Technical Resources

Auto Futures Interview: How Immense and HERE Technologies Are Driving Future Transport Solutions

Following Immense Simulation’s product launch in June, the leading UK scale-up is partnering with HERE Technologies, the world’s number one location platform to change the way businesses move.

The two transport insights specialists are joining forces through a global partnership agreement to provide an improved way for mobility providers to identify revenue opportunities, reduce costs and choose operating policies fit for the future. The partnership will enable Immense’s transport simulation tools to leverage the HERE platform, including global transport network and traffic information.

To find out more, Auto Futures sits down with Immense’s CEO, Robin North, and HERE Technologies’ Head of Partner Organisation EMEAR, Dieter Lange, to understand what the collaboration means for both companies and businesses across the wider transport sector.

“We’ve had fantastic engagement around the world from OEMs, fleet operators and consultancies looking to improve transportation, even in uncertain times,” says North, following the initial product launch. “Now, we have a pipeline of applications to bring to market including road network operations and transport planning, all underpinned by HERE data.”

Succeeding the product launch, the HERE partnership allows Immense to expand into new markets around the world, building on its already impressive reach, from New York to Tokyo. According to North, HERE will provide trusted, consistent data assets to customers across many geographies.

“HERE is the global leader in location-based data insights, which allows us to provide the best available data to our partners around the world.”

For the few that may not know the technology juggernaut, HERE is the world’s leading location data and technology platform focused on helping customers understand and model a world that’s always moving and changing; something Lange refers to as a “digital representation of reality.”

“It’s a map, but also much more than what we would conventionally think of as a map.  It’s living, dynamic, and continuously updating,” he explains. “Covering not just roads, but more and more of the world in three dimensions, such as buildings, factories, corporate campuses, stores, airports and docks. Increasingly, it also incorporates the stuff that moves, such as vehicles, goods, IoT sensors and even people.”

Through this representation of reality, HERE has built the basis for its customers to understand how people, places and things connect, something that has become extremely important within modern business.

Serving hundreds of partners and customers with multiple use cases in different industries through a community of developers, the platform has established HERE as a global leader. In fact, four in every five new cars sold in Europe and North America leverage HERE mapping.

“Our platform today powers location services in 200 countries including China, Japan and Korea,” says Lange. “We are truly global, serving customers in 75 countries with 9,000 employees based in 56 countries.”


One platform, multiple solutions

The partnership will help Immense’s customers benefit from the new data available on the platform, providing dynamic datasets and highly accurate digital representations of global cities for multiple applications.

In the past, transport modelling and mapping took far too long, which would prevent operators from gaining valuable insights immediately and effectively identifying important near-real-time information that could improve their services.

“Where traditional modelling approaches become quickly outdated due to static, historic datasets, our customers are now able to access the dynamic and continuously updating digital representation of reality,” says North. “This provides a richer environment for customers to ask the questions they have for their fleet operations.”

Analysing and synthesising data has been extremely time-consuming for Immense over the last few years. By accessing the best available dataset from many sources through the HERE platform, North and his team can focus more time on the user experience and helping customers access the insights they need for their fleet operations.

From HERE’s perspective, the partnership will create additional benefits for fleet operators and transport planners to help develop new simulations that will allow them to react and adapt as needed.

“With Immense, we are providing mapping content for their transport simulation tools,” says Lange. “Together, we will help Fleet Managers, Infrastructure Operators and Regional Transportation Planners to run transport simulations that enable informed decisions about, for example, closing a road or launching a fleet of electric vehicles.”

Over the last four years, HERE has more than quadrupled automation in its mapmaking process and, by the end of next year, is aiming for 95% of its mapping systems to be updated automatically, which will allow both companies to capture the rapid and drastic change within cities through weekly map updates.

“Delivering accurate and fresh maps means doing two things very well. Firstly, we must recognise and capture the change and, secondly, we must deliver the maps that show that change quickly,” adds Lange.“ Since 2015, HERE has provided weekly map updates, which means that every week the HERE platform offers a newly updated map to customers.”


Supporting EV rollout

It is important to apply use cases to this partnership, which truly illustrates the importance and capability of the Immense platform. One important use case is how it can help support fleet operators looking to transition over to electrified fleets.

We are finally at a point where electric vehicles are a viable alternative to internal combustion engine vehicles, but there are still many teething problems for companies during the transitional phase, something which the Immense platform can help with.

“The momentum behind electric vehicles has certainly been maintained, but some big challenges remain,” says North. “With Immense and HERE, fleet operators are able to reduce anxiety around vehicle range by redesigning the operating strategy; this includes how vehicles are assigned to ‘missions’ and how charging infrastructure is configured to effectively support fleet operations.”

There are many challenges associated with electric vehicles, including reduced range in comparison to traditional engines, uncertain availability of charging stations, range variation due to weather and route conditions and recharging times.

When it comes to fleet operator range anxiety, HERE’s EV Routing has been designed to counter these obstacles and assist with the wide adoption of electric vehicles.

“Consumption mode answers a range of questions for these fleet operators, such as ‘what is the battery status when I get to my location?’” explains Lange. “Our range map also allows the driver to see the reachable area from current car position given the battery status and surrounding street network, whilst multi-stop routing provides the driver with an automatic routing service, including stops at charging stations, to identify the fastest option.”

On top of its services, HERE combines its own static and dynamic data of EV charging stations including the location, plug type, price, payment method and the waiting time. So it’s no surprise that the company is providing EV data and services to some of the most well-known OEMs.


Mobilising modern transportation solutions

A lot has changed in recent months, including a global pandemic that has rocked the world. For this reason alone, it is extremely difficult to predict or even put a timeline on developments in transportation. But one thing’s for sure, Immense and HERE will be at the forefront of this change.

“No-one can truly predict the future, but transport scenario analysis using simulation helps us to deliver the best future for us all,” says North. “Immense and HERE have a crucial role to play; all transport stakeholders need to comprehend the risks and opportunities in future mobility, which is best understood with robust scenario analysis underpinned by the best available datasets.”

North believes that the trends that were occurring before COVID-19 will now be accelerated beyond the pandemic, meaning that electric vehicles will be rolled out sooner in both private ownership and shared fleets. In addition, he predicts that public transportation will continue to reinvent itself with more dynamic, flexible and demand-responsive solutions.

“Further down the line, we may see earlier deployments of autonomous vehicles to facilitate the ‘low touch’ movement of goods and people,” he adds.

Transport simulations are more important than ever, as fleet and transport managers become increasingly uncertain of what the future holds for them; not to mention the rapid transformation of cities around the world. Together with Immense, HERE will look to overcome these issues in minimal time, becoming an important piece to the mobility puzzle.

“As no one knows what the future will bring, Fleet Managers, Infrastructure Operators and Regional Transportation Planners have to plan for many different options, with updated data available worldwide,” adds Lange. “We are proud that Immense has chosen HERE Technologies to accelerate the mobility of tomorrow.”


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