“The more academic part of Automotive Day that presents technological progress and flagship projects is essential, but nothing can replace making your own first-hand experiences,” says Anthony Auert, manager of the Luxembourg AutoMobility Cluster and the main coordinator of this year’s Automotive Day. “This is why we decided to organise various demo sessions where participants could test a range of digital solutions that are still prototypes or only used in high-end vehicles.”
Emergency braking, aquaplaning
The automotive technology lovers of the Greater Region could thus experience the collision avoidance system developed by Mercedes-Benz to increase road safety. The new Mercedes A-Class has been equipped with sensors that detect obstacles in its way and launch a series of actions: first a warning light on the dashboard, then a sound signal and finally, if the driver does not react, automatic braking. They could also feel the effects of the city emergency braking implemented in the Volvo XC60 that could potentially save lives of people crossing the street. Goodyear offered an opportunity to compare how a car behaves in the case of aquaplaning when it is equipped with summer versus winter tyres.
Experts from the Goodyear Innovation Centre Luxembourg were also present to demonstrate a connected tyre that is able to provide real-time information about its pressure and temperature as well as the depth of the treat pattern and the remaining mileage before it has to be changed via integrated sensors. The Efficientgrip tyre that has been develop specifically for electric vehicles was also on display alongside what was probably the most futuristic feature of the afternoon: Goodyear’s latest concept tyre, Oxygene.
Oxygene has been designed according to the principles of the circular economy and features a non-pneumatic construction that would be 3D printed with rubber powder from recycled tyres. A light communication system would indicate the next action of the vehicle, thus making it easier for the surrounding environment of predicting the movements of a self-driving car. This innovative tyre even integrates living moss that is able to absorb CO2, release oxygen via photosynthesis and even harvest the energy produced during the process. Although it is not yet possible to produce this tyre with today’s technology, the fast speed of technological progress might make it a reality quite soon.
Research scientist Raphaël Frank and his colleagues at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) of the University of Luxembourg were pleased to take the participants for a ride in the Kia Soul that they are turning into a self-driving vehicle. The researchers have developed a machine learning system able to capture images from the camera and data from the steering wheel when the car is manually driven around a track and use the information to let the car take over and drive around the track on its own. This research project has attracted the interest of Luxembourg insurance firm Foyer that signed a partnership agreement with the SnT only a few days ago to collaborate on automated driving.
When leaving the SnT for the next demo session participants could of course walk, but a more exciting alternative was to jump on the autonomous Navya shuttle bus demonstrated by transport company Sales-Lentz. This fully electric, driver-less vehicle can take up to 15 passengers and has an autonomy of nine hours. Salez-Lentz will deploy two Navya shuttles in Luxembourg in September – the first fully automate public transport vehicles in the country.
The use of the Navya shuttle in Luxembourg takes place in the context of Sales-Lentz’ participation in the European AVENUE project, which receives funding from the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation Horizon 2020. “AVENUE aims to design and carry out full scale demonstrations of urban transport automation by deploying, for the first time ever, fleets of autonomous mini-buses in four European cities including Luxembourg,” explains Stefano Pozzi Mucelli, Senior Advisor – European Funding and specialised in the transport programme of Horizon 2020. “The 16 project partners from seven countries intend to showcase the provision of safe, efficient, on-demand and emission free personalised public transportation, available anytime and anywhere.”
After visiting all the demo sessions, it was time for the participants take the bus back to Luxembourg City. With a driver behind the wheel this time, but the Hybrid Electric (HEV) buses provided by Sales-Lentz gave the participants a final practical demonstration of how green mobility is implemented in public transports in Luxembourg.
The Luxembourg AutoMobility Cluster, managed by Luxinnovation, fosters innovation, business development and cross-sector cooperation by bringing together Luxembourg-based auto industry component suppliers. Are you interested in becoming a member? Apply now for membership!
Luxinnovation contributes to the economic development of Luxembourg by fostering innovation, fuelling international growth and attracting foreign direct investment and is supported by: Ministry of the Economy, Ministry for Higher Education and Research, Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, Luxembourg Chamber of Skilled Crafts and FEDIL – The Voice of Luxembourg’s Industry.