The rise of micro-mobility options like e-bikes, e-scooters, and hoverboards has revolutionized the way we commute in urban areas. These lightweight vehicles have become popular among people who are looking for convenient, eco-friendly, and affordable short-distance commuting options.
Considering the rise, decision-makers are now willing to explore such mobility options while working on various vehicle-as-a-service models. Yet, the micro-mobility industry faces several challenges such as safety concerns, fleet management, and maintenance issues, to name a few.
Fortunately, the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to address these challenges and improve the overall efficiency of the micromobility market.
Today’s blog highlights the major challenges in micromobility and potential IoT implementations to solve them. We will also get some insights into the future of this industry. To get a better understanding of what Internet of Things in micromobility really is, let’s first define the term micromobility.
What is Micromobility?
Micro mobility refers to the smart and convenient way of commuting within an urban area. It involves the use of lightweight vehicles powered by electric batteries and operated by individuals for commuting over relatively short distances.
Micro mobility vehicles are compact, lightweight, and designed for short-distance transportation within urban areas. These vehicles can include –
- Electric bicycles (e-bikes)
- Cargo bikes
- Electric scooters (e-scooters)
- Electric pedal-assisted bicycles, and
- Other compact, motorized devices such as hoverboards and electric skateboards
All these mico mobility vehicles are perfect for zipping through traffic and navigating the tight streets of urban areas in an eco-friendly way. The use of micro-mobility vehicles can reduce carbon emissions and noise pollution and promote sustainability in society.
IoT in the Micromobility Industry
With IoT technology, the micromobility industry is experiencing a transformation that is reshaping the way people commute, and improving the overall mobility experience. Here are some potential benefits of IoT in the micromobility industry:
1 Real-time tracking and monitoring
IoT sensors installed on micromobility vehicles enable real-time tracking and monitoring of the vehicle’s location, speed, and battery levels. This data can be used to optimize fleet management, as well as to provide commuters with accurate information about the availability and location of vehicles.
2 Predictive maintenance
With IoT sensors, fleet managers can track the health of their vehicles in real-time, identifying any maintenance issues before they turn into larger problems. Predictive maintenance helps to reduce downtime, improve vehicle safety, and extend the lifespan of micromobility vehicles.
3 Smart parking
IoT sensors can be used to create smart parking solutions for micromobility vehicles. This can include designated parking areas with sensors that detect when a vehicle is parked and automatically lock it in place. Smart parking can help to reduce theft and vandalism, as well as ensure that vehicles are parked in safe and secure locations.
4 Improved rider experience
IoT technology can also improve the trip experience. For example, sensors can be used to detect when a commuter is riding a bike or scooter and adjust the lighting to improve visibility. Additionally, IoT sensors can be used to monitor air quality and temperature, providing commuters with a more comfortable and enjoyable ride. Ultimately, encouraging more people to use micromobility services.
5 Data analytics
IoT sensors provide micromobility service providers with vast amounts of data that can be analyzed to identify trends and patterns. This data can be used to optimize fleet management, improve vehicle design, and identify areas where service can be improved.
6 Enhanced safety
IoT sensors can detect potential safety hazards such as vehicle malfunctions, accidents, or traffic congestion. This information can be used to alert riders and fleet managers and to improve the design of future micro mobility vehicles.
IoT sensors can help monitor the environmental impact of micromobility vehicles by tracking factors such as energy consumption and emissions. This information can be used to develop more sustainable transportation systems and encourage more people to switch to micromobility as a means of transportation.
To put it simply, IoT in micromobility industry is all about creating a solid foundation of connected systems, micromobility software, applications, and other tools. This foundation is responsible for executing, managing, and upgrading the intelligent transportation system for the better. IoT has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of the micromobility industry, making it a more attractive and viable transportation option for people in urban areas.
Challenges in Micromobility and Solutions Using IoT
There are various challenges in micromobility faced by businesses worldwide. An effective way to overcome them is with the right implementation of IoT-enabled solutions. Let’s understand this scenario in detail to give you a better idea along with reliable digital solution.
1 Compliance With Changing Government Norms
With the increasing population and rising competition among the players, the deployment of the micromobility fleet is not easy anymore. There are certain regulations to follow that differ either city or even state-wise. For instance, driving within the speed limit, parking standards, vehicle capping, etc. Furthermore, many cities and municipalities have yet to establish clear regulations for these types of vehicles. This can lead to issues around licensing, insurance, and liability.
