The Imagine Festival in Milton Keynes highlighted the potential of technology to revolutionise the way we move. A variety of young entrepreneurs gathered under one roof to offer creative solutions to 21st-century travel dilemmas.
A London-based company Zipabout seeks to take the hassle out of route planning. Collecting travel schedules, real-time updates, detailed weather and a unique social media scanner which extrapolates useful data from users posts. Zipabout have created a platform that can be used by developers to create systems such as intelligent journey planners that counteract and alleviate travel nightmares.
“The idea is that you wake up in the morning [and your] phone pings up a notification saying we know your train that you usually take is going to be delayed this morning because it’s raining, and it’s half-term and it gets really busy and [it] will proactively suggest that you take [a] different route,” says Zipabout’s technical director.
Developers at i-Abra have created software that uses cameras, like those in handheld devices to give vehicles spatial awareness in order to detect and recognise a host of obstacles, from other cars to pedestrians. Not only is the system cheaper than current car radar systems, but, thanks to neural computing algorithms, it’s smarter than existing camera-based systems since it can be “trained” during testing to improve its recognition prowess.
“‘Intelligent mobility’ is transforming the way we move people and goods,” says Dr Paul Zanelli - TSC, organisers of the two-day festival at its Imovation Centre.
“Our job is to try to create the environment where companies can see that the UK is a place to come and exploit that global opportunity,” he concludes.
Ultimately, says Zanelli, technology has the potential to fine tune the transport industry, and resolve issues that have long needed a solution. “We can get a lot more out of what we have, just doing things intelligently, and we can make the experience for people massively better.”