Automated Vehicle Technology in Guiyang
The City of Guiyang has, knowingly or not, positioned itself perfectly for entry into the Automated Vehicle market. Through the creation of the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system connected to a State of the Art bullet train station, a publicly controlled space which can control all vehicles entering and leaving the system has been created.
The train station (Beizhan) is a multimodal transport system with cars, buses, bullet trains, and even express busses to the airport. The BRT utilizes a dedicated bus lane which is one of three traffic lanes on the Number 2 Ring Road (#2RR) which circles Guiyang through proximate suburban developments. While operating at a relatively slow speed, the BRT has reduced cross-town transit times by approximately two thirds or more, depending on traffic. There are no stop lights on the #2RR and the dedicated lane greatly reduces the traffic jams to which buses are subjected along with private vehicles. The system operates with a high degree of efficiency despite “cheaters” who are drivers that are willing to accept a large number of traffic tickets for using the bus lane for their private vehicles.
AV market has exploded in western countries, particularly Europe and the USA, with increasing interest from China and the East. With all the money and interest, widespread use of AV has been stymied to a degree by the insecurity of the public to share the road with driverless cars. While technical issues remain, the biggest obstacle to AV isn’t technical, but rather political and social. Governments are simply not willing to subject their constituencies to the perceived risk of driverless cars. Computer controlled vehicles sharing public roads private vehicles (with occasionally irrational or careless drivers) is deemed unacceptable to all parties. Nevertheless, Elon Musk, of Tesla and SpaceX fame has suggested that the safety record of computer controlled cars will display about 10 percent of the accidents of human controlled. Tesla claims that a driverless care will travel from California to New York within the year (2017).
Even more interesting, the Guiyang Big Data Expo is May 25 to May 28. Big Data is the next big thing in computer technology. The auto industry represents the second biggest consumer expenditure in the world (housing being the first). The AV technology requires more research and a good location to perfect this technology. It is a data intensive application in the world’s second biggest consumer industry. This Big Data Conference could be a “breakout” for Guiyang and the AV Industry.
The Beizhan “multimodal” Train Station has a controlled bus maneuvering area connected to a controlled ring road around Guiyang. It is an ideal physical and political environment for development of Automated Vehicles, one of the biggest Big Data applications on the horizon. This will be an interesting conference.