• Image Credit: AOL

One hundred years ago, the advent of the personal automobile changed everything about the way people lived, worked and played. Now, cars are on the cusp of a new revolution which promises to change everything again.

So what will this brave new world full of self-driving cars and big data look like? That's what the speakers at this year's UPSHIFT will explore. And we've already taken the first steps with these people working building a better, safer, connected world. Their accomplishments give us a fleeting glimpse into our transportation future.   

Singapore Autonomous Taxis
  • Image Credit: AP

nuTonomy is already going driverless in Singapore

nuTonomy CEO Karl Iagnemma will walk on to the UPSHIFT stage in October secure in knowing his company was the first in the world to put autonomous rubber to the road. Their small, but growing, fleet of self-driving Mitsubishis began transporting Singapore residents in August. Customers simply summon a vehicle to their location using the company’s app. The service is still limited, but nuTonomy has big plans to expand. Even though nuTonomy engineers are still riding along, and the vehicles may be a little too careful, it’s a huge moment for the technology. 

Pensa imagines a world of multiple mobility options
  • Image Credit: Pensa

Pensa imagines a world of multiple mobility options

What will a world without human drivers look like? Pensa is the company daring to dream of a fully autonomous world. The company is a design firm tasked with imagining what cities of the future will look like and designing around that hypothesis. Pensa is responsible for real world designs as well, like Street Charge, the free, solar powered charging points in New York that sprang up three years ago. Earlier this summer, the company launched Third Space which imagines how cities will repurpose the vast amount of land currently devoted to parking spaces that will disappear with the advent of self-driving fleets. Creative Director Mark Prommel headed such projects as Street Charge and Merge Urban Bicycle, a perfectly compact Swiss army knife style road bike tailored to the needs of city-dwellers. He’ll be discussing how Autonomy and new forms of transportation will reshape our cities at this year’s UPSHIFT.

US-TRANSPORT-OLLIE
  • Image Credit: MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

IBM's super smart computer powers a cute, self driving bus

IBM is always working on the very edge of emerging technology. It makes sense then that the company’s greatest achievement to date, the Jeopardy! winning super computer Watson, would end up in an autonomous vehicle. Watson was integrated into Local Motor’s Olli, the first self-driving vehicle to integrate advanced cognitive computing. Watson not only helps Olli analyze large amounts of transportation data the cloud-based computer also allows Olli to respond to rider’s questions about how Olli operates, planned routes, and even restaurant recommendations. The VP of IBM Watson, Internet of Things, Bret Greenstein, will talk about the partnership between IBM and Local Motors at UPSHIFT. 

Infrastructure Highway Spending Washington
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Siemens brings Seattle's traffic system into the 21st Century

Can you hack a road? How about an entire transportation system? That's what Siemens is doing in Seattle, one of the fastest growing urban areas in the country. Seattle's infrastructure is showing signs of being overloaded by all of the newcomers. That's why the city tapped Siemens to use big data to lighten the load for overwhelmed drivers. The Concert traffic system takes into account everything from weather reporting, existing road conditions, and traffic data on special events such as concerts or ball games. By looking at what is happening on existing roads as it happens the system will give Seattle a real time view of their traffic. will in turn help city planners make key decisions on how to optimize safety while decreasing the severity of traffic jams and environmental problems. 
Uber Autonomous Cars
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Uber brings autonomous vehicles to Pittsburg

Uber unveiled the first fleet of self-driving taxis here in America this month. The autonomous Ford Fusions hit the streets of Pittsburg in September, just a week after nuTonomy's launch in Singapore. With an already popular app and familiar business model, Uber is well positioned to be the first commercially successful driverless taxi service. The cars still need the help of engineers, of course, but it is still a huge step forward for the revolutionary technology. While the company only has four vehicles on the road at this time, Uber plans to have at least 100 roaming Steel City by the end of the year. Vice President of Global Vehicle Programs Sherif Marakby spent 25 years working with Ford on delivering new technologies to consumer. He'll bring his experience to the UPSHIFT stage this October. 
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