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Top 10 Mobility Industry Trends & Innovations in 2021

Our Innovation Analysts conducted an exhaustive analysis of 3.321 solutions and present the top 10 Mobility Industry Trends & Innovations in 2021. Discover impactful industry trends, promising startups & emerging companies, and our Global Startup Heat Map in this article!

The future of mobility is shifting to environmental-friendly, connected, autonomous, and personalized commute. To stay on top of the mobility industry trends, manufacturers explore ways to create smart automated vehicles. Building vehicles for the future, from autonomous, connected, electric, or hybrid models, require cutting-edge technology and processes. Tools like big data and concepts like shared mobility have become an important part of building a smart city and contribute to decarbonization goals. In addition, newer trends such as large-scale electrification and mixed reality (MR) also find numerous applications in the mobility industry.

Innovation Map: Top 10 Mobility Industry Trends

Using the StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 1.379.000+ startups & scaleups globally, we looked at innovation in the field of mobility. For this research, we identified 3.321 relevant solutions and present the Top 10 Mobility Trends along with 20 highly relevant solutions for each of them. These companies were chosen based on a data-driven startup scouting approach, taking into account factors such as location, founding year, and relevance of technology, among others. Depending on your specific criteria, the top picks might look entirely different.

The Innovation Map below visualizes the major mobility industry trends and showcases two hand-picked startups for each.

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Tree Map: The Impact of Mobility Industry Trends

The Tree Map below illustrates the top 10 Mobility industry trends that will impact companies in 2021 and beyond. Startups and Scaleups are working on developing new autonomous and connected vehicles that will increase the efficiency and reliability of mobility. Large-scale adoption of electric mobility is set to play a key role in countries’ decarbonizing their economies. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and solutions such as micromobility aim to ease the pressure on urban roads by managing traffic congestion. The increasing use of mobility solutions also prompts the development of smart infrastructure to provide charging stations and other connectivity technologies. These mobility industry trends further see the growth of AR-based services as well as additive manufacturing of whole vehicles or parts.

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Global Startup Heat Map: Mobility Startups & Emerging Companies

For this analysis, we used a data-driven startup scouting approach to identify the most relevant solutions globally. The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights the global distribution of startups & emerging companies that also include the 20 promising examples out of 3.321 relevant mobility solutions. Depending on your specific needs, your top picks might look entirely different.

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Top 10 Mobility Industry Trends in 2021

1. Autonomous Mobility

Autonomous driving technology has always been one of the most promising areas within the mobility industry and it continues to grow. This top mobility trend aims to minimize human negligence and errors to create safer roads. Comprehensive AI algorithms now take over the task of driving with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to push the industry towards level-5 autonomous vehicles. Fleets of AVs expand the scope of first- and last-mile commute and make public transportation safer and more efficient. Artificial intelligence, combined with smart sensors, accelerate advancements in the mobility industry.

Holomatics develops AI-based Autonomous Driving solutions

Chinese startup Holomatics provides autonomous driving solutions based on artificial intelligence and automotive industry technologies. The startup provides software and hardware platforms, multi-sensors integration, and intelligent decision making. Holomatics delivers Level-3.5 production-ready autonomous driving functions in China. Its Xuanyuan platform meets research and development (R&D) requirements and integrates with additional sensors & hardware devices to meet developers’ requirements for autonomous driving systems. The startup’s technology offers a layout from vehicle wire control and multi-sensor technology to the upper-layer automatic driving algorithm modules. In this way, Holomatics enables vehicle manufacturers to incorporate advanced autonomous driving systems in their offerings.

Trieye offers Advanced Sensing Technology

Trieye is an Israeli startup that develops advanced sensing technology for autonomous vehicles. The startup uses complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors that enable shortwave infrared (SWIR) capabilities. The semiconductor-based design enables the low-cost scalability of sensing technologies and SWIR image data, further allowing for visualization at night and in all weather conditions. The short-wave infrared cameras potentially improve driver monitoring systems and offer more insightful image data. Further, the startup uses existing Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms to solve the low-visibility challenges that AVs and ADAS currently face.

2. Internet of Things (IoT)

Vehicles exchange data with a central hub, as well as each other, through cellular, WiFi, and satellite communications. Previously, IoT was mostly used for entertainment and convenience but recently the focus is shifting to maintenance and safety functionalities. There are various ways to enable connectivity in mobility, for example, “built-in” with embedded OEM solutions or “brought-in” with smartphone-based apps. IoT connectivity enables easy tracking of vehicular data for various use cases such as insurance, driver safety, predictive maintenance, and fleet management. Sharing vehicular data helps not just the individual customer, but overhauls the entire mobility ecosystem.

