Ford Motor Company has announced it plans to buy two transportation software start-up companies, Autonomic Technologies, and TransLoc. The news adds to the list of successful start-ups operating in the transport sector at all levels and marks the industry out as a hotspot for innovation.
City infrastructure and micro transit solutions
Autonomic has been leading the way in transportation technology with its city infrastructure communication system, which they named the “Transportation Mobility Cloud”. The system is designed to connect all traffic and public transport in a city with smart transportation services, linked to infrastructure systems such as traffic lights.
The entire system of transportation will be interlinked and in constant communication, coordinating traffic flow, processing charges, and payments, and gathering data. TransLoc specializes in mmicro transitsolutions, breathing new life into public transport models with networks that enable cities to meet the demands on the transit system and schedule effectively.
This is a current hot topic, with major manufacturers, as well as tech giants like Google, all working on their own versions. For start-ups, the focus has been on individual specialist elements that make self-driving cars a reality, such as radar sensors for collision avoidance (Gostwave), artificial intelligence (Cerebri AI) and solid-state lidar laser sensors (Innoviz Technologies) that enable the cars to see in variable conditions and at long range.
Transportation start-ups don’t have to be based on futuristic tech to be successful though. There are successful start-ups across the entire spectrum of transport related business. Malaysia’s TheLorry logistics start-up connects commercial vehicle drivers with clients who need transportation assistance.
As such it employs an element of tech but as a tool rather than a product in itself. They’ve had to change their focus several times, switching between B2B and B2C strategies as the business model developed, but by being proactive, they have not only sustained the business but grown it.
Safety statistics show that despite advances in vehicle safety in recent years, death and serious injury is still an everyday occurrence on the roads. The UK based Trak Global uses telematics systems in vehicles and data gathering to improve safety and monitor individual driver capabilities.
Practical inventions like The World’s Safest Wheel Nut Indicator can also provide a platform for successful start-ups, and the growth of car valeting services in the UK has been fuelled by entrepreneurs who could see that even the most mundane of tasks could be the basis of a good business model.
The transport industry faces many challenges both now and in the future, including congestion, the end of the oil era, new modes of transport and changing infrastructures, and the continual push towards improving driver, road and vehicle safety.
With these challenges comes the opportunity for those with drive and foresight to capitalise on the opportunities presented by changing technologies. Around the world, there is a wealth of talented entrepreneurs able and willing to tackle these issues head-on and answer the challenges of both the current and future needs of the transport industry.