Automated and smart mobility demos - a key step towards the European smart city of the future


The Show is a research and demonstration project that will support the deployment of shared, connected and electrified autonomous transport applications in some 20 European cities across a two-year period starting in 2021

The “Smart city” concept is not so new but it certainly gains momentum every day and the first smart city applications and services are already there in many European cities. The aim is to make our cities the place where traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital and telecommunication technologies. Smart transport and mobility applications are therefore a crucial element of smart cities. They basically consist of Intelligent Transport Systems applications that are connected via 5th generation telecommunication links to smart vehicles and infrastructure systems (the so called connected Intelligent Transport Systems or C-ITS). Packages of C-ITS (i.e. different but synergetic C-ITS applications bundled together) will form the smart city mobility applications of the future and will high level provide passengers and freight transport services of “equal opportunity to all citizens” and providing door- to-door mobility. Autonomous (driverless) vehicles will form a natural element of a smart city system and eventually will become their main identifying feature.

A number of real life demos and bundled C-ITS applications are being developed now in Europe aiming to provide results and recommendations for the final smart city mobility landscape. Two of the most promising initiatives developing such applications are the on-going research and real life demos planned by two research projects co-financed by the European Commission in the frame of its Horizon 2020 research Programme. They are, the: Show project (SHared automation Operating models for Worldwide adoption - for autonomous transport applications, and the C-Mobile project (Accelerating C-ITS Mobility Innovation and depLoyment in Europe - for C-ITS applications development.

The Show is a research and demonstration project that will support the deployment of shared, connected and electrified autonomous transport applications in some 20 European cities across a two-year period starting in 2021. The project started in 2019 and is unique in the sense that it is the largest research and demo project ever launched in Europe in terms of both the number of consortium partners and cities involved. It brings together 69 partners from 13 EU countries and during the project, some 70 real-life urban demonstrations of autonomous mobility (use) cases will be deployed. These demos will take place in several European cities among which, Rouen, Rennes, Madrid, Graz, Salzburg, Vienna, Karlsrue, Mannheim, Aachen, Linkoping, and Kista. These, are the so called mega-city applications in which there will be a number of different technological, business and socioeconomic autonomous mobility scenarios satisfying different vehicle types, traffic environments, and key traveler groups. There will also be the so called “satellite” cities which will complement (with regard to technologies, business models, geographical coverage) the mega cities and these are, Brainport/ Eindhoven, Tampere, Trikala, Torino, Copenhagen, and Brno. Finally, there are the so called “follower” cities which follow the other ones without performing any demos in their territory. These are, Geneva, Brussels, Thessaloniki, and Ispra.

In these cities we should expect to see, in the next two years, some interesting real life demos of autonomous transport applications. According to the plan these will include: Integrated autonomous public transport services (e.g. in bus, or metros), autonomous and self-learning Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) services (for hospitals, Universities, shopping centres etc.), autonomous Mobility as a Service (MaaS) applications (e.g. “robo-taxis” for passenger feeder links to public transport stations), convoying – platooning of trucks, and many others. Of interest is also the investigation that this project will make for the most efficient business and operating models for these new types of mobility services.

The Show project management is also reported to develop “twinning” liaisons with similar demos in other countries outside Europe and has formed (or is preparing to form) agreements for cooperation with similar projects in the US, S. Korea, Australia, China, Taiwan and Singapore. The overall project coordination of the Show project is done by the UITP (International Association of Public Transport) and the technical management by the Hellenic Institute of Transport of the Center for Research and Technology Hellas – HIT /CERTH.

The other major development to be reported comes from the research project C-Mobile which is expected to provide and test smart city connected intelligent transport applications. There are a number of associated cities and regions associated which are, Barcelona, Bilbao, Bordeaux, Newcastle, Thessaloniki, Vigo, Copenhagen, and the North Brabant region. The smart transport applications (bundled C-ITS), developed in the frame of this project, are:

  • Vehicle-to-vehicle safety applications such as, emergency brake electronic messages / advanced applications of cooperative (adaptive) cruise control / slow or stationary vehicle warning electronic messages / motorcycle approaching indication (including other road users) / blind spot detection & warning.
  • Infrastructure-to-vehicle safety applications such as, road hazard electronic warnings / emergency vehicle electronic warning / signal violation or vulnerable road user warning etc.
  • Traffic efficiency applications such as, green priority to specific types of vehicles / green light optimal speed advice / dynamic eco-driving / cooperative traffic lights for pedestrians / flexible infrastructure (reversible priority lanes) / in-vehicle signage (dynamic speed limit), etc.

This project is performed by a consortium of 36 partners headed by Applus+ IDIADA (Spain) which is the project manager.

The on-going pandemic of COVID-19 is expected to delay somewhat the above developments (especially the deployment of the real life applications) but when things get back to normal the development and installation of intelligent transport applications is certain to continue in Europe. These, together with the smart city applications in other fields will transform our cities to become more efficient in the provision of services, more environmental and climate friendly, using clean energy, and providing clean – efficient – and autonomous mobility services to all.


Dr. Athanasios G. Giannopoulos
Senior IT specialist
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Dr. Ath. Giannopoulos is an Information Systems (IS) consultant and analyst with special focus on Intelligent Transport Systems applications. He studied Information Technology and business systems integration at Brunel University, London, where he obtained the BSc and MSc degrees. During his graduate studies at Brunel, he followed a special course on SAP and was certified as a SAP ERP 6.0 EHP5 user (Certificate ID: 0008566810). He then pursued PhD research at the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB), Department of Management Sciences and Technology. He submitted his PhD Thesis titled “Exploitation of IT research results and the creation of innovation in the context of collaborative Transport R&D projects” and obtained his PhD degree in 2019. He is currently board member and principal IS analyst at Transeuropean Consultants for Transport, Development and Information Technology S.A. (TREDIT SA) in Athens, Greece. He is the author of 15 scientific papers published in scientific journals or Conferences.

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