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Transforming Africa's Smart Mobility Landscape

The future of smart mobility will be fuelled by three key technology-driven disruptive trends: electrification of vehicles, connected & autonomous vehicles, and Mobility-as-a-Service.


On the African continent, the lack of sophisticated digital transportation systems has affected connectivity in trade across the continent, impairing the full efficiency of advanced logistic systems, products, and services. On the other side of the coin, mobility is undergoing one of the most transformational shifts of this generation, with far-reaching implications for the way we live our lives. Our research will allow us to address challenges and opportunities associated with transport systems and operations, infrastructure, operations, and logistics management in support of industrial and sustainable development. 

How can consumers and businesses seize the benefits of this mobility revolution? The first step is 

understanding what's happening on the ground and strategically assessing potential solutions. Stakeholders in the transport sector have a responsibility to share their 4IR solution roadmaps, thoughts, and insights and engage in a collaborative approach to address current challenges. We are therefore calling upon multi-sector stakeholders to join this research initiative exploring the future of smart mobility and documenting the current efforts to secure a sustainable and efficient future.

Strategic Scope

The strategic scope of research will address the intersecting themes on the challenges and potential solutions in the transportation sector but will more specifically develop and test prototype solutions that address artificial intelligence in mobility. This is our priority. 

This research track seeks to improve the efficiency, safety, cost and reliability of transport networks to optimize the quality of life and technology’s impact on socio economic development as well as opening up intra-continental industrialization. This will be done through modelling, experimental designs, development of digitalization solutions and prototyping both hardware and software aspects of the research projects. 

Our research approach is to work with other industry player and experts to contribute towards increased local content/insights in the technology tools and infrastructure being used along the transport sector such as sustainable energy, safety and surveillance, payment solutions etc. 

Artificial Intelligence has great potential revolutionize mobility systems well beyond autonomous and electric vehicles. AI has the ability to improve mobility systems by:

  1. acquiring and interpreting data that can come from the network, such as weather, traffic flows, and crowding. 

  2. creating insights and predicting future conditions, such as disturbances and congestion. 

  3. assisting humans in making rapid decisions, such as optimizing routes, adjusting speeds and braking.

The African continents transport systems are typically characterized by structural backlogs that include excessively high transport costs, and backlogs in infrastructure provision and maintenance, often catalyzed by the lack of synchronized or unified intermodal systems. 


The disconnect between travelers’ multimodal experiences, market needs for adoption of mobility as a service, investment and infrastructure deficits all influence the inconsistency’s in supply and demand of the transport sector’s cost determining variables. This provides a unique window of opportunity to disrupt traditional mobility systems by develop unified open transport system for multimodal system-level optimization. 

Intersecting Themes

Safety & Surveillence

Public transport systems have great potential to become a starting point for ensuring safety and surveillence systems are integrated into the transportation sector at scale. The responsibility is not only up to vehicle manufacturers anymore but a matter of necessity following the 'smart' revolution 

Efficient Trade & Logistics

Between the pandemic, the 2021 KZN looting, global economic downturn, extreme weather, Brexit, and other factors, massive supply chain disruptions in the past two years have emphasized the importance of calculating and managing risk. AI-based risk management tools can help organizations model different scenarios and plan more carefully

Sustainable Energy

The adoption of connected and autonomous transportation will be completed by ensuring the mobility ecosystem is sustainable. Sustainable transport efforts will require meeting the future energy demands for electric vehicles, which would include raw material extraction, design & production, maintainace, material disposal and the re-use the resource.

Mobility as a Service

The concept of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) largely relies on AI to function seamlessly and properly. Essentially, MaaS is the suite of digital mobility applications that allow people to move from one place to the next. These applications ideally all communicate with each other. Cities and mobility services have been embracing MaaS as they update their legacy transit systems.

Innovation starts with a collaborative lense

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