Gluon provides a Vehicle IoT Platform

US-based startup Gluon provides a platform for an interconnected network of vehicles. The solution serves individuals and businesses to monitor, track, tune, and diagnose vehicle issues. The Gluon platform uses IoT, cloud technology, AI, and Blockchain to connect automobiles with each other. Customers self-diagnose their vehicles, schedule repairs, tune their vehicles for optimal performance, and regulate their usage metrics. In addition to traditional forms of payments, Gluon also offers businesses the flexibility and security of paying with or receiving cryptocurrency payments. For this, the startup issues its own utility token for consumers to use within the platform or through any third party that accepts it.

V2X Network builds a Vehicle-to-Everything Network

British startup V2X Network offers a vehicle-to-everything (V2X) platform for autonomous transactions that combines geo-networking and caching to enable low latency, real-time communication. The platform runs on distributed ledger technology (DLT) and allows for a high degree of scalability. The startup uses enterprise-grade encryption to provide users with control over their data and enhance security and privacy measures. To facilitate the developer community, the V2X network provides a software development kit (SDK) for data integration into different environments. The startup also offers remote diagnostics, predictive failure warnings, fleet management, and energy usage analysis.

3. Electric Mobility

To accelerate the growth of e-mobility and promote sustainable mobility, advances have to be spurred in electric drive solutions, EV charging, and infrastructure, as well as data analytics and security. Despite the numerous benefits of electric vehicles to the environment, there still remain many hurdles for their adoption, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Startups globally develop solutions to enable the widespread adoption of EVs by providing efficient batteries and charging infrastructure. At the same time, emerging companies are manufacturing electric vehicles of all sizes to streamline the logistics sector and reduce harmful emissions.

Einride manufactures Electric Trucks

Swedish startup Einride manufactures a fully electric and autonomous vehicle. The freight-hauling electric truck is called the Einride-pod. The truck is a level-4 autonomous truck with remote control capabilities. The Einride-pod travels 200km on a fully charged battery. It is available in four different variations and all of them eliminate the need for steering wheels, pedals, and windshields. The first two variations come with a top speed of 30 km per hour and two others with a top speed of 45-85 km per hour. This advanced AV and infrastructure support provides sustainable electric transportation for the logistics industry.

Lordstown Motors produces Fully-Electric Pickup Trucks

US-based startup Lordstown Motors makes an all-electric pickup truck. The truck, EnduranceTM, is designed to be a sturdy work vehicle with fewer moving parts compared to traditional commercial vehicles. The pickup features a 4-hub electric motor to provide a four-wheel drive and is capable of traveling more than 250 miles (400 km) on a single charge. The truck features a hub motor, incorporated into the hub of a wheel, and also directly controls the drive. The startup provides integrated software monitoring and adjusts each wheel every millisecond to optimize performance, range, efficiency, and battery pack performance. The telematics system provides a wide array of data for then improving fleet management.

4. Mobility-as-a-Service

Integrating various modes of transportation into a single mobility service presents a user-centric approach to mobility. Mobility-as-a-Service offers value-added services through the use of a single application to adopt and maintain a user-centric approach. Customers use a sole payment channel instead of multiple ticketing and payment operations, allowing for convenience and efficient planning. MaaS also introduces new business models to operate different transport options, reduce congestion and remove capacity constraints. Among the multiple benefits that MaaS offers, easy route planning and simplified payments are the keys that make this an emerging mobility trend.

Cartrek develops an Automated Vehicle Sharing Platform

Cartrek, a Russian startup, develops a shared mobility platform. The startup offers hardware and information technology (IT)-systems for car rental, as well as car and bike-sharing. The startup provides an automated process for renting cars through hardware installed into the cars. The supporting software further allows customers to make real-time reservations and access global positioning system (GPS) route data. Additionally, the platform serves as a fleet management tool to remotely manage the status of vehicles. The car rental software provides tracking and telemetry to business owners to enable real-time car rental management.

Beam offers Shared Mobility solutions

Singapore-based startup Beam focuses on e-scooters to promote shared mobility in the Asia-Pacific region. The scooters use an aviation-grade lightweight aluminum frame. The e-scooters are particularly customized for sharing, safety, reliability, and durability for commuters. Users discover the nearest Beam scooter on a smartphone app and park it in public spots after the ride is over. Further, the shared-mobility platform offers a sustainable alternative to short-distance rides and helps reduce traffic congestion in cities.

