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EcoMotion Week: a startup scouting event in Israel

Israël, the "Start-Up Nation"
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PostedOCT. 25, 2022
Words byKeolis
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As it does every year, Keolis traveled to Tel Aviv to scout the most promising Israeli startups and attend one of the biggest industry events dedicated to smart mobility: EcoMotion.

Startup scouting at the heart of Keolis’ innovation strategy

Startup scouting is one of the Keolis Group's preferred avenues for developing its innovation strategy. This scouting activity allows Keolis to identify, evaluate and select startups to collaborate with. This process helps Keolis stay on the cutting edge in its areas of expertise. Some examples of these collaborations include: a 100% accessible passenger experience that Keolis offers with NaviLens, a project to change behaviors through dynamic nudges with Gokind and new mobility solutions offered with Urbanloop.

Matthieu RÉMY, Head of Open Innovation, Data & Digital

Matthieu Rémy

Head of Open Innovation, Data & Digital

"Thanks to the agility of startups, which are able to quickly adapt their value proposition to Keolis' targets and our customers' practices, these partnerships form a key component of Keolis' innovation approach."

Context: EcoMotion​ Week

EcoMotion is an event that Keolis regularly attends and which has already led to strong partnerships with the Israeli innovation ecosystem, such as with the carsharing startup VIA, Keolis’ preferred partner for transportation on demand (TOD).

For EcoMotion Week 2022, Keolis organized two startup challenges, demonstrating the operator’s commitment to this innovative ecosystem, while the talks and presentations at the event offered much food for thought.

EcoMotion Week 2022
EcoMotion Week 2022

Startup scouting on the energy transition at EcoMotion Week

 

Keolis’ aim in startup scouting at EcoMotion is to identify young companies with specific business profiles in order to learn more about the innovative solutions they offer.

Hydrogen production and storage solutions for sustainable energy independence was a key innovation strand at this year’s EcoMotion Week. For some startups, the time has come to scale up the use of hydrogen production processes, while for others the challenge is to develop storage solutions in order to fully harness hydrogen’s potential. One solution won the NASA Itech competition and has been selected by the Plug&Play incubation program.

Matthieu Rémy and Arnaud Julien represented Keolis at EcoMotion 2022.

Matthieu Rémy and Arnaud Julien represented Keolis at EcoMotion 2022.

Electric vehicles remain a major topic at EcoMotion, notably the challenge of producing batteries that are efficient, cost-effective and sustainable. Startup scouting in this area allowed Keolis representatives to meet a promising young company that recently raised €10.2M to develop the next generation of sodium batteries, which promise to be a more sustainable and cost-effective technology in the long term than existing batteries.

 

The main obstacles to expanding the deployment of electric vehicles are the size, weight and price of batteries as well as their range of operation. To overcome these issues, one startup has developed a dynamic charging solution based on induction. In this way, vehicles can be recharged during their journey, which reduces the amount of space required for on-board batteries and cuts vehicle costs. It also helps to balance out peaks in energy demand throughout the day. The company is currently speeding up its expansion in Israel and Europe.​

Electric mobility remains a major innovation topic. © Roger Starnes Sr
Electric mobility remains a major innovation topic. © Roger Starnes Sr

Startup scouting for the smart city

 

This round of startup scouting allowed Keolis to discover several solutions that respond to a major challenge in urban mobility: managing the flow of traffic at intersections. This public safety issue is becoming increasingly important to transportation players, especially given the need to prioritize public transportation and non-motorized mobility on public roadways. One of the difficulties involved in implementing new solutions to issues like this is the need to roll them out on a medium to large scale in order to establish transport corridors and fully measure their benefits. EcoMotion Week identified some initial responses to this new challenge, including solutions for analyzing the modal split of traffic flows and for dynamically controlling traffic signals. 

 

Keolis' startup scouting at EcoMotion also gave insight into the new innovation priorities of cities, such as the development of personal electric cars and related services such as solutions for charging electric vehicles. One new technology, for example, offers the option to book a fast-charging session by mobile app and a vehicle equipped with batteries will then come and recharge your car as you work or do your shopping. Another app, linked to your calendar, can guide you throughout your day in order to optimize where and when you recharge your vehicle so that you never run out of battery.

