iMOVE CRC launched and ready to tackle transport systems
“... there is a huge opportunity for Australia to develop products, technology, solutions, methodologies, that will apply everywhere” - Ian Christensen, iMOVE CRC
The bid was won, the people and systems are in place, and now the iMOVE CRC has been officially launched, ready to help Australia move people and goods more efficiently.
The iMOVE CRC was formed to use data, systems and emerging technologies to combat Australia’s complex transport issues. There are many companies and organisations already active in delivering solutions and legislation that will improve the situation. The iMOVE CRC will complement existing and future activities by providing an Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) collaborative research hub that brings together industry, government and research in a ten-year effort.
The ITS industry is a dynamic one that touches on many sectors and ultimately all users of the systems and technology. It was fitting then, that the iMOVE launch would be part of a day of scheduled partner workshops and a panel session to get a broad range of stakeholders talking about the future; of their efforts through iMOVE CRC, and their general vision for transport in Australia – and beyond.
This industry diversity was reflected in the leadership at the workshop with iMOVE directors Dirk Van de Meersche, from transport management company Cubic, and Cecilia Warren, from insurance giant IAG, facilitating the discussions alongside iMOVE MD Ian Christensen.
One of the key concepts of everything iMOVE is working on is connectivity. While the technology aspect of this under discussion at the workshop was about future aspirations, the social aspect was evident. Workshop participants from different companies, with vastly different backgrounds jumped headlong together into a sharing and refining of ideas on what the problems with transport in Australia are, and proposed solutions and future project ideas. It bodes well for what iMOVE CRC can accomplish, and speaks to the calibre of the transportation community, and the power of collected and directed wisdom, innovation, and enthusiasm.
Workshop outcomes will directly inform the research program agenda of iMOVE CRC. Thinking more broadly about iMOVE’s potential to help drive national transport improvements, the team convened a cross-sectoral panel of experts to explore ideas at its afternoon launch event at IAG HQ in Sydney CBD.
Amongst the many ideas and concepts discussed included increased collaboration between all levels of government, open data, social benefits of mobility, last mile delivery efficiency, and more holistic urban planning.
A common thread of all three introductory speakers – MC Jeff Kasparian, Mrs Teena Blewitt, Head of Division for AusIndustry, and iMOVE CRC Chairman Ian Murray AM – was that fixing Australia’s transport system and building a connected and competitive Australia are key priorities, both socially and economically.
Ian Murray drove home the scope of the problem, and why we have to tackle it urgently. “Every one of us, everyday, is affected by congestion, by the movement of people and goods.”
The ensuing 30-minute panel focused on the state and prospects for Australian transportation and how it affects people.
The four-member panel was facilitated by iMOVE CRC Board member Gary Liddle (University of Melbourne), with expert input from Cecilia Warren (IAG), Dennis Walsh (Department of Transport & Main Roads, Queensland, Paul Gray (Cohda Wireless), and Tom Walker (Cubic Transport Systems).
On the topic of how can so many companies, and in some cases companies locked in competition, work together at iMOVE?
Asked why his department had invested in iMOVE, Dennis Walsh said, “In terms of what we can deliver through this technology revolution, we can make our world a lot better place to live. The Queensland Government is looking to innovate, it’s doing a lot of activity in this area, and investing in IMOVE was too good an opportunity to pass up.””
What people want and need
Cecilia was wary of technology for technology’s sake. “Look at what people want and need. If we are technology-led, and not customer-led, we will miss the mark completely. We really have to think about how to meet people’s needs.”
People’s needs are also front and centre for Cubic’s Tom Walker, and integration is key. He’d like to see car sharing, ride sharing, bike sharing, indeed any form of mobility collected into one account-based system. “So that a traveller can have one place to go to plan, book, and pay. It works for the traveller, rather than them having to work along the way to get from A to B.”
For all the talk of automated and autonomous vehicles being the silver bullet, Paul Gray had this warning, “The autonomous car will be safer, but if it’s not connected to the traffic system it’s going to spend as much time in traffic as a manually-driven vehicle. Having the systems all working together will amplify the benefits. Having systems that work together means a collaborative effort, something that all partners in the CRC recognise as vital.”
And in 10 years?
In summing up, there was a good deal of agreement in what the challenges were, and why they are worth meeting — fewer deaths and injuries for all road users, healthier trip options, knock-on economic benefits, seamless journey options, planning and payments, and innovation creating new industries.
“For me, in 10 years’ time, I would like to think that Australia is going to have world-leading industries in this space, and I think iMOVE is an opportunity that none of us should lose,” said Gary Liddle.
The way(s) ahead
The closing address from iMOVE MD MD Ian Christensen, defined iMOVE and its path forward.
“The progress that we’ve enjoyed in recent years, in sensor technology, algorithm development, and computing power, now enables us to apply computers to the issue of movement in its own right.”
“Rather than thinking about about driving trucks, buses, trains, and trams, we can instead think about moving people, moving boxes, getting things to happen in a way that we all want it to happen, without having to wrestle with a timetable. We now have the possibility for all of that all to be optimised, and to work for us, rather than us working for it.”
He also spoke of the very distinct chance of iMOVE not only advancing the picture within Australia, but for it to also contribute on the world stage.
“Because the problems that we face are the same problems that are faced nearly everywhere in the world, there is a huge opportunity for Australia to develop products, technology, solutions, methodologies, that will apply everywhere.”
Now that the iMOVE launch has been held, and the ink is dry on all the agreements with its 45 partners, it’s time to start work on projects to fix Australia’s transport system woes.
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