5. Micromobility

Micromobility is gradually gaining in popularity across the world for its convenience and environmental benefits. It is a powerful tool to tackle vehicular greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase access to cheap transportation. Micromobility solutions are also fuel-efficient and do not use fossil fuel-based energy. Bicycles, which are conventionally popular for urban commuting, also help solve the first and last-mile commute & delivery challenges. But e-bikes, being lightweight and faster than bicycles, are attracting more city-dwellers to switch to a more convenient form of daily commuting.

Yulu builds a Dockless Electric Vehicle

Yulu is an Indian startup providing electric two-wheelers to reduce traffic congestion conditions in urban India. The Yulu App uses machine learning (ML) algorithms to efficiently manage vehicle demand and supply. The solution features dockless electric vehicles powered by IoT technologies. In particular, the startup offers Miracle and Move, two micromobility options that are powered by GPS, general packet radio service (GPRS), and Bluetooth technologies to offer a safe ride in urban areas. The bikes have a maximum speed of 25 km per hour.

Raine One provides Shared Micromobility solutions

Australian startup Raine One offers electric scooters that reach speeds of up to 50 km per hour. A lightweight design, coupled with a high powered motor, makes it easy to climb across hills. The E-scooter has poly-shock suspension and aircraft-grade material that makes it suitable for different road conditions. With a recharge speed of fewer than 2 hours for a minimum of 20 km, Raine One, offers a sustainable alternative for transportation. An in-built GPS guides riders to their destination and helps locate the scooter at any time. Additionally, the integrated locking system makes it easy to park and keep the vehicle safe from theft.

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6. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is gaining in functionality and applicability with the refinement of machine learning (ML) algorithms. AI creates new applications in the mobility industry with robotic automation and advanced data analytics. Particularly, AI is the base for level-4 and level-5 autonomous driving, image recognition, predictive maintenance, and in-vehicle experiences. These solutions guide self-driving cars, manage fleets, assist drivers to improve safety and improve services such as vehicle inspection or insurance. AI also finds applications in automotive manufacturing, where it accelerates the rate of production and helps reduce costs. As in many other industries, AI is also part of the top mobility industry trends.

German Autolabs enables AI-Assisted Driving

Germany-based startup German Autolabs offers a digital AI assistant with advanced natural language capabilities, as well as gesture recognition technology, for drivers. In addition, the startup develops an AI-powered voice assistance platform for fleet management. The startup’s platform features an over-the-air (OTA) updateable digital assistance service for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier 1 companies. This solution is useful for global fleets and manufacturers to augment their drivers with voice assistance, helping parcel fulfillment specialists and long-haul logistics, as well as mobile sales and service teams.

Apex AI develops an Automotive Electronic Control Unit (ECU)

US-based startup Apex AI enables mobility companies to implement complex AI solutions. Their Apex.OS runs on automotive ECUs and offers robust, reliable, and secure application programming interfaces (APIs) to develop autonomous mobility solutions. ApexAutonomy offers modules to build 3D perception, localization, and control algorithms to enable autonomous vehicles. Further, the MARV.Automotive is a configurable and extensible data management platform that reliably transmits data from the vehicle to the cloud.

7. Smart Infrastructure

Smart infrastructure is widely acknowledged as the foundation for building smart cities. It extends not only to smart roads, automated parking, and IoT but also to all the various signals and signs along the roadside that provide information to drivers and AVs. AI-based driving systems utilize a broad range of advanced sensors to understand their environment and make data-driven decisions. For example, sensors factor in road signs and other visual information to make an optimal driving decision. Startups develop many solutions for smart infrastructure and smart roads to enable vehicles to communicate with their environment and reduce the burden on drivers.

StreetSense provides IoT for Transportation Management

StreetSense is a Dutch startup digitally mapping every street online. StreetSense’s platform senses various aspects of transportation infrastructure using transport networks, as well as the flow of people and goods through the networks. The startup manufactures a device to continuously monitor traffic and road surface conditions. Each StreetSense device contains five sensors, namely a magnetometer, an accelerometer, two temperature sensors, and an electric conductivity meter. A power bank is also attached to the device with the potential of collecting and transmitting live data for up to 3 years. The device makes use of IoT connections for data transfer and utilizes minimal energy.

Anadue builds a Telematics Platform for Connected Cars

Irish startup Anadue combines real-time connected car telematics with location transactions. The platform collects journey-related data from connected cars, micromobility vehicles, and other sources to generate actionable insights. The startup supports the local government responsible for transportation to make data-driven decisions. Anadue’s Location Intelligence Analytics products serve micromobility operators by showing them where to locate their vehicles and maximize the number of rides per vehicle. Cities moving towards smart infrastructure deploy this platform to monitor mobility services’ compliance with permit conditions and local bylaws.

