On-demand travel app starts public trials during ITS World Congress


Ministry of Movement Pte. Ltd. (SWAT), a startup providing on-demand bus services in Singapore, Australia and Vietnam, and the NEC Corporation’s Asia Pacific subsidiary have launched a new app for on-demand bus services that is being piloted during this week’s ITS World Congress in Singapore.

SWAT and NEC have formed a partnership that will pool together their respective expertise and technologies to transform urban mobility and address social challenges posed by smart city developments. As part of the partnership, the companies have jointly launched ‘Ally’, an app offering AI-based (artificial intelligence), personalized road planning functions coupled with an on-demand bus booking service. The new app will be available during the ITS World Congress taking place from October 21-24 at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Center. During the four-day trial, congress attendees and members of the public who download and create their profiles on the Ally app will be able to experience on-demand bus rides for free within a geofenced area extending from Dhoby Ghaut to the Marina Bay Sands area and parts of the central business district.

Combining SWAT’s dynamic bus routing algorithm with NEC’s personalization engine supported by machine learning technologies, Ally will make recommendations on potential places of interest (POIs), including malls, retail shops, restaurants and other attractions based on data points such as the user’s interests, profile, location and time. Once the user selects their destination, the app generates an optimized route in real-time and automatically assigns a bus servicing the area to the rider. In addition to cost savings, Ally will allow users, particularly visitors from overseas, the ability to explore lesser-known areas more efficiently and encourage the use of more environmentally-friendly modes of transportation. The Ally app is now available for free download on both Apple and Android operating systems.

Singapore-based SWAT has developed a high-capacity pooling algorithm and advanced routing technology, with its core mobility engine designed to improve the way people commute and reduce urban traffic congestion. SWAT’s full suite of integrated products optimizes transport for corporations, industrial parks, overnight shift workers, non-emergency medical cases, and more. The company has also successfully deployed solutions to improve first-mile/last-mile connectivity in low ridership areas and to date, SWAT has completed more than 540,000 dynamically routed rides worldwide.

“With our advanced routing technology, we are always on the lookout for ways we can transform the mobility and transport space,” said Jarrold Ong, CEO and co-founder of Ministry of Movement/SWAT. “We see relevance in being able to book a ride and discovering local attractions on the same platform, and NEC’s expertise in AI and their local market insights were key to this partnership.”

Lim Kok Quee, NEC Asia Pacific’s managing director, said, “We see great potential in this partnership with SWAT. Intelligent on-demand bus services can play a key role in building a more sustainable urban transportation system by optimizing the number of vehicles on the road to reduce the environmental impact and ease traffic congestion. We will continue to explore ways to harness technology and improve society.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.