The story so far…
It all began in 2017, when co-founders John Bilay and Roberto Viana came across the Startup in Residence Den Haag challenge, and believed that their solution would be a worthy contestant. Startup in Residence is based on the Silicon Valley “innovation hub” concept, working together with municipalities and local startups to tackle urban challenges.
Avnu was applied to the event traffic management challenge. The municipality of The Hague wanted to address the issue of how they can ensure that traffic coming to and from free public events generates as few complaints as possible from residents, visitors and retailers. Events like the International Fireworks Festival, held at Scheveningen beach attracts over 500,000 visitors each year. At the same time, there is literally no more space for more traffic on the road or parked along the roadside. How can we best work together to change visitor behaviour as well as inform the public of the best routes and parking spots in the city in order to manage traffic flow?
After a 6 month long programme, Avnu successfully closed a pitch and was commissioned by the municipality of The Hague to develop a prototype of the proof of concept, which will be piloted during this year’s International Fireworks festival. This will come to life as a user friendly chatbot that members of the public can use for predictive travel information prior to the event. Avnu will be able to predict traffic flow, weather conditions as well as accessibility to parking facilities across the city, based on historical and real-time data, and make subsequent recommendations based on these predictions. Leading to a well managed, stress free journey into the city during busy periods.
Current stage of development.
The team are working to harvest historical data from different sources provided by the municipalities, including traffic reports, parking information and weather reports. This is being fed into the algorithm so the chatbot can predict the outcomes to the user’s requests. The chatbot is also being trained in-house, so it can essentially “learn” the language and best communicative responses to its users. The technical minds behind Avnu are also developing an API so the chatbot can be integrated into websites such as denhaag.com and other public information providers.
As well as the technical hard work, the Avnu creatives are developing its branding, continuously improving its user experience , and exploring new avenues of potential commercial value, including partnerships with key stakeholders in the city and events industries.
Stay tuned for more to come.
We are so excited to be piloting Avnu during some of the biggest events in The Hague’s annual calendar, such as the Volvo Ocean Race and International Fireworks Festival. We would love you to experience Avnu and provide us with your valuable feedback, to help us on this journey to create sustainable, happy, healthy cities and citizens. Stay tuned for more news on how to use Avnu during its pilot performance!