Cities cover 3% of the earth’s surface but account for 70% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; with cars accounting for 14% of this figure. Due to cars’ widespread use in city centres, cities’ emissions are continuing to rise at a time when they need to be falling drastically to combat climate change. Because of the profound effects on sustainability, health, economics, and quality of life, improving urban transport can solve many problems all at the same time. Shifting a city’s dominant transport mode from private cars to mass transit can prevent sprawl and promote liveable density, affecting land values and carbon footprints for decades to come.
To help reduce cities’ emissions and make urban areas more liveable, Infracity aims to develop Autonomous Minibus, an innovative solution to deploy and manage next generation urban transport. Autonomous Minibus can be used by any municipality to deploy and effectively monitor autonomous bus fleets, helping the transition to smart, sustainable, and affordable urban public transportation. These buses will get passengers where they need to go safely, make cities a more pleasant place to live, and help combat the climate emergency. This innovation has the potential to disrupt both the use of private vehicles and the existing public transportation market by providing an easy-to-use solution that can be quickly implemented in any city.
Private vehicle use in urban areas is a significant contributor to carbon emissions and drivers of climate change. While transportation overall accounts for approximately 14% of total emissions, car travel accounts for an astonishing 72% of this. Because cars are widely used in urban centers, these densely populated areas are some of the leading drivers of emissions, worsening the climate emergency. Research shows that switching from private vehicles to public transportation is a highly effective measure to reduce emissions, and many cities are beginning to reduce the number of cars on the road using a variety of approaches. With a reduction in the number of private vehicles, there is a growing vacuum that must be filled by sustainable public transport options. While some cities and municipalities across Norway are looking to implement public transportation options, there is no one-size-fits-all solution at present, making uptake slow and outcomes uncertain.
We intend to research and develop a new public transport solution, Autonomous Minibus, consisting of autonomous buses powered by electricity to be implemented in urban centers. These buses would run on biogas that would otherwise be released to the atmosphere, helping to create a circular economy and reducing emissions. We also plan to research and develop a digital solution that simulates a “digital twin” bus, to assist with optimal route planning and enabling the monitoring of emissions to get continuous feedback on the bus fleet’s environmental impact.
This innovation has the potential to disrupt both the use of private vehicles and the existing public transportation market by providing an easy-to-use solution that can be quickly implemented in any city. The end users (municipalities and cities) will have the power to monitor their bus fleets in real time to be informed about fleet performance and emissions, and passengers will be ensured a pleasant travel experience, encouraging use of the buses.