2018: A Tipping Point for Artificial Intelligence in Transportation

2018 will be the tipping point for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the transportation industry. It will be a year where AI becomes an essential tool with new understanding and recognition that it is critical to success. In our business and beyond, we’ve seen how influential this technology can be in changing business models and creating better transport solutions.

 

At Stage Intelligence, we’re seeing this become a reality. In 2017, we’ve seen tremendous momentum behind our business and growing demand for real AI solutions in transportation. We’re rolling out our AI-based Bike Share management solution in cities across the globe and changing the perception that Bike Share isn’t a viable, reliable transport option.

 

We are helping to accelerate transformation in transportation and utilising self-organising algorithms and elements of machine learning to simplify and empower Bike Share management.

 

2018: Challenges in AI

The future of transportation will be defined by AI. Research firm Gartner predicts that by 2020 almost every new software product will have AI technologies. In transportation, we are starting to see widespread application and development of AI technology that is being powered by the collection of data and use of algorithms.

 

That said, it is still a very young market with challenges ahead. I see three big challenges for AI in transportation:

 

  1. Not All “AI” is the Same – Many businesses that say they use AI don’t actually have it deployed. It is a buzzword and many businesses are doing data visualisations or pretty interfaces but when you look under the hood there’s nothing there. Operators eager to benefit from AI don’t get what they paid for and won’t see the best of it.

 

  1. Transportation Expertise and Focus – AI solutions need to address specific challenges. They need to be purpose built for transportation and developed by both experts in transportation and AI. Otherwise, you get generic solutions that solve generic problems rather than enabling real innovation and agility in transportation.

 

  1. Nurturing AI – AI isn’t just about building solutions. It is about training it and nurturing it to deliver the results you want. It requires people, time, effort and a lot of data to continuously maintain and develop the technology. You don’t just flip a switch. It requires an expert experienced in developing and growing successful solutions.

 

As we see more AI-based solutions adopted, there will be a move towards quality and performance. Solutions that are based more on buzzwords than results will fade away.

 

In 2018, more people will understand the basics of AI and make better decisions about the solutions they deploy. That’s good for transportation and will accelerate its growth.

 

Building Better Bike Share Schemes

We’ve seen tremendous growth in our business over the past year. In 2017, we deployed our solutions in new corners of the world.

 

Our business development team led by Tom Nutley was out and about at events and meetings almost on a monthly basis. We’ve been successful in sharing our belief in automated rebalancing and using self-organising algorithms to build better Bike Share Schemes and that has led to trials and deployments around the world.

 

Our flagship BICO Bike Share Scheme management platform has been adopted and is supporting ridership growth in unique markets in the Americas and Europe. In 2017, We added greater functionality to BICO including a successful internationalisation process that helped us to better serve our partners abroad and dynamic replenishment values for greater predictive management of a scheme. Both have made it easier for operators to deploy and benefit from our solution.

 

We are also proud to have partnered with industry bodies to accelerate transformation in Bike Share Schemes. We are a member of the platform for European Bicycle Sharing & Systems (PEBSS), created by European Cyclist’s Federation (ECF). Our work with ECF and PEBSS highlights our commitment to growing a healthier cycling market for all.

 

In November, our usability data was shared around the world and is influencing conversation about how to create Bike Share Schemes that give riders an optimised experience. We are sharing our data and analytics to show what is possible in Bike Share when you take a new approach.

 

This Time Next Year

Throughout 2018, we will develop our AI technology for the shared mobility market, innovate for Bike Share operators and continue to roll our solutions around the world. It is an exciting time for our industry and we are ready to help our partners benefit from our solution and encourage the continued growth of Bike Share.

 

As cities around the globe continue to push towards cleaner and more sustainable transportation, we will see increased demand for user-friendly Biker Share. How cities and operators manage their schemes and support riders will define their success.

 

The tipping point in Bike Share will be seen when automated rebalancing becomes a critical part of any Bike Share operator’s conversations about growth. AI will at least be considered when discussing a path forward for schemes looking to grow. That’s a big step forward in an industry that is constantly changing.

 

There are a few things that I believe will define the Bike Share in 2018:

 

  • Growing Bike Share Schemes

As more Bike Shares use AI-based management solutions, riders will get a better experience and schemes will grow. It will enable faster decision making for bike distribution, ensuring that riders get bikes and docks where and when they need them. That drives growth and creates new efficiencies.

 

  • Move Towards Electric

We will see a greater push in electric cars, bikes and scooters in an effort to reduce emissions and drive down costs. We will see more Bike Share offering e-bikes and even further introduction of e-scooter sharing in cities around the world. With greater range and a larger, more diverse user base, schemes will need better management solutions to drive efficiency.

 

  • Mobility as a Service

We will see mobile phones play a greater role in traditional transportation. Mobility as Service (MaaS) showed its potential in 2017 and now MaaS will begin being rolled out in cities around the globe. It will streamline how we travel and deliver even more data about how we commute.

 

  • The End of the Free-For-All in Free Floating

The free-for-all in Free Floating Bike Share has to come to an end. Healthy markets do not tolerate massive oversupply and as we’ve seen in some cities in China it leads to failing schemes. Free Floating Bike Share Schemes need to be managed and follow policies set out by local governments to be successful. In 2018, we hope to see less mistakes made and a lesson to be learned.

 

All of these things will drive demand for AI-based solutions and the evolution of Bike Share Scheme management. Bike Share operations should be simpler to manage with better experiences for riders. In 2018, we will solve some of the challenges in transportation and deliver solutions that benefit cities, citizens and the environment. I see tremendous potential in our business and our industry. 2018 will be a phenomenal year for AI in transportation.