The data that is needed to optimize traffic is called “floating car data.” In order to generate data, a vehicle requires a device to send and receive information. Currently that is still the app user’s smartphone. In the future, though, it could also be the car’s on-board computer, for example. “Various types of traffic data are necessary building blocks for autonomous driving and for cleaner city centers,” Schrödel explains. With self-driving cars that operate using such data sources, traffic jams could become a thing of the past. We would still not be as free as a bird in our movements – but at least we would always be moving forward.
Schrödel and his team have two objectives for the future. For one thing, they would like to expand the UMA concept to other regions in Germany – ones in addition to Wolfsburg and Dresden. Cities and communities could connect their traffic management systems with the smart assistant, as is currently being done in Dresden, in order to manage their traffic digitally. They can actively point out construction sites or road blocks, for example, in order to evenly distribute drivers to alternative routes.
For another thing, Schrödel and his team want to network the navigations system even more closely with other UMA services. Wolfsburg AG also operates the app called “UMA Mitfahren” (or roughly “UMA rideshare”). It is intended to make it easier for users to form car pools. In addition, there will soon be an “UMAnauts” community. Cities and municipalities can use it to create incentives for their residents to use public transportation or car pooling opportunities and to avoid certain roads. That turns UMA into a type of traffic management hub with the goal of making mobility more enjoyable and faster for everyone.