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Thursday, 30.05.2024
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  • Smart mobility forms part of Hong Kong’s broader Smart City effort, which the government first announced in 2014
  • The government released a Smart City Blueprint in late 2017, which was updated in 2020 as Smart City Blueprint 2.0

Hong Kong’s decade-old “Smart City” ambition has sparked the development of new programmes and fresh investments in a range of green and more efficient modes of transport, according to delegates at the Smart Mobility Forum on Friday.

“Under the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong 2.0 published in 2020, it is the government’s ambition to embrace innovation and technology to build a world-renowned smart Hong Kong, characterised by a strong economy and high quality of living,” Secretary for Transport and Logistics Lam Sai-hung said at the forum. “Smart mobility is particularly critical to smart city development.”

As part of the city’s smart mobility push, Lam told the forum – organised by InvestHK and supported by the South China Morning Post – that the government has been rolling out initiatives based on the city’s smart mobility road map.

Recent smart mobility efforts in Hong Kong include the development of so-called sky shuttles, as well as the deployment of hydrogen-powered double-decker buses and driverless trucks.

Lam indicated that the city is currently looking at the feasibility of deploying autonomous vehicles, each with space for more than 10 people, to serve certain fixed routes like mini buses, with trials to start this year.

Smart mobility forms part of Hong Kong’s broader Smart City effort, which the government first announced in 2014. The government released a Smart City Blueprint in late 2017, which was updated in 2020 as Smart City Blueprint 2.0.

The city’s recent smart mobility efforts underscore the government’s plan to achieve cheaper, faster and environmentally friendly travel in the city, while integrating existing modes of public and private transport with advances in the sector.

Hong Kong ranked 19th in the Smart City Index 2023, released last April by Swiss business school Institute for Management Development. That was up from 33rd spot the last time the list was drawn up in 2021.

At Friday’s Smart Mobility Forum, InvestHK head of innovation and technology Andy Wong said the Hong Kong government had already launched policies and programmes – including the Green Tech Fund and New Energy Transport Fund – to help develop the city’s green and smart transport infrastructure.

The director of BYD’s Light Rail Transit Institute, Li Liangliang, said the city’s plan for sky shuttles – electric-powered, elevated driverless rail transit systems – would cover areas where subways cannot be built.

BYD, which replaced Tesla last year as the world’s largest EV maker, has accumulated the expertise to make the project a success in Hong Kong, Li said.

Citybus, which launched the city’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker bus, aims to operate a full fleet of zero-emission buses by 2045, according to Adam Leishman, chief executive at Citybus owner Bravo Holdings.

Samuel Sun, a senior vice-president at Westwell Technology, described Hong Kong as an ideal place for establishing smart transport projects.

Westwell, a Shanghai-based artificial intelligence-focused logistics company, has already put driverless trucks in use at Hong Kong’s port.

Sun pointed out that Hong Kong serves as “the most important transport hub in the entire Asia-Pacific region”.

Azapa, a Japanese solutions supplier for EVs, is currently seeking local partners in Hong Kong for joint projects, according to Yang Weijia, the firm’s director of business planning.

At the same forum, Alec Curley, a director at consultancy Jacobs, said Hong Kong is already the “envy” of most parts of the world in terms of public transport.

Still, the city must step up development of new infrastructure to achieve its smart mobility aspirations, according to Dennis Cheung, a director at Beijing-based UISEE Technologies. The firm has targeted use of its autonomous driving technology at the Hong Kong airport.

To be sure, the city needs additional and more powerful charging facilities to encourage greater EV adoption, according to Jake Tse, general manager of energy management at NaaS, China’s leading charging service provider.

The Hong Kong government will cease the new registration of petrol and hybrid vehicles by 2035. As of December 2023, the city had 76,395 EVs, which made up about 8.3 per cent of the total number of vehicles in the market, according to data from the Environmental Protection Department.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Kelly Le

Quelle/Source: South China Morning Post, 01.03.2024

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