Emerging transportation trendsmeet the growing demand for autonomous operations, digitalization, and sustainability. The industry is increasingly adopting driverless vehicles. Startups develop semi and fully autonomous cars with advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), light detection and ranging (LIDAR), and computer vision. Drones, robots, and driverless trucks enable autonomous last-mile deliveries. Large-scale electrification solutions are accelerating the development of charging infrastructure and innovative batteries. Other transportation trends include innovative solutions that utilize artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), and blockchain deployed to optimize supply chain management. Further, businesses explore ways to automate logistic operations by adopting transport software and analytics platforms. Newer trends such as mobility-as-a-service (MaaS), and smart shipping also find numerous applications in the transportation sector. The focus is to not only improve the overall efficiency of transport operations but also to reach the ultimate goal of sustainability with minimum pollution.
Innovation Map outlines the Top 10 Transportation Trends & 20 Promising Startups
For this in-depth research on the Top 10 Trends & Startups, we analyzed a sample of 5 424 global startups and scaleups. The result of this research is data-driven innovation intelligence that improves strategic decision-making by giving you an overview of emerging technologies & startups in the transportation industry. These insights are derived by working with our Big Data & Artificial Intelligence-powered StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 2 500 000+ startups & scaleups globally. As the world’s largest resource for data on emerging companies, the SaaS platform enables you to identify relevant startups, emerging technologies & future industry trends quickly & exhaustively.
In the Innovation Map below, you get an overview of the Top 10 Transportation Trends & Innovations that impact companies worldwide. Moreover, the Transportation Innovation Map reveals 20 hand-picked startups, all working on emerging technologies that advance their field.
Top 10 Transportation Trends
- Autonomous Vehicles
- Green Energy
- Electric Transportation
- Artificial Intelligence
- Internet of Things
- Mobility as a Service
- Transportation Management System
- Smart Shipping
- Last Mile Delivery
Tree Map reveals the Impact of the Top 10 Transportation Trends
Based on the Transportation Innovation Map, the Tree Map below illustrates the impact of the Top 10 Transportation Trends. Startups and scaleups are developing autonomous vehicles increased lane capacity and independence. EVs present a promising mobility opportunity. Eco-friendly ships that are powered by battery, wind, solar energy, or use fossil-fuel alternatives are gaining a more competitive advantage. The use of AI in transport ensures driver safety and optimizes truckload. Blockchain is another trend increasingly being used for asset tracking, payment security, and transaction recording. Further, autonomous inland vessels using advanced sensor technology to navigate independently is one more major trend. Businesses use software solutions like a transport management system to track updates of product deliveries and delays. These act as a decision support system based on data analytics and insights. The transport industry trends also see the growth of on-demand MaaS services for consumer convenience.
Global Startup Heat Map covers 5 424 Transportation Startups & Scaleups
The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights the global distribution of the 5 242 exemplary startups & scaleups that we analyzed for this research. Created through the StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, the Heat Map reveals high startup activity across the US, Europe, and India, followed by the Asia-Pacific region.
Below, you get to meet 20 out of these 5 424 promising startups & scaleups as well as the solutions they develop. These 20 startups are hand-picked based on criteria such as founding year, location, funding raised, and more. Depending on your specific needs, your top picks might look entirely different.
Top 10 Transportation Trends & Innovations in 2022
1. Autonomous Vehicles
Transport vehicles account for significant pollution and traffic congestion, especially in big cities. One solution to these issues is the adoption of autonomous vehicles and systems. Self-driving cars use sensors, LIDAR, and automated safety features to navigate roads. They deploy camera technology to read road signs and see in high resolution. AI algorithms recognize objects on roads, guiding the vehicles on how to perceive their environment. Autonomous vehicles increase road safety and reduce harmful emissions. Another major transportation trend includes the commercialization of delivery drones, which are useful to transport medical supplies, food packets, and more, directly to even remote locations. Robotic or drone deliveries also assist the elderly and enable rapid emergency response. Further, driverless trucks bring greater efficiency to the trucking market and directly address driver shortage challenges.
