Moscow to develop autonomous transport technology

Moscow to develop autonomous transport technology
Photo: Photo by the Mayor and Moscow Government Press Service. Denis Grishkin
The city will introduce autonomous technology on all modes of public transport and will train specialists for testing and operating the new technology.

Moscow will start developing and introducing autonomous transport technology. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Yandex Director General Yelena Bunina, Director General of the NAMI Automobile and Auto-Motor Research Institute Sergei Gaisin, President of the Gas Group Vadim Sorokin and Deputy Secretary General and Development Director of KamAZ Irek Gumerov signed a cooperation agreement in this area for the next five years.

 “I am grateful to my colleagues that are working hard on new transport vehicles and breakthrough technology. The city will do everything it can to introduce these innovations so that we can lead the way in this technology,” said Mayor Sobyanin during the signing ceremony at the Moscow Urban Forum.

He also noted that the capital is one of the leaders in public transit development. “We have developed new high-tech, high quality commuter trains, trams and electric buses. Our city has an intelligent traffic system and we are introducing new technology in the city’s transit system. Moscow’s future is impossible without innovation,” the Mayor said.

During 10–15 years

The agreement on cooperation in developing and introducing autonomous transport technology in Moscow provides for work on all modes of transport or urban passenger transport. Transport services and intelligent vehicle systems based on telematics will be developed.

A separate item in the agreement is on training personnel for the development, testing and operation of autonomous transport technology. A system will be established for the independent qualification of employees that would like to work in these new technical areas.

The document also provides for cooperation in ensuring cyber security when operating autonomous transport and promoting autonomous technology with specific parametres in the urban transport system.

It is possible to launch autonomous public transit vehicles in the next 10-15 years, said Deputy Moscow Mayor and Head of the Department for Transport and Road Infrastructure Development Maxim Liksutov.

“Our infrastructure is ready: We have smart traffic signals; we are ready to transmit signals and we have a detailed satellite map of all Moscow roads with all directions and markings, but we must improve our intelligent management system which is currently based on human drivers,” he explained.

He said autonomous transport will result in more efficient use of the urban infrastructure.

“Today 600 cars move on a single lane in an hour in congested traffic. We think the introduction of autonomous vehicles will increase road capacity when used with an updated intelligent traffic system. We are waiting for autonomous cars to become safer both for their passengers and for the people around it. It is critical to avoid traffic accidents,” Liksutov said.

A normative legal and technical foundation will be drafted for introducing innovation technology and business models for the services involving the use of autonomous vehicles.

“We need to develop a package of standards so the engineers have guidelines when designing new roads, traffic signals and traffic standards, so that public transit can operate smoothly within the existing traffic system. And these standards should be nation-wide,” Liksutov said.

Ms Bunina also believes that autonomous cars will appear on the streets in the near future. “This is why it is important to invest in the development of autonomous technology, especially in Moscow, a large metropolitan area. In 10-15 years there will be no borders between personal transport, taxi, car-sharing and public transit,” she said.

Mr Sorokin agrees. “Autonomous technology combines a huge package of issues. It is a new reality that will change our ideas of transport and the entire infrastructure. Needless to say, no company can resolve these issues single-handedly,” he noted.

Irek Gumerov thinks that autonomous transport opens large prospects for the city. He said this technology was already demonstrated during the FIFA World Cup in Kazan. “We put our passengers in an autonomous car and observed their reaction. We believe autonomous cars will be introduced into our lives and change it in the near future,” he said.

Based on Russian technology

Russian technology will be predominantly used in developing highly automated and autonomous transport vehicles. The Moscow Intelligent Traffic Management System (CTMS) and the Smart City Transport System (SCTS) will ensure the safety of the testing.

In effect, the SCTS will become a technological foundation for autonomous transport in Moscow. Traffic signals, cameras, detectors and satellite-based tracking and other infrastructure elements have the potential of following the Internet of Things technology and linking with smart car technology. This will allow autonomous vehicles to navigate the city without drivers. This will ensure the safety of autonomous transport in a metropolitan area.

City’s Intelligent Transport System

Currently, the SCTS controls the operation of over 10,000 city traffic vehicles online, monitors the movement of more than 118,000 taxis and over 7,500 car-share vehicles and other cars equipped with GLONASS. The information received — over 350 million of data batches per day — is sent to the Situation Room in the Traffic Management Centre that is already competent in telemetrics technology.

The SCTS includes a system for monitoring 40,000 traffic lights, which saves time; more than 2,700 video monitoring cameras that help cut the time for recording and reacting to accidents, as well as 3,500 detectors to monitor traffic conditions and 175 information screens.

The system for recording traffic violations includes 1,200 fixed site and 250 mobile speed cameras, 34 mobile stations with photo and video recording, as well as 110 mobile systems on Mosgortrans buses. The installation of these cameras has reduced the number of traffic accidents in the sites and venues of their installation  by 10-25 percent.

Main City on Transport Innovations

The above agreement emphasizes that Moscow is one of the world’s leading metropolitan areas on introducing transport innovations.

Last year the Moscow Metro received new Russian-made trains called Moskva trains. They are equipped with a system for self-diagnostics that provides for the collection, storage and dispatch of information to the train operator’s monitor. It also records the parametres of all onboard systems, electricity supply conditions, train movement and control function parametres. Above-door monitors inform passengers the next station. The travel itinerary screen reflects the current location of a train on its route. The new carriages have a system for detecting and extinguishing fires.

Moscow has a well-developed fare payment system. The Troika card may be topped off through the Moscow Metro application.

Fares may be paid with a contactless MasterCard and Visa at more than 80 metro stations and all Moscow Central Circle stations. One trip costs 40 rubles. To pay the fare passengers wave their contactless bank card at the reader on the turnstile until receiving a release signal.

In addition, since 2017 all those who wish to do so can buy mini transit card key rings, bracelets and rings. These accessories save time because users don’t have to look for their transit card when approaching the turnstile.

During the World Cup, passengers with Fan IDs could pass through contactless payment turnstiles on match days. The turnstiles opened automatically and fans did not have to pay the fare or get delayed to confirm their status.

With these and other projects, Moscow is setting the example for the development of many cities not only in Russia, but also in the rest of the world. The city’s experience in planning bus routes is used in Vienna and Berlin and its programmes on regulating taxi traffic are used in Dubai and Riyadh.