Complying with these regulations and following them is an important hurdle faced by companies. To overcome these issues, companies need to track vehicle metrics, such as speed, time taken to reach the destination, which route is being followed, where the vehicle is parked, and so on.
How to Solve the compliance related issues with IoT
This can be achieved by installing IoT-enabled devices in vehicles, such as GPS trackers and sensors. Using these solutions, the vehicle can be wirelessly controlled to abide by city regulations. It helps in finding the nearest charging stations for electric scooters. When it comes to parking, IoT-based devices can notify the rider about the correct parking space and prompt them to park their vehicles in place.
2 Data Sharing With Traffic Authorities
Our list of challenges in micromobility will be incomplete without mentioning data sharing. In order to operate in the cities, the city traffic authorities need vehicle data, such as environmental conditions, traffic patterns, driving routes, speed limits, etc. It is not easy to only share the vehicle device data and protect other critical information.
IoT has been a go-to option to provide this information to vehicle companies. With the stricter laws for data sharing, a micromobility servicing infrastructure platform now has the privilege to collaborate with IoT firms and develop a solution that would easily share filtered data.
Since the majority of micromobility operations take place through a mobile app, security issues and bugs in the software are the usual concerns, especially in electric bikes and scooters. These bugs cause several issues, for example, ending the ride midway, charging extra after the ride ends, not being able to navigate properly through the route, and so on.
How to overcome data -related issues using IoT
To overcome these issues, the micromobility service providers are now implementing over-the-air (OTA) firmware that remotely updates the code on a digital device. It helps in consistently updating the software and its behavior in order to improve the product and safeguard important data.
3 Rider Behavior
Identifying rider behavior is one of the most important challenges micromobility companies are facing today. They find it difficult to monitor rider patterns on the road while tracking other important vehicle performance metrics.
However, innovation and advancement are changing this scenario. Now, one can help a rider improve his/her riding behavior remotely via advanced technologies. Here’s a simple example to clear up all your confusion once and for all.
Aron rides a scooter to his workplace. As a responsible citizen, he is expected to drive consciously, within the speed limit and designated lane. However, Aron is not always in his best form and sometimes rides rashly. This rash riding becomes a problem not only for him but also for the micromobility firms.
How to track rider behavior with IoT powered solutions:
With IoT at their disposal, companies can keep a track of vehicle behavior. In case of any discrepancies, they can send notifications on the app or the connected device to draw riders’ attention.
Put simply, if a scooter is cutting the lane, or wobbling, the internal IoT sensor detects it and prompts the rider to ride within the lane. This feature is helpful for new riders who tend to be a bit unstable on the roads for the first few times.
4 Delivering Safe and Secure Micromobility Services
Providing secure transportation services is the most widely experienced challenges in micromobility. It becomes the responsibility of the micromobility as a service provider to keep their riders and drivers safe.
Furthermore, Micromobility vehicles are vulnerable to accidents, collisions, and other safety hazards. Riders may also be at risk from other vehicles and pedestrians. Ensuring the safety of micromobility users is a key challenge for the transportation service providers.
How to improve transportation safety with IoT:
With the correct IoT devices installed in the vehicle, this becomes quite easy for the companies to keep a track of the whereabouts and activities of the vehicles.
On the other hand, IoT-driven vehicle intelligence systems are taking the center stage. They are creating a safer micromobility ecosystem for all the stakeholders. What makes them more significant is their ability to detect traffic congestion, accident-prone areas, and other navigation complexities beforehand.
The successful implementation of IoT helps businesses take full advantage of imperatives like route navigation, emergency alarm, advanced driving assistance system (ADAS), and so on. For example, the connected sensors ensure safer navigation for an e-bike and help a rider reach the desired destination quickly and effectively.
5 Vandalism/Theft Preventing and Reporting
Vandalism and theft prevention stand amongst the most hard-to-tackle micromobility challenges. And with the increasing cases of vehicle theft, businesses have to go through various operational complexities as well.
One of the most significant micro mobility challenges related to preventing vandalism and theft of micromobility vehicles is their accessibility. Micromobility vehicles are often parked in public places and are easily accessible to anyone. Therefore, it is crucial to educate riders on how to properly secure their vehicles when not in use. This can include using locks and parking in well-lit and high-traffic areas.