Minus Zero manufactures Self-driving Cars
Indian startup Minus Zero develops fully autonomous cars for tricky roads. It uses nature-inspired AI algorithms for image recognition on roads. The algorithms predict the behavior of surrounding objects in real-time and accordingly plan suitable routes. Intuitive decision-making ensures vehicular safety and reduces accidents due to negligence. Further, the startup deploys computer vision for object detection instead of expensive LIDARs. This makes the vehicle more economical and allows higher frame rates for faster perception. Moreover, its driverless technology does not rely on lane marking for road mapping, ensuring accurate detections even on poor road infrastructure.
NuPort Robotics develops Autonomous Trucks
Canadian startup NuPort Robotics automates trucking via its proprietary navigation system. It equips trucks with high-tech sensors that prevent accidents and enable fuel monitoring. The retrofit robot-as-a-service (RaaS) system enables truck automation for middle-mile transportation. It incorporates an autopilot feature for conventional trucks, which increases driver and vehicle safety on roads. The startup’s technology enables the autonomy of level four and level five, allowing the movement of trucks between distribution centers and warehouses.
2. Green Energy
Green energy in transport includes all transport modes, alternative fuels, and technologies that reduce the negative impact on the environment. Eco-friendly vessels have precedence over conventional vessels because of reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. Ships are incorporated with energy-efficient propulsion systems and a streamlined hull design to reduce friction during navigation. Further, alternative fuels such as hydrogen, liquefied gas, synthetic fuels, and more, are used in marine and aerial transport to reduce harmful emissions and pollution. Moreover, electric vehicles transport goods in a sustainable mode without requiring any fuel. Trains also provide a green alternative by carrying huge volumes of goods over long distances, thereby reducing the number of vehicles on the road.
Unleash Future Boats designs Zero Emission Electric Catamarans
German startup Unleash Future Boats develops CargoOne, a zero-emission electric truck on water. The truck solves the problems of transport with low water levels and allows the transportation of large quantities of goods without harmful emissions. CargoOne allows digital communication not only between boats, but also between the land and water infrastructure. It automatically loads products on docks, which eases operations and improves efficiency. Further, the startup builds FutureOne, an electric boat for the transport of people and products. It is powered by green hydrogen and fuel cell technology. Using such fuel alternatives, Unleash ensures sustainability by eliminating the emissions of polluting gases for maritime vessels.
Tracks offers a Carbon Visibility Platform
German startup Tracks offers digital tracking of vehicular fuel consumption using AI. It creates a digital twin of trucks that analyzes and predicts their fuel consumption. It ensures accuracy while calculating emissions by tracking consumption-based data directly from the transport vehicle. Accurate predictions facilitate effective decarbonization in freight, dispatch, and procurement. Moreover, it measures Scope 3 emissions, which are a business’s indirect emissions such as those from suppliers or business trips. These contribute to the majority of a business’s carbon footprint but are difficult to measure. This way, the startup ensures carbon visibility in the supply chain.
3. Electric Transportation
Large-scale electrification is a major trend in the transportation industry. Electric vehicles (EVs) emit fewer greenhouse gases (GHGs) and air pollutants as compared to petrol or diesel cars. As EVs require electricity to recharge batteries, they eliminate dependence on conventional fossil fuels. Moreover, EVs offer better performance due to electric motor efficiency with less noise production. With the increased adoption of electric cars, startups work on improving the charging infrastructure. Vehicle-to-grid (V2G), fast-charging, mobile charging, new battery innovations, and many more such solutions facilitate wider acceptance of EVs in everyday commute and delivery operations. Air transport also witnesses an increase in electrification via electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, electric air taxis, and drones. Startups are working towards reducing the negative impact of air travel on the environment.
Faction builds Autonomous Electric Vehicles
US-based startup Faction makes driverless electric vehicles for micro-delivery and micro-mobility. Its EVs are compact, making them suitable for traffic-congested urban roads. Their small size not only makes them more economical but also reduces emissions and energy consumption. It also enables riders to drop off where needed without having to worry about parking space availability. Moreover, Faction utilizes clean energy for manufacturing, thereby adding to sustainability.
