Can Sensors & Autonomous Robotics Improve Transport in Our Cities?

By Sophie Curtis on December 03, 2014

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Paul Furgale is the Deputy Director of the Autonomous Systems Lab at ETH Zurich. His current research is focused on long-term autonomy for mobile robotic systems, including perception, mapping, localization, and planning over long timescales and in dynamic environments.

We caught up with Paul ahead of tomorrow’s RE.WORK Future Cities Summit.

What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact our future cities?

By rethinking the mix of public and private transportation, we can reduce our reliance on non-renewable sources of energy, resulting in cleaner, greener cities without sacrificing convenience associated with having a car.

What is the biggest obstacle to integrating emerging technology into urban infrastructure, cities and communities?

The current biggest obstacle for bringing fully automated driving to our cities is the slow speed of regulatory frameworks for automated mobile robots operating in public spaces.

What will be the key skills/jobs required in the future for your sector?

The robotics industry will experience a huge growth over the coming decade. This will require highly skilled individuals across the disciplines of Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics.

What emerging technology are you most excited about - personal or business or society wise that will affect our future cities?

I am personally most excited about the technology behind indoor and outdoor position estimation using only the sensors available in your smartphone. If we solve the problem of continuous position estimation of devices, and connect this information centrally so that devices can always access up-to-date map information, it will unlock a wealth of applications from fully automated driving to indoor navigation assistance to navigation assistance for the disabled to immersive gaming within the real world.

Paul Furgale will be speaking at RE.WORK Future Cities Summit, London, on 4-5 December. To view the full line-up and register to attend, go to: re-work.co/cities

Join the conversation on twitter with @teamrework and the hashtag #reworkCITIES

Future Cities Robotics Smart Transport AI Connected City Summit


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