November 22, 2018
In a pilot ‘Civic Tech’ project, London transport regulatory body Tfl, or Transport for London, has joined with leading engineering MNC, Bosch. The project is going to be piloted in a co-working space in the Bosch’s Connectory in Shoreditch from next year. Arun Srinivasan, the Executive Vice President at Bosch UK has this to say about the situation “We believe that the collaboration between Bosch and TfL will enable us to accelerate the development of technologies, products and services that have a positive impact on city life.”
With the original intention of improving the urban mobility conditions in London, the organisations will work together by leveraging their respective expertise and data collection. The firms have also opened the platform for startups to collaborate on the subject. As a spokesperson from Bosch pointed out, “There will be a number of programmes running for startups in the Connectory. These programmes will be around specific mobility challenges and many will have open calls for start-ups to enter. We also welcome direct approaches by small business/start-ups who want to be part of the Connectory community feel they have something to offer that will help solve London’s transport challenges. Get in touch!”
Not only is it a great opportunity for startups in the industry to collaborate, but the collaboration itself can prepare London for the mobility issues that may be coming over the horizon.
According to Statista, a well-known online statistics and market research source, the population in London is forecasted to reach 10.8 million by the year 2041. These stats has already have experts working on the existing and potential traffic issues like additional six million trips per day with conceptual solutionssuch as Flying Taxis and whilstfixes like Uber’s electric cars, and the electric scooter startups provide solace, they appear insufficient without further support from authorities.
During these types of situations, this collaboration can bring the right foundations on which further solutions can be initiated. The opening for startup solutions further contributes to the deal’s appeal as it means that the proposed solutions will not be hindered by the lack of the technical expertise brought in by the selected startups.
At present, the goals of the project have been divided into two main issues , those being traffic jams and poor air quality. These issues formulate the focal centre for the other major objectives like congestion reduction, safer and more eco-friendly vehicles, walking and cycling incentives for the public, and boost for public transportation.
For these purposes, TfL will be providing the datasets and technical knowledge whereas Bosch will provide the space and engineering assistance to the selected Startups so that they can test their solutions in an integrated environment.
The selection of the startups will be done by Bosch, the criteria of which, however, has yet not been revealed. A spokesperson from the Bosch stated that there is no limit on how many startups will be selected for running the pilot of the project. A corresponding PR released by the organisation also pointed out that through the project they also ‘hope to support start-ups to develop a range of smart products and help them identify ways to bring them to market more quickly through open procurement.’
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London has also expressed his optimism on the partnership in the following words “If we are to use data and smart technology to help solve the biggest problems our city faces, it’s crucial we take a more collaborative approach. I see London’s future as a global ‘test-bed city’ for civic innovation, where the best ideas are developed, amplified and scaled.”
If this pilot is successfully implemented we can see more advanced solutions similar to the ones used in Utah’s transportation but in busy central London. Solutions involving IoT are also expected to get explored in the first phases of the project too.
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