It was the pitch from embotech CTO Alexander Domahidi that suggested the most convincing long-term business potential. embotech provides motion planning software that controls a self-driving car’s steering, braking, acceleration and parking time via calculations performed 50 times per second. The company is already working with automotive giants Renault and Volvo, and even boasts a project with the European Space Agency concerning rocket landings.
As always with the winning startup at one of our industry-focused events, embotech’s prize included being fast-tracked into the Pioneers Challenge Top 50 at Pioneers’18, which means a pitching slot at our flagship event in Vienna on May 24th-25th. embotech also earned themselves an invitation to travel to Brussels and meet with European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, who leads the EU’s ‘Energy Union’ and opened Mobility.Pioneers with a video address.
“Thanks to your ideas, today’s kids might never have to learn to drive,” he told the audience. “The concept of car accidents might be something they learn about in their history books. Air pollution could sound like a medieval epidemic to them. Let us all change gears, and let 2018 be the year we accelerate towards clean, connected and automated mobility.”
While 20 selected startups pitched on the Grand Prix stage, the Mobility.Pioneers Arena Stage schedule tackled the broad topics of automation, connectivity, shared use, electrification and the changing landscape around regulation and business models.
In a session that really got the audience talking, IOTA Chairman Dominik Schiener covered how distributed ledgers can enable a shared mobility economy, explaining how IOTA technology’s mobility use cases include cost-free micropayments that make machine-to-machine payments possible.
Electric supercar innovator Mate Rimac, whose company Rimac Automobili developed the Rimac Concept_One, participated in the panel discussion on electrification alongside Kreisel CEO Walter Kreisel, and finished with a keynote.
“Autonomous driving and new mobility will be the enabler for widespread electric vehicles. In a few decades it should be illegal for a person to drive a car. In an automated environment, a human driver would be the weak link in the chain.”
While Facebook’s Christoph Stadeler delivered a keynote around the contribution the social media giant can make to the mobility sector as a startup partner, Assaf Harel talked about Karamba Security’s technology, touching on important Cyber Security points that will be of increasing concern to the industry.
“We’re entering an era of autonomous vehicles that are being controlled from afar,” said the CTO of the Israeli startup. “There are already attacks today and OEM’s are worried.”
Then on the regulation front, Director of Public Policy at FiveAI Lucy Yu and flying car entrepreneur Juraj Vaculik, founder of AeroMobil, took part in a panel discussion around developing new regulatory frameworks.
Another opportunity for the innovators was the Mobility Hackathon, which ran in parallel with Mobility.Pioneers and was organized by our consultancy arm Pioneers Discover in partnership with the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB). Slovakian developer group FinID were named the winners after 3 days of exploring the use of Blockchain technology to enable transport to be more intelligent, sustainable and cost-effective. The trio from Bratislava developed a prototype for a frictionless travel experience using mobile and decentralised technologies.