Mobilising to Address Healthcare Needs

4 minute read

16 July 2020

By Insights Team

Innovation Reporter, Upstart

Sometimes it takes a crisis to create an opportunity.  It was only a matter of time before disrupted health met disrupted transport. Now Upstart and the ATAC community are joining forces to address the unmet needs for testing and long-term health service delivery in the community. We urgently need help from all parties to make this a reality.


It’s safe to say that COVID-19 has hugely disrupted the healthcare industry while at the same time, rapidly accelerating the pace of change. What had previously been considered as “nice to have” technologies - such as remote monitoring, testing and diagnosis - have now become must-have pieces of the health delivery system. 


At the same time, transport and mobility sectors have been massively impacted. While personal travel remains restricted and controlled, other issues have been thrown into relief.  Delivering essential supplies to the most vulnerable communities and patients affected by the pandemic remains a current and future gap. This has accelerated the need to reach these populations while minimising risk to care workers. 

So What?

Upstart has developed deep experience in health care systems in the last 5-6 years, as we observed and helped our clients to understand and deal with digital disruption. The same period witnessed the emergence of autonomous vehicles, the mass adoption of machine learning and other forms of AI to navigation, as well as robotics and the use of data models to understand what’s going on in real-time in both health and transport.

These industries were being disrupted by similar forces.  It was only a matter of waiting - until a crisis - such as the global pandemic - would bring them together. 

We had been looking for a way to add value since the start of the pandemic. It was only natural that Upstart should take action to help businesses and people deal with the COVID-19 crisis. We decided to join forces with ATAC, a global digital community bringing together experts from the worlds of healthcare, automation and mobility.

“Let’s share our knowledge and expertise to identify how we can support the world.”



The ATAC initiative is pro-actively driven by David Fidalgo, CEO of Y-Mobility, a community of technologists, entrepreneurs, business consultants and investors who are passionate advocates of autonomous driving and mobility. In March David wrote an open letter to technologists and technology companies, asking for business to join and collaborate, saying

By mid-April, David had put in place a new Y-Mobility Manifesto, a playbook offering practical working guidance on responses to three initial COVID-19 related projects:

  • Enabling rapid scalable COVID-19 testing
  • Ensuring the delivery of vital food and medical supplies
  • Providing mobility to essential workers

So far, ATAC has secured the commitment of several Tier 1 auto makers and technology suppliers. We are actively discussing with key players in testing and diagnostics.

“ We’ve made great headway recruiting a core community team of collaborators to expand this mind-hive, including both local and international experts. A key missing component was expertise to deal with disruption, understand emerging technologies and help improve future response and resilience to challenges. ”

David Fidalgo, CEO, Y-Mobility

“We need to start unlocking the potential for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles for health today.”


Upstart’s automotive strategist Nick Filler, jumped on board, seeing it as an opportunity to get involved with a team of like-minded innovators and disruptors all with a shared passion for providing social impact. Practice lead and founder Dominic Pride was keen to get the team involved.


“The pandemic has dramatically accelerated the pace of disruptive technology in healthcare. Telehealth and telemedicine have quickly become a permanent part of the landscape, but there is still huge unmet need in communities worldwide.  As a society, we can’t afford to wait to deliver testing services and medication to populations, or to deal with the immense backlog of health need which COVID-19 has created. We need to start unlocking the potential for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles for health today.”

Dominic Pride, Practice Lead, Upstart

So Now What?

The crisis isn't over and the challenge of addressing the long-term health burden of COVID-19 is just beginning. 

Now, we urgently need to engage thinkers, experts and do-ers, and to mobilise teams and commitments from global players in automotive, pharma, medical devices, testing and transport networks and mobility providers. 

If you feel your business can contribute to the ATAC community platform with knowledge, resources or simply ideas, get in touch today. We would love to hear from businesses and individuals who are keen to make a social impact.  


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