When he’s not photographing the great and good of Silicon Valley, or bringing artificial intelligence to the masses with Kwikdesk, Kevin Abosch is something of an anthropologist, as his latest investment in the future of carpooling and self-driving cars with Wadeeny proves.
“I’m an investor and my unofficial title is chief anthropological officer,” Abosch says cheerfully about Wadeeny, which he reveals began life as an Egyptian start-up that grew up with the optimism of the Arab Spring, but ended up in Europe as those dreams faded.
Abosch is an Irish entrepreneur, developer, ontologist and photographer. Earlier this year, his KwikDesk start-up opened a new eight-person artificial intelligence lab in Massachusetts. He is also the founder of succesful image platform Dippix.
Wadeeny is a future-focused ride-sharing app created by Hesham Ghandour and Aly el Guezery, which was launched in 2011 and looked set to flourish, but had to shut down as Egypt descended into chaos.
The app has its eye on the future, today enabling friends to carpool in a digitally sophisticated manner, but ultimately preparing for a future where autonomous vehicles will roam the streets.
Ghandour and el Guezery left Egypt for Germany, and that was where Abosch became intrigued by the vision of the pair, and the potential impact of how technology-enabled car-pooling could impact the future of society.
Abosch was so impressed by Wadeeny’s strategy and technology, he suggested bringing the product to market in Europe and North America, and made a capital investment to make the product even better.
Abosch says he had no interest in the ride-share space or the on-demand model espoused by Uber or Lyft.
What he was intrigued about was the anthropologically sensitive technology with an eye towards autonomous vehicles.
“For people commuting, there is no need for the stress of an on-demand car and I believe there are definitely cultural peculiarities that speak for or against the adoption of this model, universally,” Abosch told Siliconrepublic.com.
Wadeeny’s rideshare platform is specifically for commuters that have a very regular route they take to work and back. The cost is a fixed £3/€3 per ride, regardless of distance travelled, and takes into consideration the needs and concerns of both drivers and passengers.
The autonomous future of transport
Wadeeny launches this week in the UK and Ireland. Additional countries will come online in the following weeks.
“Not acknowledging the driverless car era is setting yourself up for death in this market,” Ghandour explained.
“As European cities allow autonomous vehicles on their roads, Wadeeny will really shine. What we do best is find optimal groups of people and routes to get to and from work.
“Roads will be less congested, rides will be cheaper and commute times slashed. We are already talking to market leaders and governments in Europe to do so. People will soon be able to use Wadeeny to get their autonomous fleet to work.”
‘It’s an eco-friendly, hippyish concept that has been around forever, but now we have a way of making it possible’
– KEVIN ABOSCH
Abosch explained that the entire backend of Wadeeny is oriented toward the arrival of autonomous or self-driving vehicles, a future he believes will come sooner than most people believe.
Only this week, Daimler showed how a self-driving, autonomous truck complete with sensors and cameras was able to navigate the autobahns of Germany.
“The key will be understanding when or how to manage the flow of vehicles in terms of route management.
“It’s a very eco-friendly concept and, whether it achieves success at scale or not, the information we will be able to glean from it in terms of the type of challenges faced in an autonomous car situation will be valuable.”
Abosch believes that the autonomous vehicle revolution will take in buses and corporate fleets.
A key feature of Wadeeny’s technology is an algorithm that allows people to ensure they share the ride wth peope they enjoy commuting with.
“It’s not on-demand, it is by arrangement. So there is no awkwardness in paying – everyone pays at the end of the week.
“It’s an eco-friendly, hippyish concept that has been around forever but now we have a way of making it possible,” Abosch said.
“Anthropology is my art. I am interested in identity and existence and where we are all going.”
Vehicles image via Shutterstock