Bestmile: Fleet Orchestration for New Mobility Services
June 28, 2020 | Company Blog
Bestmile began in 2014 when its cofounders were tasked with managing one of the world’s first autonomous shuttle demonstrations in Lausanne, Switzerland. As they planned the pilot project, they found that the vehicles were unable to communicate with one another. When the vehicles met face-to-face on a narrow portion of the road, they were immobilized.
The problem they identified turned out to be a real one. The vehicles were designed to navigate a prescribed route and to detect obstacles, but not to work together as fleets. Bestmile created software to solve it — to provide a fleet orchestration platform that enables connected vehicles to deliver valuable ridehailing, robotaxi, micro-transit, and autonomous shuttle services.
Today Bestmile offers the only fleet orchestration platform of its kind that supports human-driven and autonomous vehicles of any brand or type, with intelligent dispatching, routing, pooling, and ride-matching. The platform is relentlessly about efficiency, enabling mobility providers to move more people with fewer vehicles while meeting business and passenger requirements.
Cities are expected to continue to grow and it is clear that private-auto centric mobility is unsustainable. Congestion and pollution are already draining productivity, impacting public health, and harming the environment. New technologies like autonomous electric vehicles promise to reduce demand for private autos, but vehicles alone will not solve the problems we face. Vehicles need to be intelligently managed to work together to be able to offer the efficient services that cities need.
The need for efficiency for mobility services has become clear as the downside of peer-to-peer ridehailing services has become apparent. They have added 5.7 billion vehicle-miles to U.S. cities alone, and they travel 2.8 miles empty for every mile they carry a passenger. This has led to what traffic analyst Bruce Schaller coined, “Full Streets, Empty Seats.”
The heart of the Bestmile Platform is an orchestration engine that automates booking, dispatching, routing, ride-matching, and pooling while allowing mobility providers to define predictable design parameters for both fleets and passengers. Fleet parameters include fleet size, vehicle locations, vehicle utilization, booking options, and pooling thresholds. Passenger parameters include ride times, wait times, and excess times when pooling.
More efficient fleets mean more productive fleets. With the Bestmile platform, operators are able to always get the right vehicle to the right place at the right time, and to maximize fleet utilization, providing an exponential improvement in fleet efficiency.
Solving the fleet orchestration problem at scale is technically and algorithmically extremely challenging. Deciding which vehicle should go where at any moment in time requires evaluating and optimizing a number of possible solutions that grows exponentially with the size of the operation, from vehicle constraints like capacity and energy, to passenger constraints like maximum waiting time or excess ride time limits. These decisions need to be made and vehicles dispatched in split seconds to react to incoming bookings and ride requests instantaneously while taking into account the current and future traffic conditions and demands.
To achieve such real-time performance, Bestmile has developed a set of dedicated optimization algorithms that go beyond the current academic state-of-the-art in operations research and artificial intelligence. The platform also contains a series of purposefully built predictive models for key variables such as demand, traffic, or vehicle behavior. Advanced statistical and machine learning techniques are used to train and permanently update the platform to make optimal dispatching decisions. This allows operators to deliver a reliable service and to achieve predictable business outcomes despite the underlying unpredictability of on-demand transportation.
Mobility service providers around the world use Bestmile’s platform to transform vehicles of any brand or type into intelligent fleets offering exciting new services. Some examples include:
New mobility services promise to enable the continuing growth of cities while improving the quality of life for residents and visitors. The Bestmile Fleet Orchestration Platform empowers mobility providers to deliver on this promise, allowing them to transform vehicles and fleets into intelligent, orchestrated services that reduce congestion and pollution by efficiently moving more people with fewer vehicles.