The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has announced the shortlist for its 2015 Automotive Award for Innovation. The diverse list includes entries from both start-ups and established businesses, with technologies ranging from virtual reality retail to next-generation driverless car technology.
Now in its sixth year, the Award – in partnership with the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), sponsored by GKN, and supported by The Times – rewards the best UK-developed technologies with potential to influence the automotive sector in years to come.
SMMT Automotive Award for Innovation 2015 shortlisted entries:
Evolute Drive Limited – MSYS Transmission
Transmission technology for electric vehicles that saves power, helping reduce the size of the battery, and increases vehicle range.
Leyland Trucks – DAF Lightweight Future Truck Chassis (FTCC) Concept
Next-generation truck chassis design that delivers significant weight reduction. A 500kg weight saving leads to an estimated fuel consumption improvement of between 2-6% on a 12-tonne vehicle.
Oxford Advanced Surfaces – Onto™ SB1000 Adhesion Promoter
A chemical surface treatment that enables polyurethane and epoxy adhesives to be stuck to difficult-to-bond advanced materials – promoting the use of lightweight, more environmentally friendly materials in automotive manufacturing.
Transport Systems Catapult – LUTZ Pathfinder Pods
The UK’s first-ever trial deployment of fully automated, self-driving vehicles in pedestrianised public areas, supporting government’s aim of establishing the UK as a global hub for the development of autonomous vehicle technologies.
ZeroLight – ZeroLight digital 3D car configurator
An advanced car configurator with the potential to transform automotive retailing. 3D graphics create a ‘live’ scene of a car with which buyers can interact in real-time, using either a display screen or a virtual reality headset.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “This year’s entries prove that innovation comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s a new type of glue for bonding tricky materials or a 12-tonne truck, any concept that has the potential to radically improve the industry should be supported and celebrated. The 2015 judging panel has its work cut out – choosing one winner will not be an easy task.”
Jon Beasley, Director of Technology and Projects at the Advanced Propulsion Centre, said, “The exciting range of technologies, products, processes and services in this year’s shortlist reflects the incredible diversity of innovation in the UK automotive sector. Each one has the potential to be a winner and I am sure will achieve success in its particular market. It is gratifying to see such great work and development carried out in UK companies.”
Rob Rickell, President of Group Technology, GKN plc, said, “This year’s finalists demonstrate clearly the diversity that exists in the UK automotive industry and showcase the fantastic work that goes on in this country. We believe the automobile is undergoing significant change – electric drive, lighter, connected and autonomous – within 10 years, 40% of new cars will have some form of electric propulsion. It is the innovation of companies such as these, and the likes of GKN, that is facilitating this evolution.”
The shortlisted companies will now present their entries to a panel of industry experts, with the winner to be announced at the SMMT Annual Dinner on 24 November. Shortlisted entrants will also be presenting their technologies at Advanced Engineering UK, held at Birmingham’s NEC on 5 November.
The Award judging panel for 2015:
- Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
- Robert Lea, Industrial Editor, The Times
- Jon Beasley, Director of Technology and Projects, Advanced Propulsion Centre
- Rob Genway-Haden, Global Chief Engineer, GKN
- Richard Hill, Head of Automotive and Manufacturing, NatWest
- Jon Excell, Editor, The Engineer