The future of mobility begins in Turin

28th November 2018
Lanna Cooper

The future of world mobility begins in Turin, at this, the first edition of VTM - Vehicle and Transportation Technology Innovation Meetings. Piedmont’s capital hosts a business convention attended by the sector’s major players and experts, who will outline the prospects opened up by the current revolution occurring globally within the world of transport and the automotive industry.

Andrea Marinoni, from Roland Berger, looked into the manifold game-changing innovations currently characterising this sector, which can be summed up by the acronym, M.A.D.E. - Mobility Autonomous Digitisation Electrification. Indeed, these are the core issues of this this two day event at the Officine Grandi Riparazioni in Turin.

New mobility models, increasingly advanced self-driving systems, the process of digitalisation of vehicles and information, and the on-going transition to electrical powering for transport uses. These interfacing scenarios emerge within a marketplace that - like the cars themselves - is increasingly connected.

The 260 companies and startups from Italy and worldwide have turned up for more than 2,500 BtoB encounters. The 1,500 accredited visitors have arrived from elsewhere in Italy and from abroad (15 countries, France, Belgium, Spain, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Sweden, India, Russia, Israel, China, US, Korea).

These people are here for the two days in order to review the evolution of the automotive branch of industry, and also to compare notes on projects, ideas and strategies. For 27th November, the VTM programme includes a number of meetings on issues of key social and technological significance. The second day shall be given over to BtoB meetings.

The Piedmont Region and the Turin Chamber of Commerce joined forces as local partners for this event, organised by the specialised international company, ABE - Advanced Business Events, in collaboration with Ceipiemonte.

According to Sergio Chiamparino, the President of the Piedmont Region: “Piedmont is a territory with a longstanding vocation for mobility and transport systems, historically speaking The region boasts considerableknow how in these fields - a strength for our future. Nearly everything that moves mechanically was born in Turin. However, we are also well aware of the fact that the new challenge is knowing how to build mobility systems, so we are working toward making Piedmont, and the region’s intelligent hands, the point of reference for innovation in this sector.”

Giuseppina De Santis, Senior Regional Councillor for productive activities, added: “This is the first time since the era of the Salone dell'auto that Turin has organised a business event whose aim is to showcase local competences. We have all the professional skill sets required to play a key role in future mobility developments. We hope to add the missing links to our production chain, and to provide support to players interested in investing here.”

According to The President of the Turin Chamber of Commerce, Vincenzo Ilotte: “Today, we won the bet we’d made. Turin just had to host such a high calibre international event as this, dedicated to the mobility of the future. This is why we, with the Piedmont Region, spared no effort to bring this first edition of VTM here to Turin.

"As far as we are concerned, the event can already be described as a success, not just because of the top prestige people who have responded to our invitations but also, and indeed above all, because of the sheer quality of the innovations and research presented here, by large international concerns and dynamic, promising startups. Piedmont, with its components activities, currently generates 40% of Italy’s automotive incomes turnover. Piedmont is therefore eager to see itself as the point of reference for the cars of the future - a field in which we already see the first signs of progress.”

Pierpaolo Antonioli, the President of Ceipiemonte, added: “This event dedicated to sustainable mobility should be seen in the light of a much more far-reaching context, within which our territory can assume a role that, historically speaking, is already its own. However, our territory must modernise and upgrade.

"Our VTM event provides an opportunity for us to turn to best account, and to showcase before an international audience, the competences and capacities of an automotive production chain that - today, more than yesterday - has come to include sectors that diverge greatly, whether from the products angle or from the services angle. This is the first step toward what may provide a new lease of life for one of the major sectors within our industrial context.”

Plenary Conference: speakers and issues, 27th November
After the inauguration ceremony, that took place in the presence of regional and municipal institutional figures - The President of the Region, Sergio Chiamparino, the Mayor, Chiara Appendino, the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Vincenzo Ilotte and the President of Ceipiemonte, Pierpaolo Antonioli -, Andrea Marinoni opened the proceedings with a speech on the 'mobility and transportation strategy scenario'.