In addition, reporting vandalism and theft of micromobility vehicles can also be a challenge. Many riders may not know who to contact or how to report an incident. Therefore, it is crucial to educate riders on how to report incidents of vandalism and theft.
How to solve this problem with IoT:
With the help of certain IoT sensors, companies can easily avoid such situations and create micro mobility theft solution through the use of IoT-enabled locks, real-time GPS tracking, and anti-theft alarms. Investing in an apt IoT device management system and hardware can also make the most out of the connected IoT features given below:
Theft Prevention: Sensors can track the unusualness in the ride or when the theft is detected. It can disable the movement of wheels to prevent them from being driven.
Remote Tracking: When standing idle, the sensors map the surroundings and notify if there is any damage caused to the vehicle. This data is directly shared with the organization and traffic authorities, along with the rider of the vehicle.
Power Tracking: This feature automatically activates the kill switch of a scooter. It detects the loss of power supply in one or more components thereby preventing the parts of the scooter from getting stolen.
IoT Apps: IoT-enabled micromobility devices can be used to educate riders on how to prevent and report vandalism and theft of micromobility vehicles. These devices can provide interactive educational content, real-time feedback, and data analytics, making it easy for riders to learn and understand the importance of securing their vehicles properly.
6 Scaling Shared Micromobility Service
Achieving the needed business scalability is one of the toughest micromobility operational challenges. Every project is built from a perspective to scale further in the coming times. If you do not scale in the right direction, your product or service might fall flat eventually.
How to scale shared micro mobility service using IoT:
Scaling with IoT technology can take your shared micromobility business to the next level. Just make sure that you modify the complete system instead of focusing on individual tasks. This will help you focus on the necessary features and functionalities while avoiding potential technical complexities and glitches. As a business owner, you need to choose a trusted vendor that integrates your operations with the right set of connected devices, applications, or software. Working with an experienced IoT service provider is the best option in this given scenario. It would surely convert your ideation into an epic reality.
Future of Micromobility with IoT
The future of micromobility with IoT is very promising. IoT-enabled micromobility vehicles are expected to transform the way we move around in cities and towns.
Investing in IoT not only helps overcome potential challenges in micromobility but brings an array of advantages to your table. Many tech giants and legacy enterprises like Intel, Google, etc., have already started capitalizing on this technology. This shows that the combination of IoT and micromobility holds a great scope in the coming years.
Independent research states that –
- The global IoT solutions for the micromobility landscape are about to reach a whopping $26.3 billion by 2031.
- Major drivers and contributors of this growth include the rising demand for first/last-mile transportation, dynamic investments in micromobility, parking simplification, increasing micromobility shared services, saturation within the automobile sector, and more.
On the flip side, investments from OEMs in R&D activities to discover superior IoT-powered micomobility solutions are anticipated to grow by leaps and bounds. Urbanization and the constantly increasing population are about to enhance the adoption of the internet of things in transportation (internet of mobility). It will enable users to switch from conventional to more secure micromobility vehicles.
Altogether, the alliance of micro mobility & IoT helps businesses make transportation more accessible, affordable, and vigilant for their end users. It successfully contributes to the environment by decreasing the level of carbon emissions and reducing the dependency on crude oils.
The integration of IoT in mobility has the potential to revolutionize the transportation industry by enabling real-time data collection, analysis, and decision-making capabilities. Leveraging micro mobility and IoT services, businesses can improve transportation systems and reduce congestion in the urban areas.
With IoT, micromobility service providers will be able to deliver dockless e-bikes and mopeds to the urban population with utmost precision. They can also use GPS trackers, connected devices, sensors, and adjacent technologies (Metaverse, AI, ML, cloud computing, etc.), to keep up with the ever-changing user expectations.
Overall, the Internet of things can be a preferred choice to combat and overcome various challenges in micromobility. It increases the scope of transportation operations and helps manufacturers make the best use of available resources. Mobisoft can expose your business to a range of top-tier IoT services that can empower your micromobility initiatives just the way you want. Leverage our IoT development services to Connect with our skilled IoT professionals to start your dream project right away.
Nitin Lahoti is the Co-Founder and Director at Mobisoft Infotech. He has 15 years of experience in Design, Business Development and Startups. His expertise is in Product Ideation, UX/UI design, Startup consulting and mentoring. He prefers business readings and loves traveling.