An Innovative Signal from Karlsruhe

Awarding of the “Future Mobility Award” / The award goes to "BeeSonix"

Karlsruhe, Germany. As if by magic, relevant information appears on passengers’ smartphones as they travel by train. This is being implemented by a young start-up with its origins in Mannheim. It enables ultrasound communication between passenger announcements and a passenger’s mobile devices.

Virtuelle Preisverleihung (v.l.): Waldemar Epple, Vorstandsvorsitzender des „Automotive Engineering Networks“, und Oberbürgermeister Dr. Frank Mentrup mit dem „Future Mobility Award“ und den per Video zugeschalteten Vertretern des Start-ups „BeeSonix“  Bildquelle: Gustai/Pixelgrün
Virtual award ceremony (from left): Waldemar Epple, CEO of the "Automotive Engineering
Network", and Lord Mayor Dr.
Frank Mentrup with the "Future Mobility Award", and - via video -
representatives of the start-up "BeeSonix"  Photo
: Gustai/Pixelgrün

The keyword: “silent announcements”. To this end, the visionaries at “BeeSonix” use sound files containing sounds in the ultrasonic range and use the traditional announcements to convey additional information with added value. Travel information can be provided in a customised way; stops and vehicles are taking the next digital step, so to speak, “without the need for new hardware,” explains Waldemar Epple, CEO of the “automotive engineering network” (aen), and goes on to say “these ultrasound signals could also be rolled out in practice very quickly.”

“Future Mobility Award” from Karlsruhe

With so much in favour of this innovation, it is no wonder that “BeeSonix” have been awarded the “Future Mobility Award” for their work in May 2020 in Karlsruhe. This is the first award for sustainable mobility solutions for public transport. In Karlsruhe, there is a particular focus on research, applications, and start-ups. “The aim is to give innovative start-ups the opportunity to present their work and thus to make their ideas and creative solutions for public transport visible,” emphasises Sieglinde Walz, managing director of “aen”, with reference to the worldwide competition, which is now set to take place every two years during the IT-TRANS.

"Future Mobility Award"

Intelligent solutions in public transport

The initiators of the award, “aen”, “Messe Karlsruhe”, “Nahverkehrs-praxis”, and Karlsruhe’s business development scheme, are calling on start-ups to submit appropriate concepts and projects to take part in the competition. “The range of topics submitted is very wide,” says Britta Wirtz, Managing Director of Messe Karlsruhe: “With the award, we would like to provide a platform where innovative ideas can be made more visible so that they receive the attention they deserve.”

Be it the concept, strategy, degree of innovation, relevance to society, potential for success, sustainability, benefits for passengers, or integration into existing systems: “It has been really difficult to evaluate the many interesting ideas and solutions,” says Annika Egloff-Schönen from “Nahverkehrs-praxis”. The 25 projects submitted were evaluated by a jury of experts with an entrepreneurial and scientific background. In the end, “BeeSonix” emerged as the winner: “This is a great honour for us,” exclaim Timo Häcker, Alexander Kowollik, and Birk Schweppe from the excellent start-up happily as they speak via video link.

In addition to the 5,000 euros in prize money, the award also includes a professional coaching programme and a meeting between investors and the start-up. Since the conference and trade fair have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the award ceremony has now been held online, but the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) and Messe Karlsruhe will be giving all five finalists, “BeeSonix”, “MatchRider”, “Operibus”, “Rydies”, and “Twaice”, the chance to present themselves to the trade audience during the IT-TRANS in December.

Online exchange with a safe distance in Karlsruhe City Hall (from left): Annika Egloff-Schoenen by
Online exchange with a safe distance in Karlsruhe City Hall (from left): Annika Egloff-Schoenen
from "Nahverkehr-praxis", Britta Wirtz, Managing Director of the Karlsruhe Exhibition Center,
Waldemar Epple, Chairman of the "Automotive Engineering Network", and Lord Mayor
Dr. Frank Mentrup with the representatives of the start-up "BeeSonix" connected via video
Image source: Gustai / Pixelgrün

Sustainable mobility solutions are in demand

Karlsruhe is sending a clear signal: in the city of Karl Benz, Karl Drais, and the “Test Field Autonomous Driving”, the “Future Mobility Award” is given to particularly sustainable mobility solutions for public transport. “The high quality and innovative approaches seen in the submissions meant that it was a challenge to evaluate them,” explains Michael Kaiser, Director of Karlsruhe’s business development scheme, and goes on to explain that “we are particular concerned with supporting start-ups along the way – especially against the background of the 'CE-Connector', an EU programme that is set to provide even more support for start-ups in the future.” Start-ups are seen as important drivers of innovation that will ensure the future prosperity of Central Europe. The “CE-Connector” project aims to increase the number of “business angels” and to improve investment competency.

“In these times, it is particularly important that innovations can be implemented,” says Lord Mayor Dr Frank Mentrup, emphasising the importance of the award for the city of Karlsruhe against the background of innovative mobility, start-ups, and the founders’ scene. A great idea could now also be implemented here. When it comes to creative and innovative partners, Karlsruhe is a good place to be, says Dr Mentrup and goes on to explain that the city has a very strong, active, well-connected start-up scene alongside numerous research institutes and universities. Particularly with new developments in one of the main fields of the future, Karlsruhe’s business development scheme and “aen” also act as initiators, mediators, and accelerators of innovations. They pool expert knowledge and accompany small and medium-sized companies and start-ups along the way so that they can also implement their innovations.


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Anlaufstelle in Pune


Die Kooperation zwischen Karlsruhe und dem indischen Pune ist einen Schritt weiter: Im Januar 2014 wurde im "MCCIA Trade Tower", 403, Senapati Bapat Road, eine direkte Karlsruher Anlaufstelle mit den Repräsentantinnen Iris Becker und Winnie Kulkarni von "Let's Bridge IT" in Pune eröffnet.

Durch Erfolg und Ausbau der vielfältigen Aktivitäten - ob Infos rund um den Standort Karlsruhe, aktiv Kontakte zu indischen Firmen halten oder deutsche Firmen aus der TRK in und um Pune bekannter machen - erfolgte im März 2018 ein Umzug in neue Räumlichkeiten, auch durch die Erweiterung um die Repräsentanz des Landes Baden-Württembergs in Maharashtra sowie das Marketingbüro der „Hochschul Föderation Südwest“. 


Karlsruhe Cooperation & Marketing Office
Let's bridge IT, Ms. Iris Becker
9th Floor, Sunit Capital, Senapati Bapat Road, Pune 411016
Tel: +91 75 0782 7033