On Sunday, the 2008 ITS World Congress kicked-off its biggest event ever in NYC. Guests were treated to a top-notch opening ceremony that miraculously managed to fit in half a dozen speakers and artistic performances ranging from hip hop to opera, violins, ballet and Broadway favorites.
New York City has closed down and renamed 11th Ave. in front of the convention center (name is now ITS World Congress Blvd.) for demonstrations of exotic technologies such as automatic collision avoidance and driverless autonomous vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz revealed their “Mindlab” technology – a method they developed to measure the driver’s brainwaves as they drive. The technology is so new it hasn’t even made it into their advanced F700 research vehicle yet.
New York City will also be showing off their Joint Traffic Transportation Management Center, which among other great achievements, now wirelessly controls 12,000 intersections in real time.
The global cadre of ITS experts now face the daunting task of taking in the staggering amount of information presented in 300,000 square feet of space and four full days of sessions.
After the opening ceremony, a few of the more energetic participants took to Times Square to witness a dubious American icon (MTV) film the finale of its TRL event live featuring the likes of Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, N’Sync, P Diddy, 50 Cent, Ludacris, Nelly and of course the immortal Snoop Dogg. Sadly, where as the ITS congress planners managed to fit five brilliant acts in about an hour, MTV did live as it does on the air – mostly waste time and play as little music as possible. Such is life…
Stay tuned as I cover the juiciest techie details this week with a focus on traffic signal optimization, and ITS and the environment.