Infinite Mobility makes Solar-powered Electric Vehicles
Norwegian startup Infinite Mobility manufactures solar-powered electric vehicles for urban mobility and last-mile delivery. It designs right-sized vehicles to tackle traffic congestion. It ensures a minimal space footprint and offers a sustainable alternative to larger vehicles that cause excessive noise and air pollution. The vehicle’s body is integrated with solar photovoltaic cells that generate electricity to power the EV. The EV also enables charging when stuck in traffic, thereby enhancing passenger convenience.
4. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence makes transportation more efficient by predicting delays in traffic flows. AI algorithms enable object detection and recognition for the navigation of autonomous vehicles. Machine learning is utilized in driver behavior analysis to determine driver drowsiness and improve road safety. AI-powered route optimization speeds up the delivery of goods. It digitally matches the demand and supply of stocks, thus automating freight operations. It also reduces traffic congestion and accidents. In the shipping industry, AI improves navigation safety and facilitates autonomous vessels. Additionally, it ensures the safety of commodities via real-time tracking and theft detection.
Coros enables AI-powered Cargo Tracking
US-based startup Coros tracks cargo based on AI. It deploys advanced optics and computer vision to facilitate visibility in cargo transport. It automates cargo scanning for easy and hands-free operations. Based on machine learning algorithms, it alerts operators in case of misloads and logistical errors. This way, the startup prevents late deliveries and loss of packages. It also leverages AI to audit warehouse facility plans, thus giving a comprehensive evaluation of the facility’s assets.
Trucksters optimizes Trucking via AI
Spanish startup Trucksters provides an AI-based long-distance full truckload (FTL) transport service. It equips FTL trucks with sensors for real-time monitoring and visibility. Based on its proprietary relay system, the startup reduces the transit time of fleet transport. Its AI-powered technology identifies and plans safer routes for trucks. It also interchanges truck heads in a way that allows drivers to sleep comfortably at home, instead of in trucks. This improves the work safety and quality for the driver. The startup also reduces carbon emissions and operational costs.
5. Internet of Things
The Internet of things (IoT) makes the transportation industry smarter. IoT, along with embedded sensors, gathers vehicular data to track the condition or performance of transport vehicles. IoT devices in traffic congestion systems predict and redirect vehicles to alternate faster routes, speeding up the delivery. This reduces congestion resulting in less energy consumption. Moreover, the use of IoT in vehicles allows monitoring of fuel levels, driver safety, vehicular health, and more. Connected cars impose speed limits depending upon the nature of the traffic, which assists in preventing accidents. This ensures a smooth flow of transport vehicles and improved road safety.
Eranext develops a Fleet Telematics Device
Indian startup Eranext develops a telematics device for fleet vehicles. The device diagnoses engine and vehicular health for predictive maintenance. It provides real-time updates of the temperature, speed, and fuel levels of the vehicle. This enables cost analysis and resource optimization. The solution uses machine learning to monitor driver behavior and detect accidents. Additionally, it provides a prior intimation of traffic conditions and plans routes accordingly to ensure vehicular safety on roads.
Soar Robotics advances Vehicular Connectivity
US-based startup Soar Robotics builds vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity technology for autonomous vehicles and robots. It works on an AI-enabled cellular modem that is integrable into the existing vehicular communication infrastructure. Using deep neural networking, the startup enables vehicles to connect to other vehicles via vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-network (V2N), and more. It also facilitates integration with various protocols such as 4G, 5G, wi-fi, or LTE. This optimizes latency, throughput, range, and reliability of the connected network. Another solution, nodeConnect, simulates the performance of wireless networks to determine the coverage and capacity needs of vehicles on the road, ensuring the safe operation of autonomous vehicles.
