Skoda AUTO Digilab has come with various services and programs to support commuters and aid in transporting people around a city such as Citymove, BeRider and hoppygo. Citymove is a single application that provides data on parking, commuting and travelling around Prague, it provides the user with information about the best possible route to take. BeRider is an electric scooter/moped sharing network where users can hire an electric scooter/moped. Hoppygo is a peer to peer car rental service which allows users to rent other peoples’ cars. This year ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab played host to the global online ‘COVID Mobility Race’ hackathon.
The event took place on June 4-7 and this year’s competition theme was dedicated to the current challenges facing the automotive industry as a result of Covid-19. A few questions that were addressed were; ‘how to move people around cities whilst following stringent social distancing measures?’ ‘What options are there for car buyers to virtually view their dream car?’ And ‘what will be the role for digital mobility services in the future?’ 52 teams from 19 different countries came up with surprising and innovative answers to these questions, including the movmi team!
#CMR2020: Skoda AUTO DigiLab – Covid Mobility Race 2020
The winners of the COVID19 Mobility Race 2020 will have their ideas and technology employed by Skoda Auto DigiLab, to improve the retail experience and commuting services for potential vehicle buyers in Europe, India, China as well as across the globe.
Similar to what we have found in our COVID19 Task Force, the need of the hour is to create a secure and safe environment for potential car buyers, car users and commuters. This is achieved by making best use of digital platforms and leveraging them for digital retail, B2B/B2C logistics, sanitation and encouraging commuters/tourists back to public spaces. For the purposes of achieving the above, there were 7 key challenges that teams were given to hack at the event were:
- Buy it online – Virtual showroom
- Deliver it fast – BeRider for B2B
- Keep it Clean – UV-C disinfection lights
- Come and Visit – Incoming tourism support applications
- Create a new normal – reclaim public space & invent mobility alternatives
- Innovative digital solutions for Indian automotive market
- Free Challenge
Based on the results and the winners, it was clear that the focus of automakers is on improving automotive retail and playing a role in public transit.
Companies such as Volke Mlada Boleslav, Xenon Automotive India, hacker team Tryskaci and the overall winner of the race Matter, all focused on digital showroom and virtual retail solutions making best use of technology to reduce the contacts that occur during the vehicle purchasing process and make best use of tablet screens, VR and AR to provide customers with a dealership experience at home.
Hacker team GoDeliver created a “gig economy” on demand delivery platform that allows users to register as couriers and take closest unused shared mobility vehicle such as scooters, bicycles or cars to quickly deliver items such as food, groceries and e-commerce goods.
Hacker team MotionPass made use of the vehicle infotainment system to allow users to directly pay for city services and vehicle related services such as tolls, parking and fuel, while Squad-A from China has created a multimodal transport network which uses Skoda electric scooters to help people commute within the city and uses shared cars from Skoda to connect the city with the suburbs as well as tourist places outside the city limits. They believe this service can also help people move away from private vehicle ownership, while also reducing the burden of public transit.
Another hacker team called ctrl+alt+COVID came up with an idea where they use feed from surveillance systems and computer vision to identify how populated a park or mall is and provide the user with a notification for them to decide if they would like to visit that location or not.
movmi normally helps clients figure out how they should launch a new service but for this event we decided to pitch our own idea under the “Create a new normal” challenge. More people are using private mode of transportation to commute for the fear of getting infected in the process increasing the congestion and pollution around cities. According to Apple Mobility Trends Report (July 5th 2020), public transit in Italy is 31% below the baseline, while driving is 62% over the baseline and in France, public transit and driving has seen a 3% and 47% increase respectively, compared to the baseline. I was leading the charge and we focused on two problems: finding a zero emission vehicle that can be shared yet allows for social distancing.
movmi has a lot of experience in working with shared mobility clients (50+) and launching services, so we went through our research database, dug into our past experience and our partner network. What we came up with is a micromobility solution with a twist:
An electric pedal assisted micro mobility fleet that is enclosed and capable of carrying a single person in addition with groceries and luggage was chosen as a solution for this event. We also tailored the solution to the city of Prague, which is a city heavily reliant on mass transit, has narrow streets and hilly terrain. This meant our vehicle of choice needed to handle hills and be nimble enough to manoeuvre the streets of Prague.
That is why we decided to pitch the Veemo vehicles from Velometro for the fleet.
Veemo provides a safe as well as “social distant” mode of transportation in addition to all the benefits a shared micromobility fleet brings: affordability, convenience, and zero emissions while still being fun to ride in the rain.
The Israeli team from high-tech company Matter took the winning spot at the ‘Covid Mobility Race’ with their 3D virtual showroom technology which will now be supported by ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab. The spectrum of projects ranged from online viewing of new and used vehicles, innovative disinfection options, shared mobility, logistics and infrastructure concepts, to new business models in relation to social distancing. Even though there was one winning idea, every team that participated spent four days and nights creating, developing and sharing new ideas that could potentially change how we design and provide transportation services, on a global scale, in the future.
Guest article written by Balakrishnan Venkata who has a postgraduate in Automotive Systems Engineering, with experience in market research and strategic consulting, who has a strong interest in vehicle dynamics and low-carbon transportation, particularly electrified vehicles.