“Latin America Experiences Important Changes in Sustainable Mobility, but Much Remains to be Done”

Latin America

The second panel of the virtual meeting “Latam Mobility: Day Mining, Technology & Charging“, entitled “The Role of Technology in the Growth of Sustainable Mobility in Latin America“, organized on May 4 by Latam Mobility, addressed through representatives of major companies the different technological solutions for fleets, companies and smart cities in the region.

The panel was attended by Sandra Montoya, Chief Commercial Officer Latam of Autocab; Francisco Villamil, Partner Account Manager Colombia of Geotab; Gustavo Collantes, CEO Managing Member of Logios Global; Julian Lara, International Expansion VP of Meep; Ionatan Galeano, CEO and Co-Founder of Flapz, under the moderation of Rebeca Gonzalez, co-founder of Invest in Latam, parent company of Latam Mobility.

Platform Integration is Essential

Sandra Montoya, representative of Autocab, a provider of cab and private rental booking and dispatching software, indicated that Latin America is an urbanized region, and that three million trips have been accounted for, which has allowed the company to collect and understand the data generated, as well as to look for alternatives that have worked in other regions, and integrate them with other platforms to optimize the use of connected fleets.

“We provide management tools to optimize the dispatch process; the reduction of emissions and consumption; the promotion of the use of new fleets of electric vehicles to ensure the transition to clean fuels, along with the integration of related services that incentivize user demand,” said Montoya.

The representative indicated that the adoption of the technology in Latin America has been a bit slow, especially when migrating towards technology and the use of new applications, but emphasized the importance of a global platform interconnected at a local, regional and international level, to increase efficiency, and optimize both user confidence and consumption.

“Our products and services, such as the iGo network, have several impacts: on the user it facilitates access to travel through applications; we integrate local, regional and national fleets, and give access to user confidence in relation to safety in their trips, while guiding drivers to know the data about their vehicles, profitability and consumption,” said Sandra Montoya.

Solutions to Save Lives

Geotab, a private company that offers telematics solutions and software analysis as a service, was represented by Francisco Villamil, Partner Account Manager Colombia, who explained that one of the company’s objectives is to reduce the carbon footprint through the collection of data from more than 2.7 million connected vehicles in the world.

“In Latin American cities, thanks to technology we can capture data in different variables, which will help us to boost smart-cities: for example, through the detection of sudden braking at a point in the city, or continuous accident zones, which will allow us to take such inputs to government institutions so that the necessary correctives can be applied,” said Villamil.

“We can also provide data linked to electric vehicles, where they make their stops, their recharges, or distance ranges, and provide the data to companies so that intelligent solutions can be offered, which not only improve the quality of life of users, but also save lives by avoiding accidents. This is one of our pillars,” said the Geotab representative.

In addition, Villamil pointed out that technology should be focused on providing resources, and that is why his company is focused on big data, artificial intelligence and machine-learning. “Through our solutions, it is possible to connect from one to 10 thousand vehicles in a fleet, and thus offer governments and institutions important inputs to boost productivity, safety and sustainability.”

Projects Must Be Feasible

Gustavo Collantes, CEO Managing Member of Logios Global, a company that offers solutions for the electrification of fleets, considers that Latin America is a region that is undergoing important changes in terms of mobility, but is not yet ready for it, so there are special challenges for the different sectors involved.

“Each place is different, it is difficult to generalize because each route is not the same, and neither is the infrastructure necessary for these changes: it is impossible to compare Quito with Buenos Aires or European cities, because there is also the topography, climate and distances, among others,” said the Logios representative.

Collantes indicated that it is necessary to know each route, connect the data, and find the idiosyncrasy of each region. “Our work is focused on the transformation of public transport fleets, in projects that must be taken efficiently, together with partners interested in the investment, with the objective of making viable the reduction of emissions and decarbonization”.

In addition, the representative was emphatic about the importance of government regulations when planning zero-emission public transport. “Regulations are important, you cannot ask everything to technology, since the governing bodies of the cities must create the conditions for electric transport to be more viable. This is an issue that must unite all providers.”

Offer Integration

For his part, Julián Lara, representative of Meep, a company that created a sustainable urban mobility application that adapts to the needs of users, pointed out that currently, in relation to public transportation, usage figures in some cities are between 80% and 90% compared to the numbers prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been proven that providing user information systems makes it easier for users to re-engage with public transportation, and one of our challenges is to help companies, government entities and authorities, to engage citizens by providing information in real time and in an accessible way, to make them move efficiently and reliably in many parts of the world,” said Lara.

“Many companies have become allies of cities, not only offering the fastest, most efficient direct or sustainable routes, but also helping to improve the reliability of users behind COVID-19, together with new players, such as car-sharing, bicycle services, or integrations between platforms, which increase new offers to citizens within the city,” the Meep executive pointed out.

In relation to current technology, Lara indicated that artificial intelligence, 5G networks, big data, drones, and more are available, and that we are living an exponential technological revolution. “We have more and more information, more data, all in real time. The challenge is to integrate solutions beyond technology, and seek collaborations between different companies, to offer complete and integrable answers to cities.”

Technology: Key to expansion

Ionatan Galeano, CEO and co-founder of Flapz, an executive aviation company that offers charter flights in airplanes, helicopters and jets, said that urbanization in major Latin American cities create an advantage in relation to air mobility solutions, which end up being an alternative to urban, but at the same time generate a challenge for everyone.

“Urbanization creates an advantage in major cities, such as Mexico City, Santiago, Bogotá or Sao Paulo, where they have more helicopters, which give way to mobility solutions, but much remains to be done on issues of regulation and implementation of new infrastructure, which have lagged a bit behind, and serve to make way for new solutions. The pandemic brought a setback and reduced the advances that were occurring,” said Galeano.

However, the director of Flapz believes that in the coming years new technologies will appear, thanks to strategic alliances with manufacturers and integrators, together with new infrastructures around aerial mobility, which will even promote the use of eVTOL (Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing) vehicles.

On the other hand, Galeano pointed out that it is not all about technology and innovation, but there must also be offerings for users who want to reduce carbon emissions. “At Flapz, we have made donations to reforest the Amazon, in addition to partnerships with institutions to allow our users to get involved with these types of initiatives.”

Next destination: Medellín

Finally, moderator Rebeca González invited speakers and users to the next face-to-face event, Latam Mobility: Colombia at the Orquideorama of the Medellín Botanical Garden between June 9 and 10, where the main players in the sustainable mobility sector in Latin America will meet, following in the footsteps of the carbon neutrality that Colombia has set for 2050.

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