Industry Topics

Technology & Innovation

From the invention of the three-point seat belt to the airbag and Autonomous Emergency Braking, the automotive industry has been a constant innovator of new products to encourage safer and greener motoring.

UK Automotive is a significant driving force for research development in the UK. In 2015, £2.4 billion was invested in British automotive R&D, and at €41.5 billion per year, the sector is Europe’s largest investor in research and development.

SMMT works to support and promote innovation in the UK automotive industry through three key areas:

  • Working closely with key organisations, such as the Automotive Council, the Transport Knowledge Transfer Network, Innovate UK, the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) and EPSRC to encourage alignment on key issues
  • Bringing together stakeholders from a range of sectors working in key areas of innovation to foster cooperation and collaboration
  • Communicating with members and stakeholders to highlight upcoming R&D and funding opportunities, as well as sharing project results to increase the potential impact of the innovation

Automotive Council

In the UK, the Automotive Council brings together industry, academia and government to ensure that the UK automotive sector continues to be one of the best places for investment.

The Automotive Council focuses on several strategic technologies: internal combustion engines, energy storage and management, lightweight vehicles and powertrain structures, power electronics and electrical machines and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).

For many of these areas, the Automotive Council Technology Group has created technology roadmaps to illustrate the advances that will be made in automotive technologies in coming decades. These roadmaps have provided focus points for the whole industry – vehicle manufacturers, the supply chain, academia and funding bodies, directing investment in R&D.

Transport Knowledge Transfer Network (TKTN)

The TKTN is an initiative established by the Public Body Innovate UK (previously the Technology Strategy Board). The TKTN aims to support growth and development in UK transport industries by facilitating knowledge sharing and collaborative working. As a member of the Steering Board, SMMT ensures that the work undertaken by the TKTN reflects the needs of the industry and of our members.

Advanced Propulsion Centre

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) aims to position the UK as the global leader in the development and production of low carbon powertrains. The APC offers funding to low carbon projects via its biannual competitions and has committed to this funding until 2023.