RECIPROCITY mobility mission in Linz - March 2023

RECIPROCITY mobility mission in Linz - March 2023

April 12, 2023

The third mobility mission of the European project RECIPROCITY (of which NextMove is a partner) was held in Linz, Austria, from March 28 to 31, 2023.

The mission and program were prepared and implemented by the Business Upper Austria automotive cluster.

Numerous participants were present to discover the ecosystem in this Austrian city of over 200,000 inhabitants: **from Albania, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine.

The packed program enabled participants to visit and meet a wide range of players:

On the first day, a comprehensive presentation of mobility solutions and strategies was given at the offices of partner Business Upper Austria.

Crash me if you can

Using a toy car race track, RISC Software GmbH presented its research project "Crash me if you can". The project focuses on how cameras installed in vehicles recognize traffic signs, and how this recognition is influenced by weather conditions, pollution, stickers on the signs or hackers. Using the car racing track, Stefan Thumfart showed how the algorithm interpreted the speed limit of 70 km/h as a speed limit of 100 km/h, the car was going too fast and therefore caused an accident.


The Austrian way

Michael Nikowitz, from the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, presented the Mobility Master Plan 2030, associated projects and planned legislative changes. Priorities include the expansion of public transport, climate-neutral last-mile solutions and multimodal traffic management.

"Automation and digitization are essential to achieving the SDGs and will be part of smart cities", said Mr. Nikowitz.

During the day, participants were also able to take part in matchmaking sessions, before ending the day with a boat trip on the Danube.

The highlight of the second day was a factory visit to the headquarters of the aerospace company FACC AG in Ried im Innkreis.

Drone cabs

Andreas Perotti, from FACC, and Uwe Breitschopf, from LINZ AG, provided information on the progress of the drone-taxi project in Linz. In China, these drones are already on the roads, and in Linz, subject to official approvals, it is hoped that this will soon be the case for unmanned test flights.

"The autonomous drones are set up to operate on demand along predefined flight routes, for example between Linz main station and Hörsching airport", describe Perotti and Breitschopf.

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Other routes are planned between LINZ AG headquarters on Wiener Straße and the port, between the port and Urfahr, or between the port and SolarCity.

Focus on hydrogen

In the afternoon, the RECIPROCITY delegation attended the "Efficient and networked mobility" session at the Future Forum Upper Austria**. Exciting presentations on hydrogen technologies and their possible applications, new battery technologies, e-fuels, fuel cells and electromobility were on the agenda.

Hydrogen was also the dominant topic of the second evening. The European project "Hy2Market" aims to establish a hydrogen value chain throughout Europe. Hydrogen-powered buses and trucks are already on the road in the Alpine region of Tyrol as part of the "H2Alpin" project.

Autonomous shuttle

Markus Tauchhammer presented the SURAAA (Smart Urban Region Austria Alps Adriatic) project, an autonomous shuttle operating in Pörtschach, which was well received. Autonomous shuttles from the SURAAA project are already in service in several cities, with more to follow. The on-demand public transport software solution from French company Pandam Mobility is already in use in 15 countries around the world.

"It is also suitable for autonomous shuttles", emphasized Javier Guimera.

Karma Islam, from the European innovation network EIT Urban Mobility, and Zuzana Lettner, from Business Upper Austria, also had the opportunity to provide information on funding and support opportunities at European, national and regional levels.

On the third day, participants tested the capabilities of DigiTrans GmbH's test track for automated driving at St. Valentine's.

Bus tour of the test track

The tour bus took them to individual sections of the test track and through the sprinkler system.

"We were able to experience first-hand the difference between light and heavy rain", explains Doris Straub, Project Manager at Business Upper Austria.

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Managing Director Alexander Barth also explained DigiTrans GmbH's research activities and tasks, the purpose of the test track and presented the brand-new automated research vehicle, the Digitrans eVAN.

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Capacity Building Workshop

In the afternoon, a visit to the Magna Steyr plant was on the agenda.

The competence-building workshop also took place there. Participants chose the topics of autonomous shuttle, on-demand shuttle, intelligent traffic lights, mobility app and car, bike and scooter sharing. To do this, they worked on questions such as: Do I already have a solution? What obstacles make it difficult to implement? What laws need to be changed? How can the solution be financed?


University of Applied Sciences of Upper Austria, Steyr campus

At the campus Steyr, the MobiLab team, led by Wolfgang Schildorfer, presented its research into sustainable mobility solutions.

Examples included the Domino car-sharing application, last-mile logistics solutions and hydrogen in freight transport.

Daniela Zeiner, Managing Director of the Zukunftsregion Steyr, described how the city of Steyr is intensively involved in mobility issues.

"We involve all stakeholders, from the mayor to the public to businesses and their workforces," she said.

This process enabled them to gather a wealth of ideas, some of which have already been implemented. These include, for example, children's cabs that serve as carpools, enabling parents to take several children to school by car, not just their own.

On day four, the mobility mission ended on a creative note.

Creating business models from Lego

The LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® design thinking workshop, led by Business Upper Austria in Linz's former town hall, invited participants to develop business models for a mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) solution for an autonomous shuttle bus.

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The next RECIPROCITY mission is scheduled for the end of May 2023 and will target the mobility ecosystem of Istanbul, Turkey. Don't hesitate to stay informed through the project website or by contacting the NextMove team directly to be part of it!