The UK has always been at the forefront of transport innovation and manufacturing. We have reached a critical point where manufacturers and governing bodies need to come together to push forward the Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared transport agenda to ensure the UK remains competitive in a global market.
WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult are leading the way in UK Smart Mobility and held the ACES networking dinner event to bring together CEOs, CTOs and senior executives from the transport sector, communications sector and beyond. The evening included talks from Rolls Royce Director, Rob Watson; Ocado CTO, Paul Clarke; Jaguar Land Rover’s Director of Electrification and Andy Palmer, CEO, Aston Martin. It provided a unique opportunity to discuss the opportunities and challenges of ACES technologies, with those who are helping to radically change the way we travel.
Chris Thompson, CEO of market entrant ‘You. Smart. Thing.’ delivered the ‘Shared’ section of the ACES narrative. Chris’s talk zoomed in on how the sharing of real-time information across the mobility supply-chain can be used to balance the supply of next generation transport services with future demand.
You. Smart. Thing. is a new ‘travel assistant’ software platform designed for venue and event operators. The Birmingham-based team developed the system with Transport for West Midlands, funded by the Department for Transport. It enables venues to automatically tailor and offer personalised travel advice to visitors. The system reduces demand on frontline staff, saving time and money, and increases repeat visits to venues by delivering a significantly enhanced customer experience and a ‘sense of arrival’.
The You. Smart. Thing. travel assistant basically replaces Google maps, et al, with a system that allows venues to specify routes for different customer types, and for visitors to subscribe to updates and request 121 assistance if needed, giving assurance that they can make the event.
Using the software, venue and event operators can deliver ‘last mile’ travel options that combine local knowledge with visitors’ specific travel preferences. A personalised journey plan is offered prior to booking or integrated within the booking confirmation process. In turn, this travel ‘demand’ data is shared with local authorities and transport operators without revealing the identity of the traveller.
At scale, across multiple venues and events, transport operators and national agencies such as Highways England can use the data to create a ‘travel forecast’ that can match supply to demand, reduce congestion, improve people-flow through cities and deliver more effective route planning information for antonymous, connected and electric vehicles.
Bulling on initial deployments major venues, the development roadmap for the You. Smart. Thing. travel assistant includes integration with public services, providing intelligent mobility options for workplace management, healthcare, education and community transport in rural areas.
Andrew Steele, Chief Operating Officer at You. Smart. Thing. described the WMG ACES event:
“A catalyst for the travel assistant ecosystem. Partnerships with low-emission vehicle-sharing operators, rail operators, the aviation supply-chain and high-end concierge services at the luxury end of the market have all been discussed tonight.”
You. Smart. Thing. is currently integrating the SWIFT card electronic ticketing scheme for Midlands public transport into its platform and has a vision for multi-modal account-based ‘mobility-as-a-service’ packages, offered through a range of additional financial services and ecommerce partnerships.