6. Mobility as a Service
Like other industries, the transportation industry is also working towards improving consumer comfort and convenience. The use of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) ensures an on-demand provision of transport services. It consolidates different digital channels to enable users to plan and book for multiple modes of mobility through a single platform. It simplifies payments by offering a subscription model and pay-as-you-go model. Moreover, MaaS facilitates users to combine public and private transportation, thereby giving them the flexibility to choose optimum transport modes. It discourages private ownership of vehicles by offering services like carpooling, on-demand cabs, bookable intercity travel, and more. Fewer vehicles on roads cause lesser emissions, lesser pollution, and reduced accidents.
bloXmove creates a Mobility Alliance
Irish startup bloXmove provides an aggregator mobility-as-a-service app. Its app connects fleet operators, bikes, scooters, public transportation providers, and corporate mobility managers to facilitate passengers’ travel with a single ticket. It builds a decentralized ledger platform based on the Ethereum blockchain and Corda. The platform verifies the passengers’ data for booking allocation, settlement, and billing. Unlike conventional fragmented mobility, the startup’s approach enables collaboration among different transport operators, allowing them to provide an improved customer experience.
Tranzy presents MaaS for Public Transport
Romanian startup Tranzy provides a MaaS mobile app that tracks public transport vehicles. The application uses the data provided by the global positioning system (GPS) of public transport. This ensures accurate tracking of buses and trains, giving users an idea of the arrival time. The startup enables faster commute by displaying multiple nearby station options to passengers. It also indicates real-time traffic congestion and vehicular blockages, providing users with alternate paths for route optimization.
Blockchain is still a developing technology that improves visibility in the transport sector. It allows real-time asset tracking for precise planning of operations. Its decentralized structure enables transparency and prevents deceitful transactions from taking place. Blockchain-based smart contracts facilitate the successful exchange and settlement of goods. Moreover, blockchain ensures payment safety. Besides, it efficiently integrates various documents involved in the transport or logistics processes.
ChainGO Tech empowers Blockchain-based freight
Spanish startup ChainGO Tech creates blockchain-based software for intermodal freight transportation. The software collects necessary logistical documents in one place. It automates documentation using optical character recognition (OCR) technology, which in turn reduces time delays and errors. Furthermore, blockchain technology introduces transaction transparency and document immutability. This ensures the document’s safety for accurate transport operations. The collaborative structure of the software also improves information flow between stakeholders.
dexFreight offers Smart Contracts
US-based startup dexFreight provides a blockchain-powered collaborative network for handling shipments. It connects the shippers, freight brokers, and carriers using smart contracts. The platform also matches users with shippers based on the most suitable loads for their equipment. It enables smart carrier selection by finding the right truck for carrying loads using machine learning. Moreover, document safety is backed by blockchain, hence, no change occurs without the approval of both parties. Thus, the startup addresses the lack of credible information bringing transparency and visibility of operations, cash flows, and stakeholder actions.
8. Transportation Management Systems
Goods transportation has planning and execution challenges. A transport management system (TMS) helps businesses save time by automating workflows and optimizing asset utilization. It offers solutions for moving all sizes of freight in various modes, including intermodal and international routes. TMS allows real-time tracking of drivers, goods, and inventory to enable visibility in the supply chain and address inefficiencies. Moreover, a TMS provides analytics and data insights that enable cutting unnecessary expenses. Another trending software is the fleet management system (FMS). FMS enables remote monitoring and control of fleet vehicles, allowing fleet operators to ensure the right protocols are being followed in the delivery operations.
ASIA ONE TMS provides Transport Management Software
Malaysian startup ASIA ONE TMS (AoT) provides a transport management system to digitalize transport operations by enabling current trucks and drivers’ status visibility and pickup, shipment, and real-time delivery status tracking using loading and unloading times. AoT’s software includes the electronic proof of delivery (e-POD) feature optimizes on-site efficiency by reducing paperwork and improving data accuracy and customer communication. The startup’s TMS analyzes costs incurred in bookings, trips, or assignment of drivers, and suggests methods of cost optimization. This allows businesses to plan their expenses in a budget-friendly manner.
Trackstride creates Fleet Management System
UK-based startup Trackstride offers fleet management software. It tracks the fleet in real-time to provide insights into the route operations, driver behavior, and idle time. These metrics allow users to determine the efficiency of their fleet and plan operational strategy. The platform alerts in case of inadequate engine performance and oil temperature fluctuations for timely remediation. It also allows fleet owners to define vehicle routes and notifies them if the vehicle goes off track. This way, they have full control over the fleet, giving them more time to focus on other important aspects of the business.