Immediately afterwards, the debate proceeded with Roberto Fedeli - CEO of Centro Ricerche Fiat S.C.p.A - and Jan Asche - Global Commodity Manager at General Motors. It was concluded that research and innovation had become major competitive factors in the global automotive industry scene.

The acknowledged competences of the Region playing host, Piedmont, within the transport and cars sector were the focus of the debate among Giuseppina De Santis, senior regional councillor for productive activities, Paola Pisano, senior municipal councillor for innovation of the City of Turin, and Dario Gallina, President of Turin’s Unione Industriale.

Keynote sessions took place, coordinated by the deputy research dean of the Politecnico di Torino, Professor Stefano Corgnati. One meeting saw the participation of the secretary general of Euro NCAP, Michiel Van Ratingen, the chairperson and CEO of FEV, Stephan Pischinger, Filippo Brenna manager of NVIDIA and Fabio Moioli (Microsoft). The second keynote session saw the participaion of the executive deputy chair of AVL, Uwe Dieter Grebe, the sales manager at Bosch, Francesco Sanseverino, and Andrea Merlo, the manager of Thales Alenia Spazio.

During the afternoon, the sessions included speeches by Fausto Mozzarelli, performance assessment and verification director at CSI, Ernesto Ciorra, innovation director of Enel, Ken Uchiyama senior director of Denso, Giovanni Maria Gaviani (TEXA), Enrico Pagliari (ACI), Gianfelice D’Ippolito (Comau), Francesco Iennaro (Pininfarina), Lorenzo Sessa (Iren), John Simlett (Ernst and Young), Jonna Pöllänen (MaaS GLOBAL), Gianni Martino (Car2Go), Massimiliano Tellini (from Intesa Sanpaolo’s Innovation Centre), Massimo Martinotti (Italdesign), and Francesco Barbieri (CSI/IMQ).

Connected and self driving
The three key issues to which VTM is dedicated are connected and self driving, electric and hybrid mobility and new mobility.

In regard to connected and self driving, VTM staged a game-changer event here in Italy. FEV and Objective launched two cars with self-drive systems into the traffic on the streets around the venue of this event. After the Decreto Smart Road decree of December 2017, this is the first time Italy has hosted this kind of important test.

Among the companies present in Turin which are engaged in finalising new self-driving systems, we also have Bylogix, presenting its own Computer Vision system with a demonstration of their Object Recognition Technology. Neteer is a startup that has developed a system to monitor the state of passengers (vital parameters such as the heart rate and respiration rate) by means of radar, antennae and microchips placed inside the seats.

Thales Alenia explained how the autonomous navigation software developed for its Rover can be applied within other sectors (e.g. farming and earthwork).

Electric and hybrid mobility
VTM also dedicated much of its space to electric and hybrid mobility, attracting the attention of major Italian and international companies. Enel presented its plan to install thousands of recharge stations in Italy. Mecaprom presented its Epic0 Regis, an electric vehicle for goods transport in urban areas.

Comau looked into innovative solutions, in particular for the production of batteries for electric vehicles. Also showcased at VTM is Blowcar, the prototype by the startup, Soffio B&R, with innovative solutions for reducing weights and increasing exterior and interior safety, as well as load safety, while extending ranges.

New mobility
Lastly, on the new mobility front, VTM hosts international players such as Italdesign (whose stand includes a Pop.Up Next model, a flight-capable modular, electric, self-driving vehicle, with a virtual reality station with Oculus Rift); MaaS Global presents software enabling travel booking with integration of all possible mobility solutions; Anas informs us on how it shall transform the Salerno-Reggio Calabria stretch of motorway into Italy’s first smart road; and Ernst & Young explain blockchain systems to ensure secure data on the new connected vehicles.

In short, the future of mobility begins today within the automotive sector, and within a city such as Turin. Turin and the automotive sector join forces - forcefully. Piedmont emerges once more as 'the place to invest', a fertile terrain and pole of attraction for investments and for industrial innovation.

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