Around the world the transport tech spotlight focuses on Uber. While the US$40+ billion company is certainly staging an attempt at global taxi-hailing domination, in the meantime, Africa plays home to a myriad of innovators disrupting African transport markets in more exciting ways than Uber. Here are five of Disrupt Africa’s favourite transport tech startups taking off in Africa.
Rwandan startup SafeMotos is looking to address the country’s shocking road traffic accident statistics, particularly with regard to motorcycles – with 80 per cent of road accidents in Rwanda involving a motorbike.
SafeMotos is an Uber-esque hailing app for Rwanda’s popular motorcycle taxis. However, there is a twist in the app’s backend, which makes the most of the vehicle telematics industry. The company installs smartphones on motorbike taxis to track drivers’ behaviour and register data, pushing bad drivers to the outskirts of the system.
The startup has already raised US$85,000, and plans to have 400 drivers on the road by the end of the year.
Kenyan startup CladLight is also using tech to improve transport safety.
CladLight’s Smart Jacket, which has just finished its piloting stage, uses wearable technology to make riding a motorcycle more safe. The jacket is equipped with signal transmitters on the back of the jacket, displaying the direction in which a driver intends to turn when the bike’s indicators are used. It also has a GPS tracker, allowing owners to determine the vehicle’s location.
The startup has raised over US$40,000, and hopes to mass produce Smart Jackets for motorcycle assembly plants, insurance companies and bike retail stores.
South African startup Mellowcabs is disrupting the transport sector with its efforts to create high-tech fully-electric eco-friendly public transport vehicles.
The three-wheeled taxis – which are currently in the testing phase – are hailed by mobile app, and apply the latest technologies in every aspect of the vehicle.
Kinetic energy that is usually lost in the braking process is converted into electricity and stored to improve energy efficiency; an LED light system allows the body of the vehicle to be illuminated; and the taxis feature in-vehicle charging points, WiFi, and entertainment tablets.
Mellowcabs was recently named one of the winners of the 2015 South African Climate Solver Awards.
Nigeria’s GoMyWay is addressing traffic congestion and carbon emissions, by trying to encourage ride-sharing among drivers in Africa’s most populous country.
GoMyWay looks to connect passengers with car owners going the same route with empty seats to spare, in a bid to create a people-powered transportation network.
Having initially launched in Nigeria earlier this year, GoMyWay quickly announced plans to expand to South Africa, followed by Kenya and Ghana.
Egyptian startup Raye7 is also working on ride-sharing, but combines this with a social networking element.
The Raye7 mobile app facilitates ride-sharing within existing social networks – such as within a work or school community – as is intended to create new social connections as well as tackle local transportation challenges.
Raye7 is set to pitch head-to-head against over 30 other startups at the DEMO Africa event to be held in September, having recently won the North African “mini-event” hosted by DEMO in Cairo.