RM6mil in grants for city mobility challenge

By CARSIFU | 14 February 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: The City Architecture for Tomorrow Challenge (CATCH) has Kuala Lumpur as the host pilot city, and offers up to US$1.5 million (RM6.21 million) in grants with an aim to attract innovators to submit cutting-edge mobility solutions.

The CATCH challenge seeks to address mobility challenges in Kuala Lumpur, and enhance the quality of life for residents through the use of data, technology and city planning.

This is the region's first global challenge that will attract innovative, data-driven entries from global participants.

The challenge is a global call for solutions, for a period of eight months, where participants – from start-ups, academic and research institutions to corporates, or even the general public – can conceptualise and develop solutions that are dynamic, intelligent and data-driven to design future city infrastructures.

During February, CATCH roadshows will be held in seven cities - Bangalore, Mumbai, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

The challenge will go through several stages:

- Global call for applications: February – March 2020
- Challenge roadshows: 17th – 28th February 2020
- Semi-finalists announcement: April 2020
- Proof-Of-Concept (POC) development: April 2020 – May 2020
- Finalists announcement: June 2020
- Minimum Viable Product (MVP) concept development and incubation programme: June 2020
- MVP development and trial implementation: June 2020 – September 2020
- Winner announcement: September 2020

CATCH participants will be given grants to support the development of their ideas:

- Semi-dinalists Stage: Up to USD$5,000 (RM20,706) for Proof-Of-Concept (POC) development
- Finalists stage: Up to USD$150,000 (RM621,195) for prototype development and testing
- Grand winner: USD$500,000 (RM2.07 million) for scale-up of implemented solution in Kuala Lumpur

A joint initiative by Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF) and Deloitte Future of Mobility Solution Centre, this programme also brings together a group of government and private sector partners.

The strategic partners are Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) while advisors are Ministry of Transport and Malaysian Administrative Modernisation And Management Planning Unit (MAMPU).

Data partners are Royal Malaysia Police, Land Public Transport Agency, Grab, MapIT MSC, Mass Rapid Transit Corporation and Prasarana Malaysia.

CATCH participants can expect support from organisers and partners including immersive incubation programmes, mentorship from industry leaders, networking opportunities with public and private sector stakeholders, mobility and city data from participating data partners, and trial implementation support in Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan said the city has been undergoing rapid expansion, and this has exacerbated its infamous traffic snarls.

"Hence, the need for data-driven solutions to improve mobility from programmes such as CATCH," said Nor Hisham at the recent official launch of the challenge.

TMF president of secretariat Shin Aoyama said the foundation was set up to address mobility issues around the world, using a unique approach driven by sustainability, innovation and partnership.

"CATCH was designed in partnership with the Malaysian government, to encourage data-driven but human-centered interventions to improve city planning and the mobility ecosystem. We aim to provide mobility to the marginalised and underserved segments of society, by leveraging data and technology as a base for city planning," he said.

MDEC CEO Surina Shukri said through CATCH, the global pool of talented start-ups, academics and the world’s brightest minds can develop their next-gen urban digitalisation ideas and accelerate Kuala Lumpur’s evolution into a city of the future.

"The programme is in-line with MDEC’s efforts to drive forward the country’s digital economy, catalyze next-gen innovation through Malaysia’s Global Testbed Initiative and reinforce the country’s position as the Heart of Digital ASEAN."

She also noted that with rapid urbanisation and 70% of the Malaysian population based in cities, efficient city mobility will become critical to economic growth.

UMW Toyota Motor president Ravindran K said, “We take pride in overcoming “impossible” challenges to make “Mobility for All” a reality. TMF provides the platform to create a better, more mobile society and we fully support this digital and data-driven approach.”

TMF programme director Pras Ganesh said, "Mobility drives development. We can canvas massive amounts of data into valuable insights. CATCH aims to provide tangible and sustainable benefits."

For details, go to the challenge website – tmf-catch.org.