Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Network Action on automated mobilities

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Over the past four years, our Mobility Lab has been a core member of the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Network on ‘Cooperative, Connected and Automated Mobility: EU and Australasian Innovations’ (CCAMEU). While the network action is soon to be completed, its impacts will continue to emerge over the coming years.

The network was led by Professor Anthony Elliott and his team members Louis Everuss, Eric Hsu and Ross Boyd from the Hawke EU Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at the University of South Australia. It brought together a consortium of universities and industry partners from Australia, Denmark, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, and Estonia to conceptualise and discuss the automation of mobilities and its diverse social implications in modern societies. The network activities included a set of in-person and virtual workshops and masterclasses before, during, and after the COVID-19 lockdowns as well as individual actions arranged by universities. Workshops in Munich, Copenhagen, Adelaide, Dublin, and Tokyo focused on themes around physical, virtual, emotional, and imaginative mobility in the automation process, and the individual and collective layers in the changing mobility landscapes.

Our lab members Age Poom and Veronika Mooses represented the Mobility Lab at those inspiring events and provided insights to the discussions based on our mobile big data-based research on human mobility, social inclusion, and sustainability. Veronika’s and Age’s presentations in Adelaide and Tokyo, respectively, addressed the spatiality of digital skills in the transition toward automated mobilities, and the perspectives and challenges of using mobile big data for mobility research and governance.

Workshop ‘Transformations in digital revolution: AI, automation, & mobility’ at Keio University, Tokyo (Oct 4, 2022). Age Poom introducing the research at Mobility Lab, University of Tartu. Photo credit: Roman Batko.

Human-technology interactions formed the core dimension of the discussions, addressing aspects such as the mutual relationship of people and AI, choice and power relations, accessibility and inclusion aspects as well as the changes in the quality of life due to automated mobilities. At the kick-off event in Munich led by Professor Sven Kesselring, representatives of automotive industries joined the discussion on autonomous vehicles and provided very interesting insights on the ethical aspects, risks, and expectations of developing and integrating such machines into existing urban landscapes.

Kick-off event in Munich, Germany (May 13, 2019). Organiser: University of Nürtingen-Geislingen. Photo credit: Dennis Zuev.

Also, different approaches to city development were discussed in several network events, most notably in Copenhagen. Two main approaches feature in today’s planning literature, the ones of smart city and liveable city, however, images of those cities barely overlap. Even though the privileges of cars are being questioned more often, modern planning theory still tends to take a technocratic and even car-centric approach. The lecture by Jan Gehl and Tina Saaby in Copenhagen and the following workshop led by Professor Malene Freudendal-Pedersen aimed at finding human-scale approaches to the digital transition of mobilities in urban landscapes. In addition, the role of Big Data in facilitating and directing intelligent mobility systems with accompanying social, spatial, and temporal biases was explored throughout the years.

Workshop ‘Smart and livable city with cooperative, connected and automated mobility’ in Copenhagen (Dec 5, 2019). Organiser: Aalborg University. Photo credit: Age Poom.

As the network activities took largely place during the pandemic, the impact of COVID-19 on mobilities was also explored, particularly in the first post-pandemic in-person meeting in Dublin. The pandemic changed people’s social practices and the use of urban space and mobility choices, creating setbacks for sustainable transportation. Mobility practices and choices were affected by both new regulations and fear, which challenged and still challenges the use of public transportation and shared mobility and increased the use of individualised modes of transportation. How the idea and images of shared mobility have changed during the times of the pandemic, which measures should be taken to redevelop trust towards public transportation, and how to develop urban-rural connectivity by taking advantage of automated technologies are examples of the key issues for future research.

Joyful reunion of the network in the (close to) post-pandemic world (Oct 4, 2022, Tokyo). Photo credit: Anthony Elliott.

Our own network-related actions at the Mobility Lab featured the launch of a public online lecture series on mobility and transport planning for human-scale cities in 2022, a special session addressing automated mobilities at the Mobile Tartu 2020 conference, and valuable inputs to the Mobile Tartu 2022 programme. Those activities featured also the core members of the CCAMEU network, Professor Anthony Elliott and Professor Malene Freudendal-Pedersen, as speakers and discussants. See also our network-related papers from the project’s site.

The recordings of the public online lecture series can be found at
Panel discussion at the Mobile Tartu 2022 conference (June 29, 2022). Photo credit: Lauri Kulpsoo.

Further reading related to the network:

  • Batko, R. (2021). Management and organisation in the age of AI. The Routledge Social Science Handbook of AI. Routledge.
  • Batko, R., Baliga-Nicholson, K. (2019). Digital Innovation as the Key Factor in Changing Organizational Identity into a Digital Organizational Identity. Problemy Zarządzania – Management Issues 4 (84): 39–51.
  • Elliott, A., Urry, J. (2010). Mobile Lives. Routledge.
  • Elliott, A. (2018). The Culture of AI: Everyday Life and the Digital Revolution. Routledge.
  • Elliott, A. (2021). Making Sense of AI: Our Algorithmic World. Polity.
  • Elliott, A., Kesselring, S., Eugensson, A. (2019). In the end, it is up to the individual. A conversation on automated mobilities, social life and innovation between Anders Eugensson (Volvo Group, Sweden), Anthony Elliott (UniSA) and Sven Kesselring (HfWU). Applied Mobilities 4(2): 244–250.
  • Freudendal-Pedersen, M., Kesselring, S. (2016). Mobilities, Futures & the City: repositioning discourses – changing perspectives – rethinking policies. Mobilities 11(4): 575-586.
  • Kesselring, S., Freudendal-Pedersen, M. (2021). Searching for urban mobilities futures. Methodological innovation in the light of COVID-19. Sustainable Cities and Society 75: 103138.
  • Poom, A., Järv, O., Zook, M., Toivonen, T. (2020). COVID-19 is spatial: Ensuring that mobile Big Data is used for social good. Big Data & Society 7(2) July-December.
  • Silm, S., Järv, O., Masso, A. (2020). Tracing human mobilities through mobile phones. In: Büscher, M., Freudendal-Pedersen, M., Kesselring, S., Grauslund Kristensen, N. (Eds.). Handbook of Research Methods and Applications for Mobilities (182−192). Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Special Issue ‘Sustainable Automobilities in the Mobile Risk Society’, Sustainability, 2020–2021, Guest Editors: S. Kesselring, W. Canzler, V. Kaufmann:

The Mobility Lab of the University of Tartu is an interdisciplinary research group that studies human mobility and its associations with society and the environment using mobile (big) data.

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