Autonomous trucks and driverless cars are the buzzwords in the global transport arena and although South Africa seems a long way from this buzz, all this will come our way in the not too distant future. What many don’t know is that there is an organisation which is paving the way forward and preparing for the day when all this hits our shores. It is called the Mobility Centre for Africa (MCA)
Victor Radebe, executive director and MCA co-founder rightly states that: “As a tech-savvy nation, the only way we can proactively manage the mobility disruptive forces is to first develop a conducive legislative and policy environment – and government’s role cannot be overemphasised.”
In its attempts to do so, the Mobility Centre for Africa NPC (MCA) hosted its 3rd Future Mobility Roundtable in Cape Town on the 13th February 2018. The discussion, held at the Westin Hotel, was the third in a series of events bringing together government, industry and academia to collaborate in a drive to prepare South Africa and the continent at large for the rapidly changing world of transportation.
Global ride sharing company, Uber, was MCA’s official partner for the 3rd Future Mobility Roundtable. Alon Lits, general manager, Sub-Saharan Africa for Uber, during his presentation on Future of Urban Mobility – Autonomous and Flying Cars stated: “We started in 2009 to solve a simple problem – how do you get a ride at the touch of a button? Eight years and over two billion trips later, we’ve started tackling an even greater challenge: reducing congestion and pollution in our cities by getting more people into fewer cars.”
The 3rd Mobility Roundtable was preceded by two events hosted in Durban and Johannesburg last year. The 1st Future Mobility Roundtable was hosted at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on the 5th October 2017 where the MCA was envisaged to be a platform for the research, testing and deployment of future Smart Mobility Solutions including electric, connected and autonomous vehicle technology.
The 2nd Future Mobility Roundtable was hosted on the 27th November 2017 at the IDC Conference Centre in Sandton, bringing together transport and mobility experts who shared insights on the future of mobility on the continent.
The 3rd Future Mobility Roundtable focused on addressing the legislative and policy framework required to support the deployment of new mobility solutions. Radebe opened the conference by setting the scene through a reflection of the global trends in the future of Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric (CASE) Mobility.
The keynote address was delivered by Prasanth Mohan, Chief Director: Road Infrastructure and Industry Development at the National Department of Transport. The speaker line-up included the Consular General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Bonnie Horbach who presented on Netherlands Innovation: Europe’s gateway to smart mobility. Uber duo, Yolisa Kani and Antoine Aubert gave a presentation on Regulatory Reform for Effective Shared Mobility while the presentation on Legislative and Policy Environment the National Department of Transport’s Abram Chego.
Smart Mobility Expert at the Mobility Centre for Africa, Ivan Reutener, gave a presentation on 2018 Future Mobility Trends while Funzani Mathivha, with managing director of Inteshield Information Security Products and Services, presenting Privacy and Cyber-security for Connected Vehicles.
Andile Skosana, Technical Director – Urban and Regional Planning at Aurecon gave a presentation on Planning Policies for the New Ecosystem: Complementary philosophies for land use and transport planning. Royal HaskoningDHV Netherlands Smart Mobility Specialist, Peter Morsink, discussed Global Legislative Responses to Emerging Mobility Solutions – UK, US and EU case studies.
The event’s presentations were rounded off by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications’ Duncan Mutengwe who presented Compulsory Specifications and Homologation of Vehicles, while Stellenbosch University’s Prof Stephan Krygsman gave a presentation on the Evolution of Fuel-based Vehicle Taxation to Electric Vehicles.
I highlight all these speakers to give our readers an idea of the level and depth of thought and participation that is going into preparing for the future in terms of disruptive mobility. It’s going to come our way and we must start now preparing for its arrival. The MCA is doing just that – which FleetWatch warmly welcomes.
The Future is Here
While we talk about the driverless truck in South Africa as a distant dream, it is a firm reality in Europe and America. In this video – shot in 2015 – Editor of FleetWatch Patrick O’Leary questions Mercedes-Benz’ Georg-Stefan Hagemann on the progress towards making the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 – often referred to as the ‘driverless truck’ – a reality on the roads in Europe. Hagemann was confident that the right moves were being made towards it becoming an operational norm within the next ten years. The technology embodied in the truck is sound and in place. Changing the legislative environment is the next step. The Future is here…and the Mobility Centre for Africa is ensuring we become part of that future – in the future of course.