Growing environmental concerns and strict emission regulations are set to dramatically transform the automotive industry and change the way we travel for good. But what’s next for the mobility industry in the 20’s and beyond? MOVE, which describes itself as a place where ‘mobility is reimagined,’ is trying to solve that problem by plunging attendees into a world of air taxis, autonomous vehicles, auto futures, smart cities, location technologies, e-scooters, and more.
The largest mobility event in the world, MOVE is a global stage for transport-focused start-ups and disruptors. Designed to connect new thinking to the world’s most influential companies and investors, MOVE also promises impressive networking potential.
This year’s event took place on 11th-12th February at London’s ExCel centre, and featured talks on 17 stages, with topics spanning everything from smart cities to autonomous vehicles. 880 speakers, 250 start-ups and 5000 attendees were present at MOVE 2020.
What was good?
This wasn’t a traditional automotive show, such as Geneva or Frankfurt, but that was a draw for many. Several start-ups told us that MOVE’s lack of OEMs was advantageous and meant there was space for those on the fringes of the mobility sector. This year’s event provided a platform for solutions around insurance, regulators, energy, legal and finance.
Unlike some other large industry events, MOVE also provided many useful networking opportunities, due to both the broad nature of the show and the calibre of attendees on offer and was described by one person as ‘LinkedIn in real-life’.
Despite its size, MOVE wasn’t too busy, and that changed the dynamic for networking. People generally had more time to talk, particularly useful for early stage companies, and it wasn’t hard to chat to speakers after their presentations.
5 of the best talks we saw at MOVE2020
CEO of Drive TLV, Itay Erel – expertly showcased how they are the leading innovation centre for smart mobility technologies, explaining how they help create successful partnerships between a start-up and a corporate. He spoke about a case study with UVeye, a startup that develops automated inspection systems for vehicles, powered by artificial intelligence and proprietary hardware, and automotive-giant Volvo – which took just 10 months to implement the product in Volvo’s factory from roll-out. UVeye initially launched their deep learning vision detection algorithm, which can find anomalies on the undercarriage of vehicles, for Israeli homeland security checks in 2016. In 2019, they moved away from security to car maintenance, using their technology to alleviate strain and human error from end of product line checks for Volvo – faulty parts and scratches for example - where they used to have three people with 90 seconds to make these checks, they now use UVeye technology.
Humanising Autonomy’s CEO and Founder, Maya Pindeus, passionately took us through how their software predicts the behaviours of vulnerable road users and the likelihood of them being involved in a road collision. Their pedestrian intent prediction platform makes autonomous vehicles safer and more efficient in urban environments. Providing real-time intent prediction, the vision-based technology is fed by a human database from multiple cities around the globe. It can foresee a pedestrian or cyclist’s potential next move two seconds quicker than actual human response, with the ability to reduce 90% of VRU (violence reduction unit) accidents. The company is already working with the likes of Airbus, Daimler and Transport for London.
We sat in on an exciting and thought-provoking talk from Hyperloop co-founder and CCO, Mars Geuze. He said that aviation will most definitely get in the way of Europe becoming emission free by 2050. Hyperloop would connect every major EU city, creating three-hour zero emission journeys. The infrastructure will pay itself back thanks to competitive ticket prices. Mars finished off his presentation with a very good point - Romans were able to build over 400,000 kilometres of paved roads throughout their reign, but Hyperloop needs only 10,000 kilometres for it to connect all of Europe.
Jessica Uguccioni, Lead Lawyer at Automated Vehicles Review, Law Commission of England and Wales and Ismail Ovacik, Chief Designer Exterior, Volvo Trucks gave their views on how legal frameworks will depend on the level of automation we see and whether standards will be set locally or internationally. For semi-autonomous cars, we will start to see how the cars themselves will regulate what the driver/passenger can and cannot do (reading emails, watching TV, etc.). Automated trucks and automated cars face different challenges - in cars, you will presumably always have a human presence, but typically with trucks, they could be used without any humans in them at all. What does this mean for border controls and inventory checks throughout the journey? Jessica’s take on the future of autonomous driving was “hope for the best, prepare for the worst”.
