Technology and innovation
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.
Technology and innovation Q&A
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.
|18.1.12.||Government and industry map path to hydrogen vehicle future||
Plans for a nationwide roll-out of hydrogen vehicles and refuelling infrastructure have today been welcomed by SMMT as a major step in securing the UK’s position as a global leader in the development and manufacture of ultra-low carbon vehicles.
|10.11.11.||Ford announces launch of high-tech, UK-developed 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine||
Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally has launched production of Ford’s new 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine developed by UK powertrain engineers located at Dunton and Dagenham. The turbocharged, direct injection engine will be available in Europe in early 2012 and will ultimately be used worldwide.
|22.9.11.||European automobile manufacturers propose common standards for electric vehicle charging||
The standardisation of electric vehicle (EV) charging has taken a step closer to reality as ACEA – the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association – announces proposals to encourage the use of one type of plug that could be used regardless of car make, electricity provider or country.
|20.9.11.||Honda opens Hydrogen refuelling station in Swindon||
The UK’s first open access hydrogen vehicle refuelling station has been officially opened at Honda’s manufacturing facility in Swindon.
|19.8.11.||MIRA’s advanced engineering and R&D facility awarded Enterprise Zone status||
MIRA, one of the UK’s leading automotive engineering facilities, has been awarded Enterprise Zone status, significantly boosting its bid to become Europe’s most advanced, independent transport development facility.
|18.8.11.||Morgan teams up with technology partners to build high-performance electric sports car concept||
A new, high-performance electric sports car prototype is being developed by the Morgan Motor Company and a consortium of British technology specialists.
|18.7.11.||SMMT integrates innovation and e-mobility functions||
SMMT has today announced that industry co-ordination of electric vehicle development, new technologies, innovation, e-mobility and low carbon motoring will now be handled by a dedicated team following the integration of several resources at the industry trade body.
|18.7.11.||Business Secretary highlights engineering, science and innovation prowess during visit to Group Lotus||
Business Secretary, Vince Cable, visited Group Lotus at Hethel, Norfolk today as part of a visit to East Anglia, highlighting the breadth and depth of engineering and manufacturing expertise in the area.
|8.7.11.||Minister confirms good progress towards digital radio transition in UK automotive||
Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, outlined his ambitions for a “fully digital nation by 2015” this week.
|7.7.11.||Gordon Murray Design announces partnership to design low cost fuel cell vehicle||
Gordon Murray Design has today announced that it is partnering with ACAL Energy, based in the North West of England, to take the first steps towards designing an affordable fuel cell vehicle.
|10.12.10.||Success and Failure of UK Car Manufacturing||
A briefing paper on the Final Report of the Trade and Industry Select Committee’s inquiry into the success and failure of UK car manufacturing
|11.6.07.||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.
|22.5.07.||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.
|26.3.07.||UK Budget 2007: Analysis||
Detailed analysis of the UK Budget 2007