Start-ups that are changing the way we move

Smart Mobility – Start-ups changing the way we move

While decarbonising the transport sector is no easy task, there is no shortage of real and effective solutions. More and more cities are implementing policies that aim at reducing pollution and GHG-emissions, meaning that the era of smart mobility is not far off. The uptake of electric vehicles, innovative sharing platforms, and the advancement of alternative modes of transport will all help mobility become more accessible and affordable, while also reducing the impact on the environment and climate. Creative approaches to infrastructure, public planning, logistics, user behaviours, vehicles and other modes of transport are key to a well-functioning and sustainable mobility sector of tomorrow.

One of dena‘s (the German Energy Agency) focuses is the growing demand for mobility. This is why dena promotes alternative fuels and technologies as well as innovative mobility concepts, advocating energy-efficient structures within the transport sector. Be sure to check out the different initiatives around mobility here and read the recently published “Backbone of the Energy Transition” article here.

The Helsinki Approach – A smart and integrated transport network

Throughout the world innovating mobility strategy and policy is garnering more attention and increasingly becoming a priority. Among the standout emerging smart mobility cities, which includes Columbus, Singapore, Copenhagen, Barcelona and Tokyo, Helsinki is leading the way. Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori has set the goal of becoming a carbon-neutral city by 2035, and smart mobility will certainly play a major role in this shift.

In Helsinki, which is a SET’20 partner and has become a hub for smart mobility solutions, the “Last Mile project” was carried out as a three-year pilot targeting the development of sustainable mobility solutions for tourists, residents, and commuters. Successful outcomes of this project include innovations like cycling tours with audio navigation, smart parking for shared-use cars, ‘Uber for boats’ and local boat rides designed for tourists as well as a network of shared-use cargo bikes, ride-sharing alternatives, and a smart pedestrian crossing that increases safety. Extensive vendor and government support was crucial in supporting start-ups in transitioning their ideas from concept to tested and proven solutions, many of which are still active today.

The Road Forward

Now more than ever investors and innovators across the globe are rushing to develop cutting edge smart mobility platforms and services. Smart mobility presents a vast field for development full of opportunity and potential. Innovative mobility services are certainly on track to continue seeing growth; travel spending is estimated to generate $270 billion in revenue by 2040, $150 billion of which in profit for providers.

Start-ups changing the way we move

The SET’ 20 finalists in the Smart Mobility category are onto some tremendous innovations. It would certainly be wise to keep an eye on EcoG, Ponera Group and Transition-One going forward. Be sure to check out all of our past winners and finalists and our SET100 list.

EcoG provides IoT operating system and all the software components needed to build and develop an EV charger. Furthermore, EcoG brings a straightforward solution for developing and integrating services for those chargers. As a result, EcoG enables building a viable business model out of EV charging.

In addition to being SET’ 20 finalists, EcoG also participated and won the New Energy Challenge in 2019.

Ponera Group has developed a unique logistic solution based on an innovative design of pallets’ system which decreases packing costs by minimising the transport inefficiencies. The flexibility of this innovation makes it applicable to wide range of industries.

Ponera won a direct ticket to the Climate Launchpad Global Final 2019, participated in the IMD MBA start up challenge and were invited to the Innosuisse Coaching Program in 2019.

Transition-One converts thermal cars into modern cars: electric, connected and affordable. Transition-One supports clients in their transition to electric mobility for a cleaner planet. They developed a 4-hour conversion process guaranteeing quality and performance at an affordable price.

Check out Transition-One founder Aymeric Libeau’s recent interview with Genius UTT shedding light on the start-ups history and most recent developments.

SET Alumni

Three SET alumni start-ups, Motiontag, Bodawerk and Einride, are also taking matters into their own hands seeking to revolutionise future mobility.

SET’ 18 finalist MotionTag uses machine learning to analyse smartphone sensor data in a battery efficient way. Through algorithms, MotionTag reliably identifies where, when and how users travel. The start-up detects passively, fully automatically and in near real-time ten different transport types.

MotionTag COO, Fabien Sauthier was recently interviewed by “On the Go” podcast to discuss how cities are leveraging mobility data and tracking COVID-19. MotionTag also contributed to the recent article “4 futures for urban mobility post-lockdown” with Growth from Knowledge (GfK).

SET’ 19 winner Bodawerk is an innovation and manufacturing company with the vision of becoming the main provider of E-mobility solutions for the African mobility and logistics sector. They focus on the manufacturing of new electric motorcycles based on the common motorcycle model Bajaj Boxer 100 as well as the conversion of existing bikes by exchanging the petrol driven power train with an electric one. Furthermore, they assemble Lithium-Ion battery packs and rent them out in a subscription based business model to the motorcyclists.

Bodawerk were recently featured in a video report by Deutsche Welle entitled “Uganda: Kampala gears up for e-mobility“.

SET’ 19 finalist Einride offers a unique service: a complete road freight transportation solution based on all-electric, autonomous vehicles. Capable of level 4 self-driving, Einride’s “Pod” has no driver’s cab but can be remote-controlled by an operator when appropriate. No driver’s cab – and no driver – means increased loading capacity, greater flexibility, increased safety, lower operating costs, and optimised energy consumption, allowing the Pod to run solely on batteries.

Einride have won a variety of awards and prizes, most recently the Edison Award for Nextgen Logistics and Transportation. They have also recently partnered with Lidl and Oatly to transport goods in Sweden via electric truck, saving over 430 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.


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