Insurers, fuel and carmaker businesses in new research programme | Smart Highways Magazine: Industry News

Insurers, fuel and carmaker businesses in new research programme

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Aviva, BP, Hastings Direct and Honda R&D Europe have been announced as founder members of a Shared Research Programme, investing in a three year foundation research programme, to develop, test and validate new road transport technologies, services, and business operating models.

The group, led by TRL in a strategic partnership with DG Cities, says it will ask the “difficult questions that underpin transformational change”, and consider their impact on society. In so doing they say they are affirming their role as “enablers of future transport systems in the UK”.  

The members of the Shared Research Programme will leverage the £19 million joint investment from UK Government and industry in the establishment of a London connected test environment for future transport and mobility solutions – the Smart Mobility Living Lab: London (SMLL) – which will have the infrastructure and facilities to undertake real world trials to help develop more intelligent, safe, sustainable and joined up transport systems.

SMLL is a set of real world test routes in and around the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.  The routes are designed to provide the most complex urban, real-world test and validation environment in the world involving the general public.  

The participants say by sharing resources, knowledge, insight, and resulting intellectual property, they will select and direct research activities that give them unique insight and early access to the emergent smart mobility market and that results from their research will allow members to play a pivotal role in the design of sustainable new transport systems. As investment in the Shared Research Programme grows with the recruitment of additional members, the proportional benefit to each member increases.

Trevor Dorling, Managing Director of DG Cities Limited, who together with TRL will manage the Shared Research Programme said, “We are delighted to announce the participation of these prestigious companies as Founding Members in this important and ambitious research programme.  Under the direction of the Founding Members, the research will provide valuable insights into the way transport is changing and its impact on business, cities and residents”.  

Adam Beckett, Aviva’s product and propositions director, added, “This is a globally leading, exciting opportunity in which Aviva is proud to be a founding member. As a leading insurer for over 300 years, covering all kinds of personal and business transportation, the future of mobility – how people, goods and services get around in the society of tomorrow – is key to how we serve our customers for the next decade and beyond.”

Roy Williamson, BP, Vice President, Advanced Mobility commented, “From electrification to automation, the way that people and things move around the world is changing. BP is very excited to be part of SMLL; it gives us a real life environment to test and bring our mobility strategy to life, and to get it right for consumers. The added bonus is we get to work with like-minded partners on the big questions and challenges facing mobility in our cities.”

Lucy Johnson, Managing Director, Underwriting Services for Hastings Direct said, “We’re delighted to be one of the founder members of the SRP. The future developments in vehicle technology will continue to change the cars on the road, and the way customers view, buy, service and claim on their insurance. We are a technology led business and intend to be at the forefront of this industry change so the SRP and live London trials, will enable us to identify new opportunities to further enhance our capability and collaborate with likeminded organisations.”

Adrian Killham, Senior Vice President of Honda R&D Europe UK commented, “Honda R&D Europe, represented by the UK R&D centre is delighted to join this important and far-sighted project as a founding research partner. London, as an expanding, dynamic mega-city, is actively seeking solutions to the challenges of mobility for its population. Honda R&D Europe looks forward to participation in the Smart Mobility Living Lab research and expects to learn how our various technologies can contribute to achieving a clean, safe & secure society“.

The Shared Research Programme will be managed by TRL and DG Cities in a strategic partnership. TRL will provide programme and project management, coupled with thought-leading insights and research expertise in new, intelligent mobility.  DG Cities will provide insights and expertise on the integration of future transport services into a smart city environment, in a way that is compatible with the needs and ambitions of the city, its residents and businesses.  

Rob Wallis, CEO of TRL explained, “TRL is proud to be the catalyst which brings together these key market players, facilitating the realisation of safer, cleaner, affordable, liveable and more efficient transport and mobility services.  We have 85 years’ experience in conducting world-leading research which has affected transformational changes to the transport sector in many countries. The launch of this Shared Research Programme, in conjunction with our strategic partner, DG Cities, and our Founding Members, evidences a continuation of TRL’s leading role in delivering impactful innovation for society.”

The Shared Research Programme is open to any organisation or private enterprise wishing to research or trial technology for connected and autonomous vehicles, electrification, or new forms of mobility service. SME’s will be assisted to find suitable partners to collaborate on R&D. The technologies and business models that demonstrate performance and societal benefits in this environment will integrate into thousands of urban environments globally. 


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