Mobility Blog

Smart cities and smart fleets to lead the future

Smart cities and smart fleets to lead the future

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the Internet of Things (IOT), meaning the variety of devices connected to the network, are paving the way forward for “smart” cities. What is a smart city? Imagine the value of a city that creates sustainable economic development and a high quality of life by excelling in the areas of economy, mobility, environment, people, living and government.

How to recognize a smart city? It is a city which:

  • Apply a wide range of electronic and digital technologies to communities.
  • Use ICT to transform life and working environments within the region.
  • Embed ICTs in government systems.
  • Coordinate practices that bring ICTs and people together to enhance the innovation and knowledge that they offer.


Smart Cities in action

Globally, 3 big cities are getting known for becoming smarter in the following ways:
  • Columbus, United States:
In 2017, Columbus associated with American Electric Power to create a group of new electric vehicle charging stations. They used this arrangement to not only prepare for ongoing changes in the climate, but also to deepen their electric infrastructure. The idea was to convert existing public vehicle fleets to electric vehicles and in turn, create incentives for people to share rides while commuting.
  • Amsterdam, Holland:

- Street lamps have been upgraded to dim the lights based on pedestrian usage.

- To ease parking hassles, citizens can now use the app Mobypark, on which owners of parking spaces rent them out to people for a fee. Data gathered from this app is then used by the city to determine parking demand and traffic flows.

- Smart energy meters have been installed, with incentives provided to those that actively reduce energy consumption.

- Smart traffic management monitors traffic flow in real time of the city. Information about current travel time on certain roads is broadcast to allow motorists to determine the best routes to take.

  • Barcelona, Spain:

- Sensor technology has been implemented in the irrigation system in Parc del Centre de Poblenou, where real-time data is transmitted to gardening crews about the level of water required for the plants.

- A new bus network has been established, based on data analysis of the most common traffic flows. Smart traffic lights allow buses to run on routes designed to optimize the number of green lights. In an emergency, the approximate route of the emergency vehicle is entered into Barcelona’s traffic light system, setting all the lights to green as the vehicle approaches through a mix of GPS and traffic management software.

Smart fleets in a brave new world

Commuters spend an unbelievable amount of time in their cars. Needless to mention, long commute takes a toll on our health with higher weight, higher blood pressure and lower fitness levels. In the United States, according to the Census Bureau, the average worker is now taking more than 26 minutes to travel (one way) to work. That’s the longest it has been since the Census started tracking American’s commutes in 1980. That’s around 12,500 minutes or 208 hours a year.

Technologies designed to reduce the time spent on road for commuters and drivers keep on arriving on the market. By 2025, Navigant Research is expecting that more than 1.2 billion vehicles globally will be connected to their surroundings, helping to reduce congestion and pollution.

Electric Vehicles are particularly having their momentum. Electrification has several advantages like reduction in emissions and less dependency on oil imports. In India, some major challenges include dependence on China for raw material, competitive disadvantage in power electronics and battery manufacturing, and lack of infrastructure—for example, there are fewer than 1,000 charging stations in the country. Moreover, many consumers remain wary of electric vehicles because of the cost, range anxiety, and lack of options.

  • According to FAME 2018 reports, 261,701 EVs were sold (approximately 106,000 were cars), 261,543 incentives were claimed and the central government spent Rs 306 crores from the FAME scheme. This is quite an increase since 2016 when 25,000 EVs were sold.
  • India’s electric vehicle market is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 37 per cent in the next 5 years.
  • By 2030, electrification could lead to electric vehicles holding a substantial share (up to 50% of new vehicle sales in a breakthrough scenario) of the global automobile sector.

Most of the Indian car manufacturers are taking lead to help people understand and adapt to this new technology.

  • Tata have 3 car models, Hero have a dozen two-wheelers, Mahindra aim at the commercial market with a van and auto-rickshaws as well as a car, Ashok have manufactured electric buses and a number of companies are manufacturing two-wheelers.
  • Hero are offering to partner with large campuses to locate solar photovoltaic charging stations for two-wheelers creating low cost fuel-independent movement for users.
  • A Hyderabad start-up is converting seven to eight years old fossil  fuel cars to electric vehicles with a motor, controller and lithium ion battery.
  • A couple of companies are developing bike-cars which are enclosed three-wheelers, with a photovoltaic roof and are capable of carrying an one to two adults and a small amount of stuff.


However, globally the electric scene is much more advanced. The rise of electric cars with smart technology continues to grow big. Electric vehicles now have navigation systems that alert drivers to proximate charging stations and provide battery charge status updates. City officials around the world working to control pollution are actively encouraging electric vehicles in car sharing services.

Innovative carsharing models now allow drivers to return the vehicles wherever they want and not only to the same place they picked them up, much as the urban bicycle-sharing models have worked.

For example, Paris-France, has inaugurated Autolib', its electric car sharing service. Autolib' has a fleet of all electric cars for public use on a basis of paid subscription, employing a citywide network of parking and charging stations. Data from 2016 revealed that 3,980 cars have been registered for the service, with 1,084 electric car stations and 5,935 charging points. More than 126,900 Parisians have been seduced by this innovative service and have subscribed to it.

Globally, Navigant Research predicts that the urban mobility model of the future will rely on both carsharing and ride-hailing. In the midst of this constructive shift will also be opportunities for autonomous driving — technology that will engineer a major breakthrough in quality of life and low-carbon efficiency. With no doubts, fleets will provide the lead in driving forward this much anticipated move to smarter cities. Fleet mobility and safety is and will continue to be a multifaceted pursuit.

To find out more about how we aim to accelerate our mobility strategy and unlock new experiences for our clients“ALD Automotive and Microsoft sign partnership agreement to develop smart mobility solutions