Connected Transport: Beyond Uber

As of this Monday, the 25th November, ride-hailing firm Uber lost its licence to operate to London.  They initially lost their licence in 2017 however, extensions have been granted twice. Uber are appealing the decision made by Transport for London (TfL) and whilst doing so, they can continue to operate.  Uber is a global player in the transport industry and London is one of its top 5 markets with around 45,000 drivers in the city. Many people will now be asking themselves, if not Uber, what else?

How else can I hail a ride?

Many of us are accustomed to using an app to book a car for travel.  There are rivals to Uber in operation such as Bolt, Kaplen and Kabbee to name a few.  All provide a similar service.

If you want to do your bit for the environment, travelling as part of a group is a good idea.  ViaVan, created by Via, a leading developer of shared rides technology, and Mercedes-Benz Vans, launched in London in 2018.  The service operates like an on-demand bus. Using an app, passengers select their pick-up and drop-off locations. The algorithm used by Via’s technology allows multiple users to share the same vehicle by directing them to a nearby corner for pick-up, acting like a virtual bus stop.

What if a ride-hailing service isn’t right for you?

Not everybody has a car, or wants a car, but there are times when having one comes in very handy.  This is where car-sharing schemes might be worth considering. Zipcar is such a scheme, and operates globally.  In the UK they have more than 10,000 cars across various cities.  Using their app, you simply enter your departure postcode. The app then provides you with a choice of car models.  Once chosen, you are directed to the location of the car and using the app, are able to unlock it. The keys are stored in the glove box and you are free to drive away!

Getting around with a reduced footprint

Our carbon footprint is a source of concern for many of us and for that reason, alternatives to cars are worth exploring.  Travelling by bus is easier than ever before since the introduction of smart technologies. Apps allow users to plan journeys in advance, purchase tickets and keep track of real-time travel information such as bus tracking or disruptions to travel.  It is hoped that before long, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) will be in place aligning all types of transport so that one ticket or subscription will allow passengers to travel by taxi, bus, train, bicycle, or even autonomous pod. Integrating cellular connectivity makes sense for all of these applications, not just from a mobility point of view, but also as resilience, security and reliability of service to drive real-time data are all key.

Across the world, public bike hire schemes are in place.  In Barcelona, a monthly subscription system known as Bicing allows members to use bicycles from over 420 stations throughout the city.  In the UK there are many hire schemes such as Santander London, Hourbike and Yobike.

Mobility as a Service

Decentralisation models using IoT and mobile payment technologies mean that all of these modes of connected transport can be accessed and paid for anywhere, using an app or a connected payment device.

Low-power, low-data intelligent transport applications will soon be supported by NB-IoT, and a 5G roll-out will start to enable autonomous vehicles on a much bigger scale.

So.. what of the future?  ‘Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!’

Well.. not just yet! Flying cars aren’t quite on the cards and we won’t be emulating the Doc by installing flux capacitors in our vehicles just yet, but the future of transport is exciting.

Electric pods or Fleets of Autonomous Vehicles that are Electric and Shared (FAVES) with speeds up to 25kph for smaller models and 50kph for larger shuttles are currently in road-test phase across the globe.  Some pods may be able to cover a minimum of 40km from one charge, and they could be used in a variety of situations, providing transport between locations, a connection between stations and airports, hospitals, workplaces, university campuses etc.

There is no doubt that autonomous vehicles are in our future and that they will change the way humans get around. Emerging cellular technologies such as 5G and NB-IoT will play a significant role in the global scalability of connected autonomous vehicles, as they open up new applications that previously have only been possible under test conditions. To find out more, download our whitepaper ‘Optimise Enterprise IoT & Mobility with eUICC’ and read our Smart Mobility blog series.

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