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July 30, 2018updated 18 Jul 2022 9:05am

Flying Cars, Anyone? Government Launches “Future of Mobility” Challenge

The UK aims to be a 'world leader' in moving goods, services and people through the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge.

By Umar Hassan

The British government has launched its Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, a project funded under Westminster’s industrial strategy with the aim of transforming the UK’s transport infrastructure.

“A wave of electric cargo bikes, vans, quadricycles and micro vehicles could replace vans in UK cities as part of plans to transform last-mile deliveries, vastly reducing emissions and congestion around the country”, the government said, launching the challenge, which aims to make the UK a “world leader in moving goods, services and people.”

It’s an ambitious vision for a project that is initially only allocating £12.1 million of funding – provided to six projects around simulation and modelling for autonomous and connected vehicles – but a series of publications today suggest the appetite is there for far-reaching change.

“Initial work as part of the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge will involve the government aiming to ensure we have explored all the regulatory barriers to technological and service innovation. Work will also take place to understand how data can be better used to improve transport”, the government said.

The Six Projects Being Funded

The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles through Innovate UK launched a competition in January 2018 for simulation and modelling for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV). Six project winners were announced today.

The six projects that have received the £12.1 government funding are as follows:

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OmniCAV, a £3.9 million project, won a £2.7 million grant,

  • Latent Logic, a young UK start up specialising in the simulation of realistic actors using AI within virtual environments, is leading a consortium of 11 to develop a testing certification tool that can be used by accreditation bodies, insurers and manufacturers to accelerate the development of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

COSMOS, a £2.7 million project won a £1.7 million grant,

  • JLR is leading a consortium of three in the development of a simulation capability to reduce sensor interference in traffic and therefore improve safety.

VeriCAV, a £3.4 million project won a £2.4 million grant,

  • Horiba Mira is leading a consortium of eight in the development of simulation test system with automated generation of scenarios and realistic virtual actors.

D-Risk, a £3.8 million project won a £3 million grant,

  • aiPod, a US start up, is leading a consortium of five organisations to develop a novel scenario generator incorporating realistic edge case scenarios, in order to virtually validate a CAV’s decision making and qualify risk.

Simulation of Complex and Off-Road Environments, a £1.2 million project won a £900,000 grant,

  • Dynium Robot, a young start up from Cambridge, is leading a consortium of three to develop off road simulation environments which will reduce the cost of deploying autonomous vehicles on farms in order to help smaller farms compete with larger ones that benefit from economies of scale.

Sim4SafeCAV, a £2 million project won a £1.4 million grant,

  • JLR is leading a consortium of three in a bid to combine simulation to safety for SAE level 4 autonomous vehicles to significantly enhance safety analysis and use simulation to demonstrate achievement of safety targets.

Could connected and autonomous vehicles take control away from the driver?

Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Trends

Within the UK government’s “Future of Mobility” call for evidence meanwhile (also published today), automation, cleaner transport, changing consumer attitudes was just a few of the transport trends that were mentioned by the government.

New business models were also becoming an emerging trend for UK transport such as Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and the emergence of internet-connected vehicles.

Ian Robertson, current BMW UK Chief Executive has been appointed as a Business Champion for the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge.

Robertson commented: “A transport revolution in the way people and goods move around will see more changes in the next 10 years than the previous hundred.

“As the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge Business Champion, I’m looking forward to working with the government to help the UK build on its existing strengths and capitalise on that opportunity.”

See Also: Mobility 2030: The Infinite Car and Electric Vehicles

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