Winners for the Accessible Transport for Berlin Challenge Announced
BeeSonix and Bischof will now implement their proof of concept in Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany (11 April 2019) - The Toyota Mobility Foundation, with the support of the City of Berlin, and together with betahaus X, and public transport partners DB, BVG, ViP and VBB, hosted the Accessible Transport for Berlin Challenge, to make public transport more accessible for people with mobility issues. Urban mobility is one of the world’s most pressing issues. As cities continue to expand and grow more congested, there is pressure on all forms of transit to meet growing demand. For people with mobility challenges, the pain points are immediate and severe, while finding good solutions can be very difficult due to the complexity of today’s infrastructure.
This unique competition encouraged startups to break down barriers by building mobile apps and digital solutions to make transportation in Berlin and Potsdam accessible for everyone. The best ideas created by this challenge will not disappear into an innovation vacuum. The 12 finalist startups, chosen out of a field of 266 applicants, competed on the 10th of April at the pitch event held in Berlin. These startups presented to the Berlin Challenge partners to win the opportunity to implement their Proof of Concept.
The winners of the Accessible Transport for Berlin Challenge are:
- BeeSonix (Germany) BeeSonix offers inaudible ultrasonic announcements which serve as beacons in mobile apps. With their internet of sound, they create seamless navigation apps and provide guidance for visually impaired people.
BeeSonix will implement their Proof of Concept with BVG, the leading public transport company in Berlin.
- Bischof - Innovation & Technology (Austria)
Bischof - Innovation & Technology has developed a video assistance system called “Guide Me,” which enables passengers to easily request help from a control center or a family member with their smartphone.
Bischoff will implement their Proof of Concept with DB, the German railway company, and with VBB, the public transport authority for the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg.
It was not easy to select 12 start-ups to make final presentations in Beriln out of a field of 266 ideas, as there had been so many great ideas. Therefore, I want to thank all that applied for the challenge and shared their ideas. I am truly impressed with the quality and the professionalism, and I am now looking forward to seeing the winning ideas implemented by our partners. For us at the Toyota Mobility Foundation, it is important that through our work we create impact and help improve the lives of people with mobility issues. This challenge helped to identify new solutions, and we are excited to see the impact they will have in Berlin. Furthermore, if proven successful, these ideas could also be transferred to other cities in Germany and around the globe, to give even more people better access to mobility.
The opportunity to work with the Toyota Mobility Foundation and all of our implementation partners on the Accessible Transport for Berlin Challenge has been an honour for us at betahaus X. The quality of the startups we were able to scout is because of the reach afforded by Toyota, DB, BVG, VPP, and ViP. Startups were excited to work with every one of them and to make a tangible difference in the future of mobility in Berlin, Potsdam, and potentially across the globe.
The 10 other finalist startups that competed in the Accessible Transportation Challenge include the following:
- Be My Eyes (Denmark)
Be My Eyes is a smartphone app with one-button access to a network of sighted volunteers and company representatives, which offers blind and visually impaired travelers immediate assistance through live video calls.
- Briteyellow Ltd (United Kingdom)
Briteyellow provides 3D and virtual reality indoor location and navigation applications for transport providers, giving them up to date, accurate and interactive representations of stations and platforms.
- Counterest (Spain)
Counterest has developed a tracking software that allows public transport operators and authorities to understand real passenger demand and therefore be able to plan and deliver adequate public transport services.
- Flow.ai (The Netherlands)
Flow.ai makes machine learning and AI accessible to companies by helping them create smart conversational AI from start to finish.
- iGeolise (The Netherlands)
iGeolise aims to adapt their existing API solution, The TravelTime, which calculates what’s reachable in the city within a certain travel time, to help passengers in wheelchairs plan their route.
- Motion-S S.A. (Luxembourg)
Motion-S S.A. provides data science to solve the challenges of future mobility solutions. They contextualise geolocation data to enable the seamless integration of individual & shared mobility and public transportation.
- Pointr (United Kingdom)
Pointr is a platform that specializes in contextualizer positioning of people with features ranging from indoor navigation to contextual notifications, location based analytics and location tracking.
- Proximi.io (Finland)
Proximi.io is a technology-agnostic positioning platform which connects cities and buildings with digital experiences through smartphones. A key feature of the platform is its capability of functioning both in indoor and outdoor environments.
- Vesputi (Germany)
Vesputi is a public transport platform that connects all modes of smart city transport and infrastructure to offer a unique customer experience.
- Walkingmoms (Germany)
Walkingmoms is a community platform for mums with strollers; their aim is to make it easier for mums to plan and execute their trips through the city by diagnosing barrier issues on public transport, prioritizing solutions to those barriers, and offering alternatives routes.
About Toyota Mobility Foundation
The Toyota Mobility Foundation was established in August 2014 to support the development of a more mobile society. The Foundation aims to promote strong mobility systems while eliminating disparities in mobility. It utilizes Toyota’s expertise in technology, safety, and the environment, working in partnership with universities, government, non-profit organizations, research institutions and other organizations to address mobility issues around the world. Programs include resolving urban transportation problems, expanding the utilization of personal mobility, and developing solutions for the next generation mobility.
Founded in 2014, betahausX organises international startup competitions, hackathons, startup immersions and corporate accelerators, with the aim to reinvent growth. betahausX also runs BETAPITCH, a global startup pitch competition in 12 cities that ends each year in Berlin with Investors Day.
Public Transport Partners
About Deutsche Bahn (DB)
With its management group in Berlin, and more than 310, 000 employees (40% located outside Germany), DB Group offers globally mobility and logistical services and operates in over 130 countries worldwide.
About Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG)
BVG is the leading public transport company in Berlin. It manages the city's underground railway, tram, bus and replacement services (EV). Their company objective is to be reliable and innovative, and in the process contribute to the face of the city – both inwardly and outwardly.
About Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB)
The VBB is the public transport authority covering the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg – the entire capital area of Germany. They see the necessity to reconnect Berlin to the surrounding Brandenburg and to create high-quality public transport.
About Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam (ViP)
ViP operates the major part of public transport in Potsdam, the adjacent city to Berlin. The company is a subsidiary of Stadtwerke Potsdam GmbH. Today, the transport companies operate seven tram lines, 25 bus lines and a ferry connection as partners of the VBB.
Siemens and BMD
Photo credit: Dominik Tryba