Smart cities are on the rise globally, with estimations of urban populations set to rise to 5.2 billion by 2050. Smart cities therefore evolve in a number of key areas to improve the quality of life for their inhabitants. Environment, safety, utilities, buildings and transportation all contribute to the level of smartness a city can provide. In particular, smart transport has been the focus of many companies, innovations and technological developments in recent years.
Alongside the QROWD project, there are many other programmes and developments that seek to support innovation surrounding smart transport. One such programme is that of the Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) who have begun the Intelligent Mobility Initiative with start-up accelerator Wayra UK. The aim of this is to drive growth for start-ups who develop and improve technologies used for smart transport.
Recently, the programme announced that eight new start-ups have been selected for inclusion in their smart transport agenda. This involves workspace, mentoring from TSC and Wayra UK for six months, and access to other investors such as governmental agencies and investors. The companies aim to to drive innovation and technological development, particularly in the UK, and offer features such as an on-demand coach service, as well as analytics which can predict driver fatigue. Here is a look at the new start-ups:
- Drivernet: Offers a solution for delivery tracking into stores and aims to be more accurate than current telematics options.
- Safr: Utilises an application, wearable technology and data to predict and prevent accidents caused by fatigue when driving.
- GoMetro: Offers an application that provides information about train delays, changes and company press releases for commuters.
- Cognitial: Infrastructure integrator that uses new technology solutions for driverless shuttle cars.
- Zeelo: Offers a platform for travellers to book an on-demand coach service.
- Synaptiv: Provides an analytics platform with data from a car’s sensors, so clients have a better insight into their customers and can reduce costs.
- Valerann: Looking to develop smart road solutions that can communicate with autonomous cars.
- Cityswifter: Uses previous data and predictive analytics to improve the bus transportation system.
However, it is important to remember that drivers of smart transport and technology are not only found in Europe. The focus and financial incentives of smart cities are apparent globally, and some of the most innovative solutions are sourced on a wider international scale. Signal Labs for example are a start-up based in San Francisco. They created a mobile app to alert drivers of safety hazards with the aim to reduce traffic accidents.
Similarly to Signal Labs, the start-up company HAAS Alert can alert motorists when emergency responders are near, or on call within a certain radius in the city in real-time. Again, this aims to reduce the risks for motorists, as well as enabling emergency services to improve. . The company recently entered a partnership with Waze – a free, real-time crowdsourced app powered by drivers themselves.
Smart start-ups can ultimately be the making or breaking of a smart city. Investment through industry, in conjunction with governmental and project schemes, can fast track innovation and development. As a result, this can trigger growth and improve the quality of life for citizens in such cities. The support and development of smart transport start-ups, projects and general community focused on smart cities is subsequently vital for such growth.