8. Big Data & Analytics

The mobility sector continuously generates a significant amount of data. Curating, comprehending, and generating insights from such unstructured data is critical to succeeding in the fast-paced mobility industry. Big data analytics and AI enable startups to develop data processing and analysis solutions to manage and understand large volumes of data. This helps mobility startups with fleet management, predictive maintenance, as well as monitoring and tracking of vehicle data. For example, big data provides the necessary real-time data and support to companies providing a platform for road safety and management.

Roadeo creates Big Data solutions for Road Safety

Dutch startup RoadEO is developing a comprehensive data collection and analytics tool for road quality monitoring performed by both the public and private sectors. The mobility startup leverages globally-available vehicle data and in-vehicle sensors, as well as earth observation satellite data, to create a big data pool. RoadEO makes this possible by generating, combining, and processing novel data sources. The data infrastructure arranges the analysis and interpretation using AI for enabling predictive road maintenance and quality monitoring. As a result, the big data solution improves road safety and rider comfort in urban areas.

Newton Technologies offers a Virtual Driver Assistant

US-based startup Newton Technologies constructs a platform to improve road safety. With the help of ML algorithms, the startup analyzes big sensor data, global positioning system (GPS) data, and external data, as well as data on road safety. The virtual driver assistant provides drivers with personalized recommendations, fine-grained safety analytics, safer routes, and real-time warnings. Newton Technologies specializes in connected driving, personalized risk models, and safety mapping.

9. Augmented & Virtual Reality (AR/VR)

A big challenge for the mobility industry is reducing road accidents due to human negligence. Startups develop AR solutions to restrict the number of distractions for a driver. For example, heads-up displays (HUDs) limit the attention of drivers from their dashboards to their windshields by providing the required information on their windshields. AR-based applications also allow automotive companies to provide simulations when the customers or cars are not present in a showroom. These applications improve customer experiences by allowing car owners to remotely inspect their cars. Startups also work on AR/VR solutions to ease the complications encountered by a technician during maintenance.

VisualARise builds Holographic AR

US-based startup VisualARise builds 4D imaging holographic AR displays for vehicles. It displays navigation data and safety warnings on the windshield. The display incorporates 3D holographic, AR markers, smart objects, and camera-radar-lidar fusions for detection and tracking objects around the car. With a detection range of more than 300 meters around the car, the startup creates a 4D high-resolution image. VisualARise also offers simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) technology to track vehicles with infographics.

Holoride offers In-Vehicle Extended Reality (XR)

German startup Holoride changes everyday journeys by combining car data and XR. The startup develops a dynamic backseat VR experience that matches the movement of the car using car sensor data. Holoride uses XR, IoT, and AI to create an elevated in-vehicle experience. All visual impressions are supported by real-time physical feedback of the vehicle and things a traveler sees get more intense and immersive. Additionally, the technology uses navigational data of travel route and time, combining this with vehicle data.

10. 3D Printing

Startups and emerging companies are providing 3D printing services for creating various automotive parts. Additive manufacturing with different materials also allows for designing versatile components and spare parts. These include materials that possess a variety of properties like elasticity, conductivity, and heat resistance, all of which have automotive applications. Automotive companies use prototyping of parts or full-scale designs for multiple purposes, including for testing forms and shapes. 3D printing of such prototypes involves considerably lower costs than actually fabricating the design. This opens new opportunities for startups to test new material combinations with low-cost multiple iterations, thus enabling rapid prototyping.

Rapid DMLS enables 3D Direct Metal Laser Sintering

Indian startup Rapid DMLS offers metal 3D printing of functional components layer-by-layer using 3D-CAD data as the input. The startup’s technology produces parts with complex geometry using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). This process allows printing parts with lattice structures which in turn reduces the weight while still maintaining the required strength. Weight reduction is highly useful in aerospace and manufacturing industries looking for lightweighting technologies. Additionally, the monolithic design increases the life cycle of the part. Rapid DMLS intends to assist post- 3D printing and inspection to improve the quality of parts.

Upwego provides 3D Printing Software

Dutch startup Upwego offers an online solution to design a car based on customer preferences. It prints car components according to its use-case, rather than focusing on manufacturability. The startup aims to print seats, body, dash, center console, and hood for mobility manufacturers. Upwego provides possible variations of a certain design, that can be printed at once, to determine the most functional design.

What does this mean for Mobility companies?

The innovation areas outlined in this research on the top 10 Mobility Industry Trends scratch the surface of what we found during our analysis. Autonomous, shared, electric, connected, and multimodal mobility solutions are bound to significantly impact cities and industries in the near future. Identifying new opportunities and emerging technologies to implement into your business early on goes a long way in gaining a competitive advantage and becoming an industry leader.

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