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Fully charged!

Based in Zielona Góra, Poland, Ekoenergetyka-Polska has already realised a number of large-scale projects in Europe. At Stadtwerke München for instance, the company premises are heated with the residual warmth from the Polish-made charging points, an internationally acclaimed example of how energy can be fully utilised. Transport companies in Berlin and Hamburg have also installed the company’s fast-charging points.

As well as displaying the latest electric buses by companies including MAN Bus & Truck and Daimler Buses, BUS2BUS is also exhibiting the necessary charging infrastructure. Kempower for example is displaying its mobile DC charging devices. Their roll & plug solution can be used for charging inside garages for example. The US startup WideSense is showing how AI can be used to assemble charging timetables. It also helps fleet operators to schedule the right type and number of buses.

Kempower and other companies are presenting their fast-charging systems at BUS2BUS

Kempower and other companies are presenting their fast-charging systems at BUS2BUS

Taking human error into account

Patrick Ayad hauled these possibilities back into the realm of the real-life legal framework. In his lecture on ‘Self-driving buses – the legal framework governing driverless vehicles in Germany’, he talked about testing approval, the legal situation at national, European and international level and the highway code, which requires drivers to look over their shoulder before turning off for example. “These are all provisions a driverless vehicle must be instructed to observe. Some of them are not feasible. How can a driverless vehicle look over its shoulder? We need to think about that”, he said.

Furthermore, human error had to be taken into account. He asked how trade visitors reacted as pedestrians on a zebra crossing. Most people briefly hesitate, interpret the signs coming from the vehicle approaching them and establish eye contact with the driver. What effect would a driverless vehicle have on a pedestrian’s actions? Could one tell a vehicle to flash a smiling emoji as soon as it braked?

“People are bad, not AI“

Currently 96 per cent of accidents are caused by human error, said Patrick Ayad. But what happens when the technology fails? Will lengthy proceedings ensue arguing who is to blame among the system providers? There is much to be considered, tested and discussed. Bilal Zafar said “we need to be brave rather than bureaucratic to drive AI forward. Nothing will come of it if we keep sorting paper files.”

Zafar described AI as “the biggest opportunity humanity has ever had“. Asked about the possible dangers of AI models, whether fake photographs and texts and driverless vehicles were a high potential risk, he said “AI is instructed by human data. We humans insult each other. We wage wars. People are bad, not AI. Perhaps we must become better people first for AI to be used to our advantage.

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