Mobility apps & services stealing the show @ SXSW

Mobility start-ups are venture capitalists’ hottest tickets in town. We picked up the names of a number of start-ups during SXSW that are worth mentioning. That’s why, we’ve listed six companies that are mobile cotton candy for VC’s and have recently received funding.

A number of trends are driving these startups:

  • Smart phones have become the most dominant phone type
  • Vehicles are becoming increasingly connected
  • Internet of things; rise of open API’s and city data

The way consumers plan a trip and engage with people and companies offering mobility solutions will radically change. Let’s see what the future has in store for us!

Vinli from Dallas – Makes every car a connected car

Because car manufacturers are not yet on par with modern user centric technology and apps, this leaves room for new entrants within the in-car segment. How it works; every car manufactured after 1996 has an OBD2 port (on-board diagnostics). Vinli features a dongle you can put into this port, turning your car into a connected car. Automotiv and dash were already in this market offering a car dashboard. Automotiv has a nice feature that it can coach drivers in driving more fuel efficiently. However Vinli seems to take things to the next level featuring a WiFi hub and Head-Up Display (HUD). Vinli and Uber teamed up at SXSW in Austin to offer on-board WiFi for selected Uber rides.

nuTonomy – Self-driving car software

nuTonomy develops state-of-the-art software to enable autonomous urban driving, applicable in both privately-owned vehicles and mobility as a service (i.e. “autonomous taxis”). Their unique algorithms tackle complex urban driving, parking and intersection management in a way Google cannot at this moment. They have secured a $3.6 mln investment this January to fund their efforts.

Mapbox – Mapping platform for developers

Mapbox is a mapping platform that lets developers add maps to their apps. It’s not just competing with Google Maps, but also with GIS mapping company ESRI. Mapping is an important function in mobile apps. Mapbox offers an open-source stack of tools for developers to integrate map-based experiences into their apps. Developers can use free data and do not need Google or Apple. Some pretty cool stuff was developed using Mapbox, check: Mapping Snow Plow Activity in Washington, Interactive map of every x-files location, Mapping the Sexism of City Street Names.

Walc – Walkable maps based on landmarks

The free Walc app guides you towards your destination by using landmarks that you will pass along the way. This solves the problem Google Maps has, offering you no clue to what is north. Walc works the same way normal humans would explain the route, this is usually relative instead of street-by-street. “Go left at the Starbucks and right at the church”.

SmartKargo – Leverage unused luggage space in passenger planes

SmartKargo offers cloud based cargo management solutions enabling airlines to implement without large IT investments. The system is said to be effective for optimizing cargo space for passenger airlines. This may be a true disruptor in this market.

Skully – Augmented reality helmet

Skully is a helmet that features a built-in 180° Blindspot Camera and Head-Up Display. For the driver this improves situational awareness and safety so he can focus on what matters most: the road ahead. Skully’s AR-1 helmet gives riders a variety of hands-free services, allowing them to utilize GPS navigation, make calls, listen to tunes, and check their blind spots via a wide-angle rear-view camera display all through the helmet screen. This project initially received its funding using crowd sourcing and is currently shipping to “Early backers”.

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