The Week in Mobility News — 04 Sept

Too much data on the menu

If data is ingredients, how it’s synthesized into packets of value are meals. Meals made with fine ingredients by top chefs are likely to be more palatable, nutritious and expensive versus cobbled together baked beans on toast.

Supermarkets offer ubiquitous access to a plethora of ingredients increasing the breadth of meals that can be made. However, creating a Michelin star dish from Lurpak is dependent on the shopper knowing what to do and with the right tools. The same can be said of data, access to multiple data points to the untrained eye doesn’t automatically translate into meaningful value or, to continue the food analogy — as sophisticated as a Boots Meal Deal (neither a meal nor a deal).

Amazon announced this week it’s new wearable and app, Halo Band which tracks health, mood, sleep and 3D scans your body. Fitbit claims it can score stress levels and Apple hopes to integrate its data into medical records. 23andMe, a DNA and genetic testing and analysis company provides vast data on an individual’s vulnerability to certain diseases.

Sight of this data doesn’t necessarily tell users what to do with it — a higher heart rate could mean all manner of things. Knowing about an increased risk of developing Alzheimers aged 30 might alter some lifestyle habits, but it does not help tackle the emotional burden that knowledge could cause.

“We’re not doing a very good job of educating people what to do with that information. That’s the piece that’s missing,” John Jakicic, the director of the Healthy Lifestyle Institute at the University of Pittsburgh

This week, Elon Musk made the headlines again by revealing the design for the Neuralink brain implant and surgical robot. The initial applications will help those with spinal injuries communicate with devices but ultimately brain implants could help able bodied people access more information and memories stored in the brain. Sufferers of ‘Highly superior autobiographical memory’ (or HSAM) are those able to recall everyday of their lives in 4K -fly-on-the-wall-documentary detail. HSAM is often regarded as a burden as, processing, digesting and forgetting events cannot take place; a key part of being forced to understand as well as consume information.

As we create more and more data enabled products we must ask ourselves how we can package them up into meaningful value and insights which like a great meal offer exceptional flavours, nutrients and leave us feeling perfectly satiated. Meanwhile our solutions must come together like a perfectly curated menu that neither limits nor overwhelms customers with choice.

Volta Truck Launch

On Thursday, Volta trucks revealed Volta Zero, a 16 tonne electric lorry ‘at same cost as diesel’. The vehicles will be on the road by 2022, with DPD as one of the first UK trialists. The company will aim to offer the truck as part of a “truck as a service” model, bundling in leasing, support and infrastructure.

A 16 tonne truck may seem a little strange on a backdrop of micromobility, efforts for car free urban centres and a proliferation of cargo bikes. However 88% of road freight is transported by HGVs and the sheer volume of freight is only increasing as we live more of our lives online, and to date there are no 16T vehicles with a van-like, low cab seating position.

The World Economic Forum predicts that between now and 2030, congestion will increase 21% owing to the sheer volume of goods delivered which will also add 36% more delivery vehicles on our roads. An electric 16T vehicle could be precisely the vehicle cities are looking for to reduce the volume of vehicles on the road performing the same number of deliveries.

Whilst the Volta Zero render shows that the company may be a long way from full scale production, the market opportunity is clear. Strategic use of larger volume capacity vehicles could be key to reducing congestion within cities which simply weren’t built to accommodate the volume of deliveries they currently experience.

Elsewhere in the industry

  • JD Power has released a list of what vehicle tech vehicle customers actually want — note stop making gesture control!
  • Fiat confirms UK spec pricing for e-ducato van
  • Bolinger reveals deliver-e van concept
  • Seat Mo rolls out motosharing service in Barcelona
  • Amazon orders 1,200 of Mercedes-Benz’s larger Mercedes Benz eSprinters and 600 eVitos
  • Electrify America will remove Tesla branding from its fast charging units
  • Autonomous Aircraft startup Reliable, emerge from stealth
  • Production of raw materials required for electric vehicles and renewable energy will increase by 500% by 2050 according to the World Bank
  • Toyota and Honda to Begin Demonstration Testing of a Mobile Power Generation
  • Shares of Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng Inc jumped as much as 67% after its U.S. market debut last week, raising $1.5 billion
  • Lucid Motors teases electric sedan specs ahead of big launch
  • SCE to install 3800 chargers across California
  • The Local Government Association has said that delivery companies should consider switching to cargo bike schemes where possible to improve air quality and reduce congestion
  • CurbFlow have launched a pilot programme in Washington DC placing cameras in street-facing storefronts to detect when parking spots are available for delivery vehicles.

Miscellaneous
As offices remain empty, some are converting office space into vertical farms with the help of Growtune — a SaaS platform to help manage vertical farms. The agritech company recently raised €3.4 Million , joining a list of other agritech businesses currently attracting VC attention. Jones Food Company and unfold have recently received funding from Ocado and Bayer respectively, whilst in Paris disused parking spaces are being taken over by micro-farms.

Have a wonderful weekend — Imogen Pierce, Head of Experience Strategy, Arrival

Fully Charged, ex-Arrival Ltd —Sustainability, Mobility, Tech, Books and anything in between