The transportation system we are used to live with for a 100 years is about to paradigma change at the moment. The new paradigm called Transport as a Service (TaaS), means that instead of using the car like today, but, as with existing ride-hailing or car-sharing services, vehicles will be booked or hailed through an app. But not only personal transportation but also cargo transportation is changing significantly. The leading technology behind this is the software driven autonomous systems, which has been come to intelligent enough to start replacing the human driver or operator. According to the report of Frost & Sullivan (F&S Autonomous Driving & Connected Mobility) the future of the automotive ecosystem is heading toward the integration of multiple domains, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), connected vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and V2X communication. The integration and shift in focus will make software-defined cars to be the essence of connected cars in future. Moreover, as the ecosystem expands, the market would notice extreme competition from both proprietary and open source solution providers.
The self- driving cars depict the most significant advancement in the history of engineering. In 2011, more than 30,000 people died on the roads of the European union and for every death there are four permanently disabling injuries [Reference]. While the EU is committed to increase the safety on roads through various means, self driving cars can reduce or even eliminate the accidents from the roads. Another big change going on in transportation and autonomous systems is about drones. Nowadays, drones are considered an emerging market; their utilities are growing almost daily, providing new education and business opportunities.
At the moment due to growing sales of drones and other remote controlled, semi-autonomous or fully autonomous systems the modern society is facing with the following main challenges in the same way it did at the beginning of automobile era early XX century:
Lack of technical knowledge needed to properly control and maintain drones or other pilotless devices. This leads to fast decrease of the device values due to improper use and lost of money as well as lost of scarce resources used to produce the device.
Lack of operation experience that leads to improper operation and fast loss of the device during the first operation experience, which leads to lost of the device as well as causes safety issues of surrounding objects and people. Unpleasant first experience might lead to reduced trust in technology and technology adoption level in general.
Lack of legal experience of device operation meaning lack of knowledge of the applying legal acts and law. This leads to compromise of public safety and security due to possibility to violate existing regulations of International civil aviation regulations.
Thereby we see an obvious need for wide availability of comprehensive information sources (study material) about drones not only for the professionals but also for the general audience.
It has been reported by several strategies and reports in all partner countries as well as EU Commission that the need for educated and skilled new digital era developers and operators for software intensive systems is increasing dramatically. For example The OSKA study in the sector of transportation, logistics, repair of motor vehicles, completed in the end of 2017 [Reference] has one of the key findings as “Companies are not able to find suitable employees because of low level of job seekers’ IT skills” due the fact that near future driverless cars, smart transportation systems and parcel robots are going to be main elements in transportation system. It is not only that the need is for developers with university degree, but near future skilled workers educated by VET organization must have basic understanding and skills of operating and dealing with self-driving systems, delivery robots, drones and all other new technologies applied into transportation sector.
It is crucial to carry out the project transnationally as the autonomous system and self-driving transportation technologies are developing very fast and there are no well defined standards or procedures how to study or develop the systems. Every country have different regulations, experience and progress even inside the EU. In addition universities, industry and VET organizations are different perspective, knowledge and understandings what are needed to be studies by young people in this domain. This project is trying to bring together different players from neighborhood countries to develop common understanding and practical teaching package for autonomous system. The project is not trying to soled EU wide problem and regulations but develop good practice, which will have practical value and good example for rest of the EU countries.