9. Smart Shipping
The shipping industry has safety challenges, ranging from avoidable human errors to unavoidable natural hazards. The emergence of unmanned or low-manned smart ships has reduced the number of people at risk at sea. Smart shipping automates ship operations, ensures crew safety, and increases fuel efficiency by providing greater insights into ship performance. It incorporates advanced digital sensors to navigate ships accurately while adapting the speed with respect to the water flow. Moreover, automated shipping reduces labor costs and errors for improved efficiency.
NepTech facilitates Autonomous Vessel Navigation
French startup NepTech designs autonomous catamarans for carrying passengers and freight. It enables zero-emission propulsion by replacing diesel-powered vessels with polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cells. It uses an air injection system optimized by computational fluid dynamics (CFD) in its catamarans, which reduces friction while navigating. The ship’s design includes hydrofoils and an innovative hull shape that lowers the hydrodynamics drag in the water. The startup also incorporates recyclable and bio-sourced materials in manufacturing to address sustainability concerns. These features, together, minimize ship fuel consumption and thereby lowers maritime transport costs.
Smart-Ship enables Vessel Speed Monitoring
Dutch startup Smart-Ship develops force-feedback control levers to advance vessel speed monitoring. The startup offers smart levers and a haptic algorithm to collect ship data through sensors and automated systems. The sensors detect deviations in the ship’s speed, acceleration, or rate of turn, and send signals to the levers as well as vessel operators. Smart-Ship’s solution improves situational awareness and ensures a high degree of operator autonomy, enabling remote-controlled shipping operations.
10. Last-mile Delivery
Last-mile delivery, also known as last-mile logistics, comprises all operations required to move goods to the end consumer. With the widespread use of e-commerce platforms, delivery services are improving day by day. Startups develop innovative last-mile delivery solutions to transport an item to its recipient in the quickest way possible. Advances in analytics and GPS track shipments in real-time to update the order status to stakeholders. Autonomous drones deliver products quickly to any location and are increasingly deployed to deliver medicines and grocery items. Robots automate the delivery and provide a way for contactless transport of products. They also reduce GHG emissions and pollution, thus offering a sustainable alternative to delivery vehicles.
BringAuto enables Robotic Delivery
Czech startup BringAuto makes a last-mile delivery autonomous robot. The robot optimizes routes for faster deliveries and notifies customers of the expected arrival time. It continuously navigates from one address to another to improve time efficiency during the delivery process. Being autonomous, it ensures contactless and safer delivery. Moreover, it is electric, ensuring emission-free transportation. The startup also enables real-time tracking of the shipment via its mobile app for customer satisfaction.
Carriyo innovates Retail Last-mile Operations
UAE-based startup Carriyo automates last-mile delivery operations for retail brands. The startup’s solution collects the order information via the brand’s e-commerce or online platforms. It then assigns shipments to the available carrier after verifying delivery addresses. It automates tasks like bulk label generation and printing for faster operations. Moreover, it tracks the shipments in real-time to offer order visibility, which enables brands to predict delays and plan necessary actions. This way, the startup facilitates retail brands to increase customer satisfaction and retention.
Discover all Transportation Trends, Technologies & Startups
Transportation, being one of the largest existing industries, is experiencing disruptive technological advancements. The transition to fully autonomous vehicles and ships has already begun and will dominantly prevail in the near future. Apart from autonomous navigation, autonomous transport operations are replacing manual handling to improve efficiency and reduce errors. The industry witnesses widespread adoption of technologies like AI, IoT, and blockchain. Businesses also pay attention to sustainability factors by designing zero-emission vehicles and processes.
The Transportation Trends & Startups outlined in this report only scratch the surface of trends that we identified during our data-driven innovation and startup scouting process. Among others, autonomous vehicles, connected vehicles, and electric mobility will transform the sector as we know it today. Identifying new opportunities and emerging technologies to implement into your business goes a long way in gaining a competitive advantage. Get in touch to easily and exhaustively scout startups, technologies & trends that matter to you!