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Micab gets P3-M research grant from DoST

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By Denise A. Valdez

RIDE-HAILING company Micab Systems Corp. has received a P3-million research grant from the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) to develop a ridership engine that would be integrated in its mobile app.

Micab Chief Executive Officer Eddie F. Ybañez told BusinessWorld in a recent interview their research proposal was chosen to receive a startup grant from the DoST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DoST-PCIEERD).

“Until May next year we need to deliver the ridership engine, the real time traffic engine. So yan yung ginagawa namin [So that’s what we’re doing],” he said.

Noel T. Hingco of DoST-PCIEERD’s Technology Transfer Division said in an e-mail on Wednesday that Micab’s proposal was one of those approved under the fields of ICT, Transportation, Artificial Intelligence, Electronics and Semiconductors.

“By the end of the project, it is expected that Micab has developed an enhanced system that can already predict passenger ridership patterns based on time and location, and analyze real time traffic data and patterns,” he said.

Mr. Hingco said they will negotiate a profit share with Micab, “depending on the developments of the project.”

He noted the P3-million grant should fund the product improvement, market testing, data gathering, business model refinement, and Intellectual Property (IP) application.

Mr. Ybañez explained the project will use data they’re receiving through the Micab app to create an “analytics engine” that would help passengers and drivers plan their trips.

“For example, you’re a passenger, and based sa traffic data namin, based sa booking data namin, we will advise you ano yung okay na time to get a cab or to move. Para ma-plan mo around [If you’re a passenger, using our traffic and booking data, we will advise you when’s the best time to get a cab so you may plan around that time],” he said.

The Micab official noted drivers can also benefit since they will be able to identify which areas have high demand at a certain time of the day.

For the business, Mr. Ybañez said the ridership engine will help them save money, since they are currently using Google Maps which costs millions to license.

“If we have that, then we’re not dependent on Google already. We’ll have our own,” he said.