AUSTIN, TEXAS — Mobility and transportation were recurring topics during the interactive panels on which mayors attending South by Southwest (SXSW) participated. The good news was that there was no shortage of new mobility innovations and startups for the mayors to explore at a variety of new events.
The company name HERE may not be familiar to you, but its previous life as Navteq — the mapping company — may ring a bell. HERE uses anonymous real-time transportation data to help cities better plan for and manage traffic. They also help cities with bringing intelligence to infrastructure management by tapping into sensor-derived data from city assets.
Chariot is a mobile ride-sharing app that enables citizens to pool rides in a 14-passenger van to and from work. It’s around the same price point as a city bus, but uses crowdsourcing to create more convenient routes. Chariot was acquired by Ford in 2016 and is currently operating in San Francisco and Austin. One other item of note is that all Chariot drivers are W-2 employees instead of independent contractors.
INRIX is a data-as-a-service (DaaS) company that uses real-time data from a variety of public and private sources as a basis for transportation planning and analysis. At SXSW, INRIX demonstrated the ability to predict parking spot availability through a standard in-car navigation system. One other item of note is that INRIX recently released the top 10 cities that are primed for autonomous vehicle rollouts using its sensor data.
Global automaker Hyundai showcased its mobility solution empowering consumers that own an Amazon Echo. By developing a skill on the Amazon Echo, Hyundai owners can now remote start, lock/unlock doors and much more. We hope the next stop for Alexa is as your in-car assistant.
General Motors (GM) is using Maven to redefine mobility and take advantage of younger driver behaviors by offering GM vehicles as-a-service. Maven’s on-demand car-sharing service, which is like Car2Go, allows drivers to rent time in one of three GM vehicles based on their needs.
With Austin currently lacking Uber and Lyft, there was no shortage of third-party applications attempting to fill this void during SXSW. One such app, with a radical business model challenging Uber, is called Fasten. Unlike most ride-sharing companies, Fasten charges drivers to use their routing service for each drive (around $0.99 per ride) rather than taking a 20 percent or higher cut.
Keep up with the full SXSW coverage from e.Republic, Government Technology's parent company, at http://www.governing.com/civicx.