April’s top stories: Daimler and Bosch automated driving, Kenya and Uganda AfDB loan

Daimler and Bosch revealed plans to advance development of a fully automated and driverless driving system, and Kenya and Uganda were due a loan from AfDB for upgrading 118km section of road. Roadtraffic-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from April 2017.


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Bosch and Daimler to develop driverless driving system

Global automotive company Daimler teamed-up with Bosch to advance the development of a fully automated and driverless driving system.

The two companies have agreed to develop software and algorithms for an autonomous driving system, which would enable fully automated (SAE Level 4) and driverless (SAE Level 5) driving to the urban roads by the start of the next decade. 

As part of the new project, both companies will be sharing their expertise to build the new autonomous driving system.

AfDB offers loan to Kenya and Uganda for road construction and upgrade

The governments of Kenya and Uganda were set to receive a loan from the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) for upgrading an 118km section of road to better connect the two countries.

Works will see construction of the 32km Eldoret town bypass in Kenya. 

Of the $253m loan approved buy AfDB, the Kenyan Government would receive $147.3m, while the Government of Uganda would get $105.7m.

Zebra introduces SmartPack Trailer solution for logistics industry

Zebra Technologies launched SmartPack Trailer, which provides real-time operational visibility for transportation and logistics industry. 

The company claims that its technology has the potential to reduce operational costs, as well as improve efficiency in loading trailers along with load quality, staff training and safety.

SmartPack Trailer offers a portfolio of solutions that would create a smarter and connected distribution network to help public and private carriers of freight and parcels across ground and air transport modalities in order to make real-time informed decisions that improve loading operations.

PORR completes Heijmans Oevermann acquisition

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PORR Deutschland’s subsidiary PORR completed the acquisition of German road construction company Heijmans Oevermann.

Last month, PORR signed a purchase agreement to acquire Heijmans Oevermann for €60m and it has been approved by the concerned competition authorities.  

PORR anticipates that this acquisition would strengthen its presence in traffic, as well as building construction sectors in Germany.

ST Kinetics to build and trial autonomous buses for LTA

Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA) signed a partnership agreement with Singapore Technologies Kinetics (ST Kinetics) to develop and trial autonomous buses in the country. 

The agreement was signed in order to support the efforts of the Committee on Autonomous Road Transport for Singapore (CARTS), and accelerate development and deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs) to improve land transport systems in the country.

Prior to this agreement, LTA has signed agreements with three other companies. These comprise Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) for developing and trialling autonomous bus technology, as well as with Delphi and nuTonomy to perform autonomous mobility-on-demand trials.

Highways England to begin £100m repair works on M5

Highways England (HE) began major concrete repair and waterproofing works this month on the Oldbury viaduct, between junctions 1 and 2 of the UK motorway. 

The £100m scheme to repair a viaduct on the M5 in the West Midlands will be undertaken by HE as part of a major government investment to build a modern and resilient road network. 

HE explained that the structure, built in the early 1970s, is still safe to travel, but work needs to be carried out in order to strengthen and make it more resilient for the future.

Baidu introduces new autonomous driving platform

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Chinese-American web services firm Baidu unveiled its new project called Apollo, which has been designed to enable its partners to develop their own autonomous driving systems for their vehicles. 

Baidu took the name ‘Apollo’ from the lunar landing programme.

By July, the company intends to launch its autonomous driving technology for restricted environments; and by the end of this year, it will be sharing the technology with cars running autonomously in simple urban road conditions.

Scottish Government to open 'missing link' on M8 motorway

The Government of Scotland opened a section of road on M8 motorway, which is expected to cut the travel time between Glasgow and Edinburgh. 

The so-called ‘missing link’ is reported to have been completed five days ahead of the schedule. The new seven-mile road will run between Newhouse and the Baillieston region Glasgow city. 

The westbound carriageway of the new M8 will open to the traffic on 23 April and the eastbound carriageway will be opened a week later.

World Bank approves $60m to improve rural roads in Cambodia

The World Bank agreed to provide funding of $100m to Cambodia, with 60% to be spent on improving rural roads in order to resist harsh weather conditions, and the remaining 40% used for improving secondary schools.  

The majority of funding has been allocated for improving the rural roads, as the development works were not being executed effectively in rural areas because of poor road conditions.

Rural roads will be improved under the South East Asia Disaster Risk Management Project, which has been designed to improve connectivity of rural communities.

Victoria to build West Gate Tunnel for cyclists and pedestrians

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Australia's Victoria Government revealed that the West Gate Tunnel Project would see creation of 14km upgraded cycling and walking paths to help ensure safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

The project work will also include construction of a new 2.5km veloway above Footscray Road.

It is reported to be the first project where cyclists and pedestrians will have a separate path from Werribee to the Central business District (CBD) in Melbourne.