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The environmental benefits of connected transportation

In Episode 27 of the Blue Door Podcast, we focus on transportation. As COP26 continues this week, we are joined by David Owens from Virgin Media O2’s “The Lab” to look at how technology can provide a positive force for helping meet some of the sustainability objectives individuals and organisations are eager to achieve.

With more than 40 years of telecommunication experience, David not only understands the complexity of the radio spectrum and how a mobile network actually works, but is also able to understand the opportunities existing technologies can provide to solve business challenges today.

In this episode of the podcast, we discuss the connected part of the connected autonomous vehicle (or CAV) and the benefits this has the potential to deliver for organisations looking to reduce or transform their logistics and transportation operations.

David began with a stark statistic – one third, or 97 million tonnes, of the carbon that we produce in the UK each year comes from transport. This means that there’s a huge opportunity to do better, which is why Virgin Media O2 is involved with a series of projects that address what we call an intelligent transport system.

COVID has demonstrated that many more of us can work remotely than we originally thought possible. Our network plays a significant role in providing the connectivity to people’s homes that enable them to work from home. But when we want or need to travel, we are researching ways that make travel as efficient as possible.

O2 Motion, for example, uses anonymised network usage data to measure and monitor journey times and people’s movement patterns. The data helps transport operators to identify opportunities to improve traffic flow and bottlenecks. But we also think we can make an impact on pollution as well. Our Smart Mobility lab, in Woolwich, is looking at pollution monitoring so we can identify not only the most efficient route to get from A to B, but also the one with the least amount of pollution.

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David and I discussed how connectivity to vehicles will play a significant role in the sustainable transport network of the future.

  • How connected vehicles will help us to optimise routes, enable close-proximity convoys, and also connect to wider infrastructure – such as coordinating traffic lights to maintain flow as well prioritise emergency vehicles.
  • The need to connect vehicles to provide not only these telemetry needs, but also entertainment and business communication solutions.
  • How we will need to adapt regulations, as well as provide standards for all manufacturers to provide even higher levels of connectivity.
  • Why we must continue to investigate proof of concepts that look to merge cellular and satellite, expands the opportunities that AI analysis can provide, and understand the non-technical aspects of getting technical solutions adopted.

You can listen to the full discussion by streaming, downloading or subscribing to the podcast here.

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