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Techpoint Charlie

How can we get cities to work with startups?

What I learned following the autotech theme at 4YFN (Part II)

This post follows up on our article from last week, "All for one and one for all: collaborations and the race to win mobility." If you haven't read that one yet, you can read it here.

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A lot of the discussion at the Autotech theme at 4YFN was focused on how and why cities should work with startups. One major stepping stone: Give them permission — and regulations!

Karolina Korth, Chief Digital Officer of Siemens Mobility Spain, said that from the legislators’ side, cities need to create regulatory sandboxes to open the door for new mobility services. But for regulators to act, they first need to have an idea of what they’re doing and what the potential outcome would be.

Cities need to adapt laws to fit the changing needs of citizens, but tread lightly. Imagine if Paris gave Uber carte blanche to offer their services unchecked and unchallenged. The entire taxi industry would be left in free fall, the safety of passengers would be put at risk through unverified drivers and vehicles, and, ultimately, the city would be boxed out of accessing its own mobility data. Paris would ultimately be forced to hand over the reigns of its entire urban mobility to a tech giant.

Uber in Paris | Guilhem Vellut from Paris, France [CC BY 2.0 (]

In order to avoid this apocalyptic scenario, governments need to be a lot closer to innovation. Rikesh Shah, Head of Commercial Innovation at Transport for London argues that it’s not just technologies we need to adopt, but new business models:

“We need to engage early with them in order to understand them.”

In the automotive industry, we’re starting to see a changing landscape. User behavior is evolving, and this is what ultimately will determine which innovations are successful, and which ones aren’t. OEMs have understood that Uber & co are here to stay.

“They have to move in the same direction to stay relevant,” warned Dirk Evenson of New Mobility World.

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Stay tuned for next week, where we'll discuss the future role of auto manufacturers in Part III.



A group of tech enthusiasts telling stories of the future of mobility, startup/corporate partnerships, and collaborative innovation

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