“Connected vehicles are the solution to urban congestion.” Chris Nielsen, CEO, Electric Cab North America

The Smart Cities Summit, returning on the 19th and 20th of September at the Business Design Centre, will cover the Internet of Things ecosystem and its impact on towns, cities and smart citizens. The two day conference and exhibition will bring together enterprise, public sector and service providers to gain insight from industry heavyweight speakers.
One of these speakers, Chris Nielsen, is the founder and CEO of Electric Cab North America. Chris entered the world of urban mobility in 2008 when he realised the need for short, crosstown transportation providers within the City of Austin Downtown Central Business District. Starting with a single vehicle, he has since grown Electric Cab into the largest for-­hire fleet operator of its kind in the United States.  
Chris, who will be discussing ‘The Future of Urban Development’ on the 20th September, took some time to complete the Smart Cities Speaker Q&A:
Please outline your role in smart city developments?  
We provide micro-transit solutions to dense urban cores connecting passengers to mass transit providers for that critical first/last mile connection with our fleets of electric vehicles.
What are your key highlights of advanced urban living? 
Our mobility platform is emission free, quiet, and has a high passenger turnover rate which significantly reduces the traffic congestion and air pollution in urban environments.
What do you consider to be the best ways to involve citizens in smart city developments? 
Provide the best products and services and the citizens will adopt them, simple as that.
While citizen data is essential for shaping future city services, what are your thoughts on how and when it should be used? 
At Electric Cab, we provide dashboards to our clients that track ridership, demographics, point of origin/destination, and other data points in real-time. Having this information allows policy makers and influencers to make informed decisions utilising up to the minute data.
How do you think information-sharing should be encouraged across departments and verticals, to foster collaborative planning? 
Idiosyncrasies should be completely eliminated to allows for cross platform collaboration.
Which connectivity options have you considered/chosen?
We utilize Ultra-Wide Band, 4G LTE, WiFi, and DSRC
How is technology developing to support vehicles and transport of the future?
Connected vehicles are the solution to urban congestion.  We don't need to re-invent the wheel, we need to change how said wheels operate to increase efficiency and reduce gridlock.
How is smart technology addressing climate change concerns?
Electric vehicles have come a long way toward market domination, stay tuned!
How far will automation go in the smart city? 
I'll go ahead and say it: full autonomy in an urban environment is a long ways away. It's a fun toy, but the practical applications are still a long ways away.  Obstacles like urban canyons distort even enhanced GPS, lira doesn't work in the rain, snow, fog, or dust, and camera based systems are susceptible to distortions by shadows, tricks of the light, and color schemes.  Partial autonomy with vehicle platooning or "wagon training" (as we say in Texas) can be deployed instantly, but for the near future there will always need to be a human in control of the vehicles. Urban environments are extremely dynamic and have far too many variables that engineers
Where do opportunities lie for future city developments? 
Infrastructure is critical for smart city deployment.  Without UWB positioning nodes and seamless data connectivity, the future of urban mobility and connected vehicles cannot move forward. 

About Smart Summit London

Smart Summit is a 2 day conference and exhibition covering the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem and its impact on the digital society.

Now in its 3rd year, the event features Europe's leading Smart Home Summit and a further 5 tracks all designed to compliment each other.

With over 180 visionary speakers, gain a unique insight from industry heavyweights and hear case study examples from major contributors.

Make sure you are present in London on the 19th and 20th September for THE Smart IoT event of 2017.