Fluidité du trafic, mobilités douces, optimisation de la circulation des voitures...

The development of the individual electric car and the associated services are among the new innovation priorities of cities.

Another urban mobility solution spotted through the startup scouting: as parking space becomes increasingly scarce in cities, a new app invites drivers to optimize their "last mile after Waze" by directing them to areas where they have the best chance of finding a parking space. Coupled with Internet of Things (IoT) technology, the solution will become even more precise and indicate available spaces to drivers.​

 

Bicycles are becoming a permanent fixture in travelers’ habits and are becoming more important every year at EcoMotion. A brand-new startup that designs compact and collapsible cargo bikes that riders can carry on to public transport or elevators aims to make it easier to include cycling as part of a multimodal journey, whether personal or professional.

Safety and operational excellence: a top priority at EcoMotion

 

Among the forty startups scouted​ at EcoMotion, many innovations were found which were relevant to Keolis' activities.

 

Used in combination with an ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System), a new solution analyzes driver behavior to prevent risky situations (such as distraction or fatigue) thanks to a device combining computer vision and onboard AI. Testing the driver's ability to operate a vehicle before starting work can also prevent certain risky situations.

One of the companies identified through the startup scouting proposes a solution that allows drivers to evaluate their own ability to drive through a self-assessment process requiring drivers to complete a series of tests on an app and for immediate results.

Overview of EcoMotion 2022

40

startups met at EcoMotion 2022.

Bus and truck driver retention are also major issues for the mobility industry. New solutions now offer a response with an app that encourages drivers to meet goals through incentive mechanisms. These goals (eco-driving, punctuality, customer satisfaction, etc.) also help constitute a shared management framework for all – both drivers and managers – while strengthening team unity.

 

Computer vision and artificial intelligence are also used to develop solutions for identifying dangerous situations. These solutions are becoming more and more precise and efficient, with some even able to analyze a series of images to "understand" the situation and alert the relevant department.

 

This startup scouting at EcoMotion Week also allowed Keolis to identify several interesting young companies in cybersecurity, which currently represents a major challenge for the activities of transport operators. Cyber2.0, which develops a solution tested on the Keolis Hyderabad network, is proud to be the only cybersecurity startup to organize its own hackathon. The competition offers an award of $100,000 to anyone who can hack the solution – in all, 5,500 hackers tried, but no-one could break the code.

Bus and truck driver retention are major issues for the mobility industry.
Bus and truck driver retention are major issues for the mobility industry.
Matthieu RÉMY

Matthieu Rémy

Head of Open Innovation, Data & Digital

"Once again this year, we met with over forty startups during EcoMotion Week 2022 and on tours organized with our partner Chutzpah Lab."
Startups present at EcoMotion 2022.

Startups present at EcoMotion 2022.

EcoMotion Week on one hand, as well as a learning expedition

 

Together with its partners Chutzpah Lab and Futura-Mobility, Keolis also took the opportunity to carry out a learning expedition in the Tel Aviv area. This trip allowed Keolis to gain a better understanding of this promising ecosystem and its foundations.

Social ties, the country's small size, long military service and a shared culture in the face of persistent conflicts in the region promote strong social and cultural cohesion.

The country also encourages personal initiative and openness to others' ideas through an entrepreneurial culture that includes very little hierarchy (and this from a very young age, whether in education or in the army).

There is also a strong connection between fundamental research in universities and potential applications through rapid technology transfer.

Finally, the government invests massively in research in the early phases of project development, supporting researchers engaged in projects while taking on the financial risk.

Israel, the Start-Up Nation®, is a highly dynamic innovation ecosystem focused on technology and covering a wide range of sectors, including mobility. ​

In order to qualify as a startup in Israel, you must work primarily in tech. The country also considers the digitization of processes as a form of continuous improvement.

We conclude with three words that define the innovation dynamic in Tel Aviv:

 

- Chutzpah: audacity, 

- Rosh Gadol: openness and curiosity, 

- Tachless: pragmatism.