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Flying Cars, Smart Scooters or……..?

Updated: May 23, 2020

Recap Future Mobility Event

Meet Italy, from Scooters to Rockets panel

Pictured (left to right):

Francesco Cantatore (moderator) – Senior Program Director, HNTB, Andrea Vaccaro – System Safety Engineer, Waymo, Makenzi Rasey– Acting Director of Government Affairs, Los Angeles Department of Transportation, Red Smith – CFO, Clevr Mobility, Dr. Anita Sengupta – Co-founder Airspace Experience Technologies (ASX)

On October 10th, MEET ITALY in cooperation with the IIC hosted an event designed to be a window on the future of mobility. An insightful panel of experts (see bios below) has engaged our audience in a journey of discovery of how the mobility landscape may look like in a not so distant future.

Some of the ideas discussed are already in effective deployment such as the smart e-scooters developed by Clevr Mobility. Their solution represents a possible answer to the controversial traditional electric scooter. Self-driving cars are also a reality, albeit still in testing mode in beta markets. Some of the questions related to self-driving vehicles were understandably centered on two major themes: people acceptance and behavioral changes and vehicle response in dangerous situations (i.e. kill the pedestrian or the driver if forced into such a situation). As far as the latter, Andrea Vaccaro explained that it is Waymo’s goal to create a framework that does not lead to such an extreme situation. The current testing and R&D are greatly dedicated to formulate a set of rules that will hopefully prevent the vehicle from having to make such a choice.

Dr. Anita Sengupta’s comments were also very intriguing as she described flying machines that could take off and land vertically making them ideal for urban mobility. Additionally, the short distances required for urban movements would make it possible to operate such flying vehicles electrically. Dr. Sengupta also ventured on the subject of regulations and mentioned the very strict regulatory framework in the aviation space (the FAA having probably the strictest regulatory framework of any agency) which has lead historically to a safe and flourishing industry. In other words, new technologies and modes of transportation should not necessarily fear regulations but instead embrace them and co-operate in their evolution.

Naturally, on the topic of regulations, Makenzi Rasey, the LADOT representative, had a few things to say. She mentioned that LADOT has, as far as traffic, a zero-fatalities target for 2025 also called Vision Zero. It is an ambitious objective, yet doable and certainly pivotal in a city like Los Angeles where fatal crashes have actually risen by 32% since 2015.

See the photo gallery for the event.

Conversations about the future continued in the charming patio of the IIC building where a session of networking and social engagement took place.

For a continued dialogue on the subject and possible follow-up brainstormers, please contact Davide Accomazzo.

Our Panelists’ Bios

Dr. Anita Sengupta – Co-founder Airspace Experience Technologies (ASX)

An aerospace engineer, rocket scientist, and veteran of the space program who has developed technologies that have enabled the exploration of Mars, asteroids, and deep space for 20 years working for Boeing Space and Communications, NASA and Virgin Hyperloop. As co-founder and CPO of ASX, she leads the development of a hybrid-electric, vertical takeoff and landing urban aerial mobility system hoping to revolutionize urban transit, eliminating congestion and reducing the carbon footprint of air travel.

Makenzi RaseyActing Director of Government Affairs, Los Angeles Department of Transportation

As the Acting Director of Government Affairs, Makenzi manges LADOT's engagement on policy and legislation at the city, state, and federal level. She helped to enact the City's dockless mobility pilot program, led departmental advocacy for micromobility legislation in the California legislature, and works closely with the Bureau of Transportation Technology to develop programs and policies for tech-enabled modes.

Red SmithCFO, Clevr Mobility

President and CEO of multiple companies with great experience in managing sales, marketing, finance, strategy, operations, and information technology planning and deployment. In the last two decades he has been involved with location based services and sensor integration including eScooter and eBikes, supply chain tracking and environmental monitoring, and self driving cars.

Andrea VaccaroSystem Safety Engineer, Waymo

A System Safety expert who spent most of his career developing innovative and autonomous transportation systems. Currently at Waymo (formerly known as Google self-driving car program), he previously was Director of Safety & Mission Assurance at Virgin Hyperloop One - a newly proposed super-high speed transportation mode based on a white-paper originally released by Elon Musk. Andrea has also worked in the "traditional" transportation sector for driverless metro projects in Europe and US for Ansaldo STS (now part of the Hitachi group).


Francesco CantatoreSenior Program Director, HNTB

He brings experienced leadership in the delivery of complex projects for the Transit market. He is an expert in System Integration, Rails Systems and Rolling Stock. He has managed large organizations delivering projects with mission critical systems like SCADA, CTC and PTC. Francesco has gained extensive international experience, including working in Italy, Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria.

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