Radar – Our selection of innovative businesses #5

Smart analysis of waste being tested by Sidewalk Labs (Alphabet) in Toronto, a city lab for futuristic innovations soon to be built by Toyota, and Lime’s electric scooters about to disappear from 12 cities...

Sidewalk Labs (Alphabet) launches in Toronto the Clean Recycling Pilot to help citizens improve waste sorting habits

Sidewalk Labs, the Alphabet owned start-up specialized in urban innovations, will now collect some information from Toronto’s habitants waste sorting behaviors. The project is lead in partnership with AMP Robotics computer vision system to help identify materials on the conveyor belt.

2 times per week, residents of the buildings will receive feedback and tips by e-mail corresponding to the results of the previous week so they can improve their behaviors.

In order to respect their privacy, the name or location of the building will not be published and there is an option to opt out. Once the pilot is complete, Sidewalk Labs will share a report with the public using non-identifying data.

Today, only 28 % of the waste is recycled or composted in Toronto. The city has an ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65 % in 2030 and divert 70% of recyclables and organics from landfill by 2026.

Toyota wants to build a living laboratory for innovations at the at the base of Mount Fuji

At CES in Las Vegas, Toyota President, Akio Toyoda, announced the creation of Woven City, a city where Toyota and other companies can test innovations in real life conditions.

Scheduled to be ready in 2021, the city has been designed by the architect who built Google’s headquarters in California. It will accommodate 2 000 inhabitants, most of whom are employees of the company.

On site, will be tested: autonomous zero-emission cars and trucks, smart homes powered by solar energy and hydrogen, medical robots … the researchers will also study the interactions of the different machines with each other.

For example, Toyota will launch in the streets several models of e-Palette, its autonomous vehicle presented for the first time at CES 2018, which allows to transport people and deliveries.

The company has already invested $ 1 million in a project from the University of Michigan to test its autonomous vehicles. In Saudi Arabia another city of the same kind, Neom, serves as an innovation lab for the Kingdom.

E-scooter startup Lime just laid off 100 employees and exited 12 markets trying to boost profitability

The company Lime is laying off about 14% of its workforce (100 employees) and shuttering operations in 12 markets, including some American cities (Phoenix and Atlanta) and South American cities (Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires).

The reason : After two years of exponential growth, the e-scooter market has entered a new phase where profitability becomes key and investors want to see some return on investments. Hence, the company is closing its under performing markets.

Others competitors like Bird, Scoot, Lyft, and Skip have all taken cost-cutting decisions and decided to exit from certain markets in the recent months.

Running a e-scooter business comes with a lot of challenges. According to a study from the BCG, the average e-scooter currently has a life-span of just 3 months whereas the break even time is 115 days. Brands are trying to improve durability and autonomy creating their own scooters like Uber who came with Jump.

What do we do?

The VINCI Group created Leonard to tackle the challenges posed by the transformation of regions and lifestyles. Our goal is to unite a community of key stakeholders in order to build the city of the future together.