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Feedback from Paris’ Autonomy show


Feedback from Paris’ Autonomy show

BY   Alexandre Gauquelin   

The third edition of Paris’ Autonomy show took place in La Grande Halle de La Villette, on october 18-20th 2018. The show is dedicated to urban mobility from LEV’s to (even flying) cars. It quickly became a not-to-be-missed show where many actors are displaying there innovations.  This year conferences and exhibitors confirmed the main trends of the mobility sector.

Innovate or die

One can work to change the mobility habits by different means. The first is to modify and optimise car usage within cities. The car is still very much present, with Tesla, Nissan, Jaguar or Toyota displaying their latest electric model, together with a huge bunch of start-ups providing solutions for sharing vehicles, optimising trips… Some are working to lower the number of cars and minimise congestion, which is needed to pacify the cities nowadays. Some are just adapting to new technologies to provide more services or confort, without solving any of the public issues (congestion, health…).

Every year, new vehicles are popping out. Kick scooters with three or four wheels, bikes without seats, foldable E-scooters, compact gyropods, autonomous vehicles… and now even flying cars. Walking in the aisles, I’ve been surpised by the surface dedicated to light personnal electric vehicules. It’s trendy, cheaper to develop, but one can really wonder whether they are innovating for innovation or innovating to answer the global mobility challenges.

Electrify or die

Not suprisingly, the number of E-solutions is overwhelming. It seems now impossible to design a vehicle without electric assistance: kick-scooter, bicycle, scooter, or any strange UMO (Unidentified Mobility Object). Seeing it, you can only be convinced that E-vehicles are the future. Wait. Let’s make a step backwards and look at the whole picture: E-mobility is not as green as everybody imagine, as it it consuming electricity (big news), and batteries are using hard to extract materials, and are themselves hard to recycle. You will not get healthier by riding an E-scooter. Classic solutions have to be pushed forward y the auhorities. Apart from a couple of kick-scooters and bicycles, active mobility, seems to be a thing from the past when you walk in the show lanes…

Time to turn multimodal

Back to shared mobility. Some of the important actors that you already know are pioneers regarding multimodality: Indigo Weel showcased for the first time SharingOS’ multimodal solution, with integrated E-kick-scooters, bikes, E-bikes, E-scooters, E-4 wheels scooters and E-compact car all using the same battery. Looking at the success of the boot during the 2 professionnal days, it surely is a moteur de development. During two talks, Uber main announcements were also pointing towards multimodality, and multi-service: the acquisition of Jump and the investment in Lime were the guidelines, but it also pointed at the air-taxi under development in collaboration with the NASA.

What about bikeshare??

One of my “coup de coeur” from the show is Zoov. This small french start-up developed an innovative solution, breaking away from the bike-share standards: driven by the need to save public space, their station is a single barrier with 2 magnets for positioning the returned bicycle. The next will be attached to the first one, creating a chain of bicycles. This chain is meant to be charged through the magnetic plots, but so far, the Ebikes are running on batteries that have to be charged by the operation crew. The solutions allows to return 4 bicycle in one square meter, 4 times the average with classic dock-based solutions. They are launching a pilot in Plateau de Saclay (Paris suburb) with 200 E-bikes next month. I will certainly go and check it, you’ll read about it soon.

Other french (Smoove, Green-on, BeMobi, Oribiky) and European (Billy, Mobilock & Cargoroo, Jump SharingOS through Indigo Weel) were present, with more conventional solutions. Linking to the electrification paragraph, the charging management is beeing taken seriously and is the main way of R&D. Either through stations (Zoov, Smoove, BeMobi) or through Battery swap solutions (SharingOS, Easybike), this is a central question to adress the operation costs. Bemobi was also showcasing their dock with an integrated induction charging system! A good way to improve charging duration and reliability.

To conclude, I know I am rambling, the show proved that the bike-share market is still unstable. ofo and Mobike were everywhere last year (ofo was one of the main sponsor) and were absent in 2018 (such as in Paris streets). Many solution or technology providers appeared as well. Who will be there next year?

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