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MWC: Seat Minimó – AI meets urban mobility

Picture: Arthur Goldstuck

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Seat unveiled the Minimó – a concept car that it says will transform urban mobility. With this concept, the company confirms it is going to spearhead the Volkswagen Group’s micromobility strategy by coming up with ideas and creating products specifically designed for short trips within cities.

Click through to read about Seat’s latest concept car and how it implements AI.

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Seat claims its latest concept car combines the safety and comfort of a car with the agility and parking ease of a motorcycle. It has been especially developed for shared use, is 100% electric and thanks to an innovative battery swap system, it enables carsharing providers to reduce their operating costs by up to 50%.

Over the course of the congress, Seat had the chance to meet with and listen to representatives of several public institutions to learn about their views and specific needs regarding urban mobility. As a result of these joint efforts, SEAT will analyse the possibilities of integrating the proposals made by authorities and the public in the development of the SEAT Minimó concept car to find solutions with a common goal – enhance urban mobility.

Seat and IBM also reported the development of a new solution designed to transform driving in cities. Mobility Advisor uses IBM Watson AI to help urban citizens make informed decisions about their daily transportation options: from cars to scooters, bikes and public transport.

Currently under development and designed to run as a mobile app on 4G/5G networks, Mobility Advisor uses IBM Watson Assistant to provide users with a conversational interface to plan and optimise routes and suggest the most suitable transportation options.

“Traffic congestion and environmental challenges are putting huge pressure on cities to transform,” said Jordi Caus, head of new urban mobility concepts at Seat. “At Seat, we are leading the way by working with innovative cities and technology companies to come up with solutions to make mobility easier and more efficient. With its advanced cloud and AI technologies, IBM is helping us to innovate new approaches to mobility that will transform our business strategy while improving the lives of people living in urban areas.”

With IBM Watson Machine Learning, Mobility Advisor can learn a user’s preferences and make personalised recommendations for how best to complete a journey. Connected to the IBM Cloud, it dynamically adapts to changing conditions by taking into account weather forecasts, traffic reports and things happening in the city that day. It incorporates the user’s appointments and historical data about previous choices in order to suggest the best modes of transportation each time – even if that means leaving the car behind, walking, or using one of Seat’s e-KickScooters for the part of the journey.

“With the roll-out of 5G networks in cities in the coming years, the possibilities for transforming the driver experience are limitless,” said Juan Ramon Gutierrez Villar, industry solutions leader at IBM Global Markets. “At IBM, we are working with telecommunications companies and innovative manufacturers like Seat to provide the open technologies which they need to deliver on this vision and create highly contextualized and personalized user experiences that work at lightning speed across multiple clouds and IT platforms.”

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