Moovit’s co-founder and CEO, Nir Erez, spoke about how he sees the future of urban mobility and how data is set to be the determinant. Founded in 2012 with the goal of simplifying urban mobility around the world – the company is now a leading mobility as a service (MaaS) provider and the world’s number one urban mobility app. Moovit’s leader believes that data companies will become the operating system, and brains and heart of all smart cities. The app has already amassed 720,000,000 users and is predicting to reach 1,000,000,000 by 2021. At time of writing, Moovit is present in 100 countries and 3,100 cities, with a new city added each day. Although those of us in London are likely to currently turn to Citymapper for the best route home, we need to keep an eye-out for this nifty app as they continue to grow their presence.
5 of the best companies we saw at MOVE2020
BlaBlaCar - Europe’s biggest carpooling company. A regular sight at tech and automotive events, the BlaBlaCar team has done a great job in the past few years to insert itself in the conversations that matter. With 89 million subscribers in 22 countries, the company has, as an investor put it, purely and simply digitalised hitch-hiking in France - contributing to reduce single passenger car usage. They have also widened their footprint in micro mobility - traditionally the battlefield of e-scooter and bike-sharing companies who spread across the world over the last few years, micro mobility can apparently also be a carpooling game: BlaBlaCar’s Director of New Ventures Philippe Cayrol used Move2020 to present the company’s short-distance carpooling app, BlaBlaLines, which enables commuters to share shorter-distance trips.
Kapten - formerly Chauffeur Privé, one of the leading transportation platforms in Europe, and the ride hailing app that cares about its users. Clearly the anti-Uber, the company is taking on the ride-hailing market by storm. Sébastien Oebel, the CEO talked about how mobility service providers need to play their part in purposeful initiatives, and told the story of how they looked at their rebrand with humility by giving a new impulse to their sense of care and by anchoring their commitment to all their stakeholders - from drivers to end consumers - in real, concrete action. As a result, the share of their drivers, who are considered permanent employees as opposed to gig economy workers, is growing.
Scale AI - one of the many AI-driven companies present at the event, Scale’s data labelling platform supports machine learning teams by generating high-quality ground truth data. With an impressive partner list which includes Lyft, Pinterest, and Airbnb, Scale has a huge part to play in our automated future, way beyond driving. Crowned a unicorn last year after raising $100 million, Scale has played a silent part in some of the world’s leading tech companies, which rely on the startup’s resources for their core infrastructure. From video frames and segmenting out individual cars, humans or other obstacles to making common sense language connections to ensure natural language processing models can understand language in context, Scale is becoming the backbone of successful AI applications across industries.
Wagonex, an innovative mobility-as-a-service platform offering cars on subscription, is also a slick marketplace for distribution and fleet management, which helps companies make the most of unused inventory. Wagonex is playing to major growing trends - the end of ownership, the subscription economy and the maximisation of dormant assets to increase margins - and with particular popularity among smaller businesses who use it to future-proof their revenue streams, Wagonex is part of the new wave of service providers looking to keep the automotive industry relevant.
Wrisk - a UK insurtech leader who has created a customisable platform that can be used by automotive, retail, telecommunications and other leading brands, to build mobile-first insurance experiences for their customers. With an impressively innovative and collaborative mindset that led them to sign major partnerships with BMW and the RAC to name a few, Wrisk are working on setting a new standard for insurance which celebrates simplicity, transparency and customer ownership. Their proprietary WriskScore allows people to understand exactly how their insurance premiums are calculated - a much needed tool as the opaque world of insurance becomes more digital and flexible, and the autonomous driving revolution creates liability and ownership shifts between humans and algorithms.
MOVEing on to MOVE2021
MOVE was a useful event and has great potential for the coming years. It could improve slightly by looking to condense the venue size. A smaller space would give the event a bit of an energy boost - 17 stages felt like a few too many and the main stage wasn’t fully utilised most of the time.
Although very handy, MOVE could also look to and improve the overall UX of the event app. At times it was a little tricky to navigate – skipping back to the very first speaker presentation each time you clicked on the timetable.
That said, the networking opportunities were next to almost none.
MOVE’s mission is very relevant for the new decade, and it brought some super interesting companies and start-ups together under one roof. Despite a few tiny hiccups this year – particularly around the event app’s UX and the vast size of the venue – it could continue evolving into better events as the years go on. We’re glad to say that it looks like MOVE is here to stay.