambitious vision for the future of European aviation. Since then, we have worked hard to implement this vision jointly with all stakeholders. Today's proposals aim at maintaining Europe's leadership in international aviation, as well as at improving connectivity and airspace efficiency. A strong and sustainable European aviation sector is essential to support the EU's economy and climate goals."

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "We want to ensure that Europe remains a leader in international aviation, well connected to fast-growing markets, with efficient European skies. The success of European aviation is based on open and connected aviation markets. Our actions should deliver concrete benefits for passengers, workers and the aviation industry."

Today's 'Open and Connected Aviation' package includes four initiatives, which deliver on two core priorities of the Aviation Strategy for Europe adopted by the Commission in 2015:


  1. Maintain leadership in international aviation

European air connectivity in international air transport is equally dependent on foreign and EU airlines. When flying to or from the EU, all air carriers are granted the same rights. This may not always be the case for EU airlines when operating outside of the EU.  In the absence of international rules, EU airlines may be subject to practices affecting competition. In the long run this could also affect the EU's connectivity, impacting the Union's competitiveness and limiting the choices of travellers. The Commission is therefore proposing a new tool to ensure that EU airlines can compete on the basis of equal opportunities and connectivity can be safeguarded. It will allow the EU to take appropriate action, should certain practices put the EU’s connectivity at risk.

In order to grow and thrive in a competitive environment, EU airlines also need access to investment, including foreign investment. Today, the Commission is adopting guidelines on the ownership and control of EU airlines. By bringing more clarity and certainty to investors and airlines alike, these guidelines will facilitate investments and help create new jobs.


  1. Tackle limits to growth in European skies

The main challenge for the growth of European aviation is to address the capacity, efficiency and connectivity constraints. Connectivity has a direct impact on economic activity and on people's mobility: more flights mean more growth and more jobs. In certain European regions however, air travel remains a challenge, which is why Member States and local authorities can introduce Public Service Obligations to guarantee sufficient connections to the rest of their territory and of Europe. Today, the Commission is adopting guidelines on the existing rules regarding Public Service Obligations in aviation. They will make it easier for national authorities to address connectivity gaps, better serve the needs of local communities and contribute to their wealth.

Another priority is to enhance the efficiency of European skies by reducing its fragmentation, which is responsible for EUR 3 billion of extra costs a year and 50 million tonnes of CO2, and by minimising air traffic disruption. Today the Commission is therefore inviting Member States and aviation stakeholders to consider a number of good practices to ensure air service continuity in the event of industrial action. These practices do not question the fundamental right to strike, but rather aim to improve service continuity and minimise disruption to the European network for airlines and passengers. Between 2005 and 2016, more than 243,000 flights were cancelled due to industrial action in Air Traffic Management, affecting around 27 million passengers. The good practices put forward by the Commission draw on a number of existing practices across the EU Member States.