The next edition of Mondial Tech will join leaders and experts from the Automotive industry, who are continuously looking for innovation and improvements in this field.This is the case of Xavier Aymonod who is chairman of the jury of the sustainable mobility category at Mondial Tech Startup Awards.
We recently interviewed Xavier to know more about his participation and point of view of the sustainable mobility category.
Please introduce yourself, present your experience and your role at Transdev
My name is Xavier Aymonod and I am in charge of Innovation and Strategy at Transdev Group. The main missions of my team are to define, implement and roll-out the Group’s technology and innovation strategy and roadmap, mainly in the fields of personalized, autonomous, connected and eco-friendly solutions for the transport needs of tomorrow. Previously, I worked 10 years at Roland Berger as a Partner and was involved in the management of complex strategy projects (corporate strategy, restructuring, performance plan, due diligences…) with a specialization in transportation and infrastructures (railways, public transport, airlines, airports…)
What kinds of innovations are being developed at Transdev?
Transdev, one of the world’s leading providers of mobility services, continues to develop and deploy sustainable solutions in line with its vision of mobility, embodied by the acronym PACE: Personalized, Autonomous, Connected and Eco-friendly.
Personalized mobility involves developing smart solutions for transportation on demand to offer users services that best meet their needs to promote multi-modal systems and improve mobility for all. These new offerings have already been rolled out in France, the Netherlands, the United States and Australia.
Transdev is actively working to implement solutions that promote autonomous mobility as an integral part of transportation systems. That is the goal of the agreements and projects it has launched with its partner manufacturers—the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and Lohr—and local authorities. One such example is the creation of the Rouen Normandy Autonomous Lab in France.
Transdev has also conducted a number of experiments in France and the Netherlands to promote smart mobility as part of an approach that allows travelers to plan every step of their journey by making the most of all available means of transportation, including ticketing.
These initiatives have put Transdev at the forefront of the energy transition, already embodied by an array of clean e-mobility solutions. The company now operates nearly 500 electric buses and minibuses across 27 sites in seven countries and is Europe’s largest e-bus operator, with contracts in Amsterdam and Eindhoven; two cities that have some of the world’s cleanest bus systems.
What is your current relationship with startups?
Our approach to startups has been quite pragmatic, we either both develop technologies ourselves (for autonomous transports systems), or via a Transdev subsidiary (e.g. Cityway for MaaS) or we cooperate directly with a growing ecosystem of identified startups is such fields as MaaS or Transport on demand. As there is growing startup activity in the fields of sustainable mobility, we are eager to continue identifying new startups at Mondial.Tech to take us even further. We have started developing an innovation ecosystem to accelerate our involvement with startups.
What are the best ways for startups to stand out from the crowd today?
In my opinion, the best way for startups to stand from the crowd is to be able to put forward a first trial or preliminary rollout of the service/product so as to become identified by the tech community, participate in such startup challenges or awards. Such startup challenges, organized around the world, as the upcoming Mondial.Tech, or the recent Viva Technology event in Paris remain a must for those startups wanting to make a difference. These events also represent a major opportunity for transport and mobility companies like Transdev to discover new technologies and innovative approaches to mobility services.
We also look for startups which are confident in their value proposition and therefore willing to share the risk of pilot(s) with us. This is for us a key signal on the materiality of their offer – sharing the risks also means for us sharing the rewards: if a startup allow us to substantially increase our revenues or lower the cost of our operations, we rightly consider that the startup should be rewarded for it.
What are the challenges that startups face in the mobility field today? How can technology address these challenges?
The mobility sector has attracted much attention from the startup field, in particular in the area of Mobility as a Service. MaaS embodies the Transdev promise to make mobility a genuinely comprehensive, integrated service spanning all means of transportation, public and private, through a single user app. For Transdev, MaaS represents the transition from a transportation system to an integrated mobility service delivered to the same high standard as the other services it operates. That service must be door to door, seamless, personalized, safe, inclusive, green, affordable and enjoyable. Transdev plans to set the MaaS standard as an established pioneer in the market. That’s where tech startups can help us accelerate technology introduction and user adoption.
If you had to create a startup in the mobility field right now, what would it be / what problem would it solve?
It’s a hard question because there are so many opportunities in this exciting moment for mobility. Allow me to choose two!
I am a real fan of flying objects, so I would tend to answer drones! The drone market is really taking off right now. Flying is in some ways easier than evolving on the ground with the constraints of the existing infrastructure. So this market just might develop more quickly than expected.
I also believe that Artificial Intelligence will bring, and not only in mobility, game-changing models and value propositions to the market. So, without being more precise, I would definitively investigate that field as well.
What are the most important trends or latest innovations in the area of Sustainable Mobility in the transport and mobility fields?
In addition to its conventional passenger transportation services, which include train, metro, light rail, BRT, bus, coach, ferry and more, Transdev is expanding into four areas of technology and innovation that hold real promise for the future: our current focus includes in particular Mobility as a Service, Transport on Demand, new energy models and autonomous transportation systems. These are the four key areas where we see the strongest development for daily mobility, Transdev’s home turf. In addition, the combined use of several maturing technologies can bring significant operational efficiency in our core activities (on workforce planning, maintenance and countless other subjects), while performance is a challenge for mobility companies and one of our core concerns.