ITS WEB EXCLUSIVE: Industry leader to return home for ITS World Congress

July 19, 2016

The 23rd ITS World Congress is projected to showcase ITS technologies deployed in 'a more integrated way'

Dr. Peter Sweatman

This October 10–14, thousands of transportation leaders from around the world will descend on Melbourne, Australia for one of the most exciting and prestigious gatherings of the year, the 23rd World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems.

Among those leaders will be Dr. Peter Sweatman, co-founder of ITS consulting firm CAVita LLC, director of the Michigan Mobility Transformation Center and one of the icons of the ITS industry. It will be a homecoming, of sorts, for Dr. Sweatman. Though he’s one of America’s best-known Intelligent Transportation experts, Dr. Sweatman grew up in Melbourne. He took his first steps in the industry after graduating with a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Melbourne and worked in freight accident investigation when ITS was in its infancy. “Just the thought of having so many great colleagues from the U.S., and from Europe for that matter, in my hometown is going to be a big thrill. It’s going to be a great event,” he says.

Dr. Sweatman says North American attendees will see ITS applied in unexpected forms. “They’re going to see those technologies deployed in a different way and probably in a more integrated way, so I think it will be a huge plus. I think that will be a huge draw for folks coming to this,” he says. “There are some very interesting things going on in Australia. For example, one of these programs is based out of Melbourne, and it’s called the Intelligent Access Project. It basically means you can have a more productive truck; it might be a bit longer or it might have an extra axle on it or something like that, subject to certain limitations as to where you’re allowed to operate, and your area of operation through ITS technology becomes subject to audit. There’s been incredible world-leading work done in Australia on the Intelligent Access Project.”

Dr. Sweatman believes that even the most knowledgeable connected and autonomous vehicle experts will find value in Melbourne. “There’s a limit to how many deployments and demonstrations…we’re doing in the U.S., but if you also consider what’s happening around the rest of the world, then we start to get a much truer picture as to how this is all going to work.” In fact, the move toward globalization will inevitably be a hallmark of the event. “We tend to be rolling things out, very fast and very rapidly and then learning from those experiences, and those experiences are being presented every 12 months at the World Congress, so I think that part of the excitement is to come along and see what the three regions (the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific) are actually doing,” he says.

As both an attendee and presenter at the World Congress, Dr. Sweatman is bullish on the role this year’s event will play in the increasingly complex world of ITS. “The World Congress is incredibly successful,” he says, “not only in that role of keeping up with what’s going on around the world, but actually accelerating the process around the world.”

This content was provided by ITS Australia. 

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