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The global automotive industry continues to grow at a staggering rate and the opportunities and challenges faced by the motor industry are varied and exciting. In order to meet these challenges, SMMT has launched the ‘Award for Automotive Innovation‘ to encourage and recognise the creation and development of new innovative products, technologies and ideas that could change the face of the UK automotive industry.

From the invention of the three-point seat belt to the airbag and Electronic Stability Control, the automotive industry has been a constant innovator of new products to encourage safer and greener motoring. At €20 billion per year, the automotive sector is Europe’s largest investor in R&D, driving industry forward and helping deliver more sustainable motoring for the 21st century.

The automotive industry is conducting extensive work to revolutionise the transport system. This will make roads safer and allow an improved traffic flow therefore cutting emissions.

Key areas being developed include Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) which allow vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. Implementing these communication systems can help to reduce road accidents, relieve congestion and reduce emissions. Examples of ITS applications in use today include urban and motorway traffic management and control systems, electronic toll collection and route navigation systems. In the UK, innovITS provides a platform to bring together industry thinking, to stimulate collaborative working across ITS industries and services and to inform the direction of ITS research and development.

Another technology being developed which aims to improve road safety is Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA). ISA systems inform the driver of the speed limit for the road they are travelling on and automatically reduce the speed of the vehicle.

E-call automatically alerts the emergency services to the location of an accident and is a system widely used in other countries.

Driver Assistance Systems such as Electronic Stability Control and Emergency Brake Assist are systems that function automatically with no interaction with the driver and will improve the safety of the vehicle in use.

Implementation of these systems requires continued co-ordinated work between all stakeholders involved to ensure that all information is available.

What does the term telematics mean?

Telematics refers to the exchange of data over a wireless communications network. For drivers, it is now most commonly seen in applications like satellite navigation systems. These systems are commonplace, and are no longer just the preserve of higher end luxury models. Satellite navigation is now available on almost any car in any showroom, and as an aftermarket fit for older vehicles.

Does new technology mean more expensive new cars?

New technology is appearing all the time – just think how cars have changed over the last 30 years, yet they still remain affordable modes of transport.

Is the motor industry moving slowly in developing new environmental technology?

The UK motor industry has been transformed during the last decade and while for many it may still conjure images of rust-belt industrial decay, the reality is that the design, development and manufacture of motor vehicles is an engine of economic growth and the creator of high value, highly skilled jobs. The motor industry is already tackling climate change. Although it is true that legislation may set targets, it is consumer choice that will dictate the actual pace of change. The demand for lower carbon vehicles is increasing.

Are electric vehicles definitely the way forward?

The overall impact of any fuel used must be considered – if the battery energy results from fossil-fuelled power stations, then the overall gain is questionable. Electric vehicles are one option to be considered alongside hybrids and low emitting petrol and diesel models.

What about the implementation of other alternative fuels that have been discussed in the past – biofuel and LPG?

There is a place in the market for all types of fuel as different technologies will meet the needs of different driving situations. Consumers need to have the refuelling infrastructure available to them so that they can utilise the technology. Incentives for the take up of lower carbon technology are important for consumers in order to reduce their carbon footprint.

European manufacturers charge ahead to expand EV infrastructure

A consortium of electric vehicle manufacturers have united in order to develop a network of rapid charge points across the UK. Members of the joint project include Nissan, BMW, VW and Renault. This marks the first time leading pure electric vehicle manufacturers have come together to accelerate the growth of EV charging infrastructure. Once completed, Read more

Five things you need to know before Going Ultra Low

So far this year, more ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) have been registered than ever before, with 59% more people choosing pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars than in 2013. The success of the UK’s lowest-emitting vehicles is thanks, in part, to Go Ultra Low, a joint industry and government campaign to educate motorists on the benefits of ULEVs.

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F1 tech puts bus operator en route to lower emissions

UK automotive supplier GKN has agreed a deal that will see Formula One technology fitted to 500 buses across the UK. As part of a supply deal with national bus operator Go-Ahead, GKN will provide vehicles with its innovative Gyrodrive electric flywheel technology, which will help to reduce emissions in cities.

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Three UK cities to trial driverless cars

Government has today launched a £10 million competition for UK cities to host a driverless cars trial, which will see fully autonomous vehicles take to the streets from January 2015.

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Plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles ‘champions’ of advanced propulsion

Electrification and hydrogen fuel cell technology will both be instrumental in powering vehicles in the near future. This was the message delivered as Kevin E Layden, Global Director of Powertrain Engineering for Ford Motor Company, and Frank Meijer, Head of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle at Hyundai Motor Europe, debated strategies for advanced propulsion at the 2014 SMMT International Automotive Summit.

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Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy

The DfT “Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy” was published alongside the Energy White Paper 2007. It forms the basis of the transport element of the White Paper.

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Planning for a Sustainable Future: White Paper

The Planning White Paper details proposals for reform of the planning system, building on both Barker’s recommendations for improving efficiency and effectiveness in land use planning, and Sir Rod Eddington’s proposals for reform of infrastructure planning.

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