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​The students get to try out e-scooters, hoverboards, electric skateboards and bicycles.  ​
​Photo: Lovisa Håkansson

Micro-mobility on the agenda in IDEA League summer school 2022

​“I think the course was great - I learned a lot! In addition, the interaction with the other students has really strengthened my network, which I think will certainly be helpful when I step into the professional world,” says Yue  Chen, one of the students who attended this year's edition of the IDEA League summer school in "Analysis and Modeling of Road User Behaviour” at Chalmers.
The third edition of the IDEA League summer school in "Analysis and Modeling of Road User Behaviour" took place in September and, just as in previous years, it was the Crash Analysis and Prevention unit at Vehicle Safety that held the baton. 23 master's program students and doctoral students from the five different partner universities - TU Delft, ETH Zurich, RWTH Aachen, Chalmers, Politecnico di Milano – got together for a week to learn more about how road users behave in traffic. Included in the list of participants were students from a range of disciplines – computer science, psychology, geoengineering and vehicle automation, just to mention a few – all of whom were welcomed by course coordinator Giulio Bianchi Piccinini, Associate Professor of human factors in road traffic safety at M2. And it wasn't just the students who, after the pandemic's distance teaching, were looking forward to finally meeting for real.

“This will be my third year as course coordinator, but it is the first time that we can have the summer course on campus, which feels great. And we've made sure to include a lot of social activities in between the lectures so it will hopefully be a fun experience,” says Giulio Bianchi Piccinini. 

For course participant Yue Chen, who otherwise studies spatial development and infrastructure for systems and behaviors related to transport at ETH in Zurich, it was both the course content and the social surroundings that made her apply. 

“To me, the summer school is a good way to meet and develop friendships with people with different educations and cultural backgrounds. And Chalmers, with its reputation as a top-ranked technical university in Sweden and Europe, also attracted me,” says Yue Chen. 

And her classmate Priyanka Dani, Master's student in "Robotic system engineering" at RWTH Aachen, agrees:

“My future plan is to work in the field of autonomous mobility and the summer school felt very relevant for that purpose. In addition, there was a clear advantage in being able to visit Chalmers and experience student life here,” she says.

Experiencing a car crash – free of risk

In addition to lectures on road user behavior, crash prevention and quantitative and qualitative data collection methods in the field, the course also included a visit to VTI, the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute. Here, the students were able to get a sense of what it’s like to try to avoid a collision at high speed - completely without risk.

“This year we tweaked the course program with a visit to VTI, which has some of the most advanced driving simulators in the world. Here you can get the opportunity to simulate really dramatic scenarios that would be too risky to test in reality. But you still get to feel what it would be like to drive a car and suddenly have to brake as an elk crosses the road,” explains Giulio.

And for the students, the field trip was much appreciated.

“It was great! It was a first time for me, and I found it very cool!” says Priyanka. 

“By watching the other students try out the simulators, I was able to learn the principles of driving simulators. And we don't have simulators like these at ETH Zurich,” says Yue. 

From bicycle to electric skateboards
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And during the week-long summer school, there would be more opportunities to test drive a vehicle - also smaller ones. As it was time for Marco Dozza, Professor in Active Safety and Road-user Behavior, to give his lecture on micro-mobility, the students got to test drive segways, electric scooters, hoverboards,  electric skateboards and bicycles - all equipped with sensors to collect naturalistic riding data. The purpose? To gain a better understanding of why crashes happen and thereby also be able to better integrate micro-mobility vehicles into the transport system in a safe way.

“It was fun! I got to test drive almost all the micro-mobility vehicles and also learn more about them from an engineering perspective,” says Priyanka.

“I tested the electric scooter and it was interesting to see the others trying to drive the different micro-mobility vehicles and then get to talk about how they experienced them,” says Yue.

As the week came to an end, the students were able to collect their impressions and lessons learned from the summer school.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course! It was inspiring and informative. It was well-structured, it covered a wide field and the material we got for self-study was of high quality. Furthermore, the interaction with my colleagues really boosted my network which I believe will surely be helpful once I step into the professional world,” says Priyanka.

Text: Lovisa Håkansson

Page manager Published: Wed 28 Sep 2022.