This is how we shop in the future

metroSNAP is the supermodular mobility platform for everywhere business models

A hybrid of online platform and classic business

Or why the current online trade will soon reach its limits and new business models will have to be implemented.

Online trade is booming, and it is also increasingly including the fresh food sector. The fundamental problem is the last mile. Although we can envision a day when the bread from the bakery is delivered directly to our door with no minimum fee, today there are still enormous hurdles for logistical systems. After all, the customer is of course not at home when the driver makes his route on working days. Fresh food is difficult to drop off at the neighbor's or leave on the doorstep. Delivery boxes, however, are still little known in this country and as a result are hardly ever used. If one would offer the possibility to let the customer choose the delivery time as a reaction to this, it can be assumed that hardly any orders would be requested before 6 pm. How would this be possible in the already massively overloaded transport networks of the big cities? In addition: Even in the coming age of autonomy, this step cannot be automated or taken over by machines entirely.

How metroSNAP handles the last mile elegantly

metroSNAP takes a different approach. The Swiss innovator Rinspeed and many other partners are behind the joint project including SAP, Osram, Ernst & Young and Cognizant Mobility. In a cooperative effort, Cognizant Mobility has developed the prototype of a modular mobility platform that can be used for almost any type of business model for example, in retail or parcel delivery services. This is also the case in the example of delivering convenience food to end customers. At metroSNAP, the chassis ("skateboard") and the superstructures ("PODs") are interchangeable at will: the chassis is designed as a fully autonomous service platform, while the superstructures are adapted to the operator's specific business case. The POD of metroSNAP will be set up in the city area, to enable use cases such aus food shopping on the spot or to deliver mail to relevant traffic junctions. metroSNAP thus becomes the first logical step in solving daily recurring tasks for people in a decentralized manner. It is a solution for the hurdle of the last mile. Because the few meters to the next POD can be easily integrated into everyday life, for example on the way home from work.

In A Nutshell

  • Machine Learning
  • Deep Reinforcement Learning
  • Fleet Management
  • Digital POS
  • Eventbased-Data-Collection
Dr. Daniel Isemann
Head of Data Science and AI

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Machine learning only insights: The top-selling positions in the city

When planning a location, the retail trade always asks itself the question of the optimal location. The opportunities offered by continuously changing locations have not yet been recognized - but they are extremely promising. The challenge of predicting the right position in the urban area to set down the POD and optimizing it throughout the day can only be solved in a meaningful way through machine learning. Cognizant Mobility has therefore developed a recommender system that predicts precisely these optimal locations. At the heart of the process is Deep-Reinforcement Learning, which uses the monetary turnover of the PODs across the entire fleet network as a target figure. Our approach does not require any existing data sets at the start and thus enables new business models to go live immediately.

A.I. based suggestion system directly integrated into metroSNAP fleet management

In the future, operators should be able to control and manage all necessary functions of their business model and thus PODS with a clearly structured fleet management tool. We make a distinction between operators of any business model and the Mobility Service Platform, which provides all technical functions. Business models such as the example of the convenience food store can thus be implemented in a timely manner, the operator uses the platform and can thus take mobility for granted. Along the intelligent suggestion system, which is constantly learning, not only can the loading of suitable products be managed, but also the performance of the entire system - and thus the turnover - can be managed.

No longer waiting for autonomous driving thanks to metroSNAP

Hardly any other area of technology has experienced such a strong phase of disillusionment in recent years as autonomous driving. Level 5 autonomy is being pushed further into the future by experts in the industry. The financial resources of corporations are slowly but steadily becoming thinner and thinner. Reason enough to work on solutions that are not completely dependent on it.

For the business case of metroSNAP, it is in fact irrelevant in the first step whether the skateboards ride completely autonomously or whether a version with a driver is used first. The mobility platform achieves its great potential not only through autonomy, but especially through the fact that a truly digital business model is created from previous point of sale (POS)-bound business. A model in which the usage and consumption behavior of customers can be read, optimized and precisely predicted. All purchasing via metroSNAP is done digitally and thus generates customer data with high value.

Together with Rinspeed's partners, Cognizant Mobility is working on a continuation of this concept. Perhaps the cityscape of the future will soon be shaped by PODS with high recognition value. It would be desirable in any case, because it not only addresses the problem of the last mile - it also reduces disruptive traffic in the cities' road network. Perhaps it is time not only for the uncomplicated fulfilment of people's everyday problems, but also for an end to the truck convoys in the cities.