SMMT Connected 2019

05 April 2019 #Uncategorised

This week saw the third biennial SMMT Connected conference taking place in central London, a timely opportunity for over 450 industry experts, policy makers and journalists to discuss the latest developments in connected and autonomous vehicles.

SMMT CEO Mike Hawes opening the day. “The global industry is facing massive challenges,” he told journalists at the publication of a new report in conjunction with Frost & Sullivan. “The pace of change is leading to a tremendous amount of investment in connected and autonomous vehicles,” he said.

Read Connected and autonomous vehicles: the global race to market

The level of investment and commitment needed to maintain the UK’s place at the forefront of R&D and deployment of CAV technology is covered in ‘Connected and autonomous vehicles: the global race to market’, but the benefits are clear: 420,000 more jobs for UK plc by 2030 as well as a £62bn annual boost to the economy.

Agustin Martin, CEO of Toyota Connected Europe and Andy Palmer, CEO and President of Aston Martin, were both on hand to outline their thinking on future mobility. Martin described how his work sitting at a crossroads between the traditional car industry and the tech sector, saying that his office was based in London because ‘you need to be part of the tech ecosystem’.

Watch the SMMT Connected 2019 launch video

Palmer said that Aston Martin was resisting the temptation to chase the mass market, but was trying to rethink mobility in the more exclusive luxury market. It’s not an easy job: “I’ll make a bold prediction that 10 years from now we won’t see any new luxury brands emerge.”

Chris Skidmore MP, innovation minister in the Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills department, emphasised the importance of working together across the world to realise the potential of CAVs. “We’re looking at the change from driving as a skill to mobility as a right, but we can’t meet this unprecedented global co-operation with unprecedented isolation.”

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT

As you will see today, automotive is far from a sunset industry. It is constantly evolving and adapting. There will be new entrants and there are already disruptors. But there are also technology leaders here in the UK who will be part of an exhilarating future.

Panel discussions on mobility, data, logistics and planning all meant that there was something refreshing for everyone to take away from the event.

Michael Hurwitz, Director of Transport Innovation at TfL, summed up the approach of many during the ‘Smart Mobility’ discussion: “The solutions we’re looking at have to work for the 15% of people who don’t use apps or those who can’t get around as easily,” and Jonathan Bamford from the Information Commissioner’s Office called for “privacy by default” in the ‘Data and the Digital Ecosystem’ session.

The ‘Connectivity and Logistics’ panel were all in agreement about the benefits of recent developments in connectivity and what was available. In fact, the latest technology is essential to manage large fleets, improve productivity and maximise safety, they said.

Graham Smethurst, Head of Co-ordination Team Networked and Automated Driving at VDA in Germany said in the ‘Smart Mobility Planning for a Connected Future’ discussion that automated driving “is not a goal, it’s an enabler”, saying that new mobility solutions should be in the public interest.

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