The expressions of the city, shifting from moment to moment, hand in hand with the vitality of the local people.
What would come about, for instance, if the ever-perpetual motion and vicissitudes of this field were to be treated as a “testing ground?”
Around the world, and naturally in Japan as well, there are myriad attempts afoot to expand our horizons. Some unfold behind the scenes, others openly and simultaneously, in various different locations, reaching across the lines of national borders.
They include methods of mobility that clearly defy the common wisdom, landmark means of utilizing city environments, ideas overflowing with intrigue and unpredictability, new and delightful discoveries and so much more.
We will be scouting out and reporting upon such topics, which draw from ground-breaking new thinking to light the way to “mobility and innovation,” from all corners of the world.
Initiatives are being advanced around the world in striving to truly come to grips with the crisis of global warming, and go on to realize a “low-carbon society.”
In the mobility related sector, Tesla Motors, the reigning champion of the electric vehicle (EV) domain, is expected to mount its vehicles with automatic driving functions by as early as this summer. In this way, hopes are running high for the mounting accumulation of optimum driving technologies to help ease traffic congestion and better conserve energy.
From these various so-called “Mobility Plus” visions, we plan to profile examples of truly ambitious projects with their sights trained on new approaches to urban traffic systems. In this case, based on the fusion of micro-size EV and an impressive lineup of emerging technologies.
The car sharing service “Cité lib by Ha:mo” was launched from October 2014 in Grenoble City – a community nestled at the foot of the Alps mountain range in southeast France. The effort has enlisted the cooperation of partner companies in electric power, IT and other infrastructure-related fields, local governments and other supporters.
For this project, Toyota has supplied a combined total of 70 units of the i-ROAD and the “COMS” two-seater four-wheeled EV. Established under this scheme has been a system enabling one-way (drop-off) of vehicles over short distances between charging stations within the city, based on uniform rates for each 15 minutes of driving. In all, 120 charging stations have been set up at 27 locations, while smartphone applications may be utilized to confirm open spaces, place reservations for use and other purposes. In addition to this, links with the metro route search system are used in combination with a number of different means of transportation to provide guidance to the optimum way of getting around.
From automakers and the energy industry, to software and cloud computing information communication technology (ICT) related companies. There is clearly a need for the “Mobility Plus” project, which brings onboard companies and organizations spanning numerous different fields, to be implemented on a true citywide scale. When adopting this perspective, the online automobile service “Uber,” Google self-driving vehicles and other specific examples become doubly significant, with their true value shining through.
Going forward, how will the city of Grenoble be transformed by the “Mobility Plus” project? We certainly harbor keen hopes for the fruits of this proving test (now slated to be run over a three-year period).
ISSUED : 4 July 2015
TEXT BY Keita Fukasawa (contributor)