This article traces some of the key milestones in MVMANT's journey from Mercedes-Benz factory in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, to Ragusa in Sicily, its pilot deployment site under the frontierCities smart mobility acceleration programme. As they made their way across Germany and Italy the MVMANT Deployment Team stopped in five cities to meet local authorities and key representatives from the transport and mobility associations in order to discuss potentially innovative and complementary solutions that MVMANT can bring to cities with growing transportation and mobility needs.
What is MVMANT?
Put simply, MVMANT, developed by Edisonweb, is a new urban, real-time and on-demand mobility solution, with its platform enabling a new type of shared transport, an ideal synthesis of buses and taxis. A fleet of cars running along fixed routes (similar to a bus service) are able to offer speed and coverage comparable to that of taxis. The vehicles are connected to a localisation system allowing users to check in real time their position and the availability of seats on board. Vehicles are therefore available where and when needed.
For users, booking and paying for their rides is as easy as a few clicks on their smartphone via the application. “A key attraction of MVMANT is that is like a ride-sharing system that can easily integrate into cities’ public transport systems”, observes Riccardo D’Angelo, Founder & CEO of EdisonWeb and CEO of the MVMANT Project Team. “Thus, it’s very easy for a city to take this solution on board and integrate it quickly into its existing public transport system”.
The Journey begins
On 5 April 2016 the MVMANT Team started its 2,000 kilometre journey to Ragusa, Italy, when it collected its four personally-customised Mercedes vehicles from the Mercedes-Benz factory in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, in the presence of Mercedes-Benz managers Thomas Würdig, Christian Borowski and Jannic Hermann, as well as representatives from the Mirabellesi community in the region. “Starting the journey at Merecedes-Benz in Sindelfingen was important at a number of levels” says MVMANT CEO and co-founder Blochin Cuius “Firstly, it was to acknowledge the role that our partner Mercedes-Benz has played in this project. Secondly, this area has profound connections with Mirabella Imbaccari, city headquarter of EdisonWeb (the company behind MVMANT),"as it hosts a community of Italians from Mirabella larger than in their country of origin, while the Mercedes-Benz plant here has a significant proportion of workers who originate from Sicily”.
Onwards to Milan... Arriving the following day in Milan, the MVMANT Team met with the City of Milan’s Council Member for Mobility, Mr. Pierfrancesco Maran, as well as with President and Vice President of the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Confocommercio, Mr. Andrea Colzani and Mr. Piersergio Trapani. “The meeting was intense and productive” recalls Mr. Cuius, “as discussion focused on the contribution of private commercial enterprises on sustainable mobility”.
Open dialogue and discussion with Venice’s Taxi Drivers:
On 6 and 7 April 2016, the MVMANT Team stopped in Mestre and Venice, where they met with Gabriele Stevanato, President of the Radiotaxi Cooperative of Venice and Mestre, as well as taxi drivers that travelled from Treviso and Padua to participate in the meeting. The discussion was wide ranging, including looking at how technological innovation was transforming the urban transport market, and bringing new challenges for all stakeholders, and the inevitable tension that has arisen with some smart mobility innovation and models.
“We found the discussion to be not just intense, but really valuable”, commented MVMANT’s Blochin Cuius afterwards. “We were struck by the interest and commitment expressed by the taxi drivers and their representative bodies to look to the future and to embrace this technological change, and find new connected solutions that meet the changing demands of citizens and that can promote new collaboration, and not conflict, between transport actors. Given that MVMANT creates a complementary market, this was really positive for us, as we believe we have an enabling technology for a new form of collaboration between all public transport operators, and one that can unite rather than divide”.
Next Week in Part 2 – The Journey Continues – from Rome to Ragusa
Rome: MVMANT speaks at the Italian House of Parliament (la Camera dei Deputati) Ragusa: The MVMANT deployment trial begins.
Read more: The diary of the trip (in Italian): www.germania-sicilia.it