The tool helps users measure and reduce their own personal mobility emissions and allows to participate in projects to offset unavoidable carbon emissions. The Audi Denkwerkstatt innovation unit in Berlin developed the app and the algorithm.
Climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity in the 21st century. It’s no surprise then that more and more people want to understand how much carbon dioxide they are generating – such as through their own mobility.
This is precisely why the ecomove app was conceived. It was designed by Audi Denkwerkstatt, the Audi innovation hub in Berlin where digital business models are developed.
Here, Audi employees work on permanent and temporary assignments as part of small, interdisciplinary teams that work like start-ups within the larger Volkswagen Group ecosystem.
“We always work in a user-centric way. Users’ needs represent both the starting point and what drives the development of our digital solutions, which always have an innovative spirit,” explains Tim Miksche, who heads up the Audi Denkwerkstatt.
The ecomove app was designed to fulfil the widespread desire of people to comprehend their own carbon footprint and make corresponding changes to their individual mobility choices. The software automatically recognises the means of transportation users are currently employing and calculates a personal mobility score. To improve this score, the app playfully motivates users to make their mobility more sustainable. Rewards in the form of trophies encourage users to make positive changes to their behaviour.
“We wanted to develop an app that makes something as abstract as carbon dioxide emissions more accessible and guides people to rethink their own mobility,” says Jan Schäfer, ecomove project manager at the Audi Denkwerkstatt.
Based on the acceleration patterns and the speed at which users travel a certain distance, the app’s algorithm calculates which mode of transportation they are currently using. Whether someone walks, takes the bus, or the train, average CO2 emission values are logged for each mode of transportation and reflected in what the app refers to as a “mobility score”. This compares the amount of carbon dioxide emitted with the distance travelled, resulting in a number between 0 and 100; the fewer emissions that are generated, the higher the score.
To achieve the best result, i.e. 100 points, users must have a carbon footprint below 55 g of CO2/km, in line with targets defined in the Paris Climate Agreement. On the other hand, the lowest score is given when a user exceeds emissions of 200 g CO2/km via the means of transportation used.
The app encourages people to improve their mobility score gradually. For example, users are prompted to “achieve a mobility score of at least 80 in two consecutive weeks” or “use at least two different modes of transportation for five consecutive days.” If the user successfully completes the challenge, they receive a virtual reward in the form of an icon added to their trophy cabinet.
Users who wish to offset their remaining carbon dioxide emissions can do so from the app via climate credits, selecting from a range of technological, social or reforestation projects. For example, users can invest in solar parks or support water treatment projects. Only projects certified to the highest standards are listed, with the app making it quick and easy for users to invest.
Source: AUDI AG