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Mobility and Aerospace
The Mobility Seers Why a software company can already see the future of transportation. Text EVA WOLFANGEL / Photos ANNE-SOPHIE STOLZ
Software from the PTV Group shows mobility scenarios for cities and logistics companies, and calculates better paths into the future.
Paulo Humanes, the PTV Group’s manager in charge of business development and new mobility, stands in the new mobility lab at his group’s headquarters in Karlsruhe. Featuring five monitors, a projection table,
and a wall-sized screen, the room functions as a control cen- ter that can take visitors on virtual tours. First stop: Barcelona. “What do you think, how long should passengers have to wait before being picked up by an autonomous electric car?” asks Humanes. Visitors are asked to assume the role of mayor and decide how the residents of this European metropolis should be able to get around by rapid, safe, and environmen- tally friendly means of transportation. “How soon in advance should they have to order the car?” And, “Should they be able to get in anywhere, at any street corner, or only at specified
stops?” There’s quite a bit to decide.
But when all the key data are determined, the future un-
folds in front of viewers’ astonished eyes, in the form of an interactive scenario. A trip from any given point to the city center, such as the famous La Rambla shopping street? No problem. The screen on the wall shows the precise route— and what else is moving in the city at the same time.
Developing realistic urban mobility scenarios is the core business of the PTV Group. The three letters stand for Pla- nung, Transport, and Verkehr (traffic). “We are developing
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into a global platform for mobility management,” says Humanes. That includes examining not only current states of mobility but also everything that will change in the future. For example, con- structing a new bridge, or holding a major event for more people than usual at a particular location, will have an impact on many other parts of a city. The same applies to new mobility provid- ers like Uber and Moia, whose ride-sharing concepts also affect traffic. “Cities are complex and sometimes arbitrary entities,” says Humanes. Yet it is still possible to calculate how they move. “Forty years ago, PTV was already sure that technology would change mobility.” That’s when the company was founded as a spin-off of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). It has since grown in every way, and today is active in 128 countries and 2,500 cities. Some 15,000 people use its software.
And more than one million delivery truck drivers are guided by software that is based on simulations from PTV. Thanks to algorithms and historical data it can predict when recipients can probably be reached—and uses this point in time to cal- culate routes that avoid unnecessary mileage. “We lower CO2 emissions by 40,000 tons every day by this means alone,” says Humanes. Other criteria are also considered, such as current changes in traffic patterns and specifics of the goods being de- livered. Are tomatoes going to one supermarket, and frozen food
“Logistics specialists are saving 40,000 tons of CO2. Every day.”
Vice President, Business Development and New Mobility, PTV Group
In dialogue
Every city is different, says Paulo Humanes. He and his team there- fore develop individual strategies for transport and traffic.

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