The government-backed Transport Systems Catapult wants to turn Britain into a smart transport ‘Silicon Valley’ and is seeking investors to support up-and-coming technology firms.
The organisation recently announced plans to create the world’s first ‘intelligent mobility investment fund’ with the aim of injecting £50-100 million into fast-growth SMEs in the intelligent transport sector.
Assisted by a fund manager, this initiative is expected to raise vital early-stage capital for technology innovations that have the potential to drive intelligent mobility, harnessing ‘smart data’ to transform the movement of goods and people, the Transport Systems Catapult said.
Its ambition is for Britain to become a global leader in this sector, securing 10% of a market that is projected to reach £900 billion in ten years’ time.
Paul Zanelli, chief technology officer at the Transport Systems Catapult, claimed that promising businesses are currently being held back by a lack of early-stage investment.
We aim to create something that can attract forward-thinking technology investors to help get these world-leading transport ideas to the marketplace over the course of ten years, he explained.
Intelligent transport systems will use new technology and live data to improve traffic flow and safety on the roads. Current projects include:PIE Mapping, which is building a real-time map of Britain’s road network that includes live data from Highways Agencies, transport operators and local authorities, allowing users to create personalised route maps incorporating everything from imminent road closures to local safety hazardsRoute Monkey’s scheduling and modelling system for electric vehicles, which is enabling virtual trials to predict the impact of electric cars in citiesMole Solutions, which has plans for automated ‘freight pipelines’ that will reduce the number of lorries on the roads by transporting freight through underground tunnels on driverless capsulesZipabout, developer of a system for monitoring social media traffic and commuter movements to chart the mood of consumers across every location and predict future transport eventsAsset Mapping, capturing live data from connected devices to give transport operators 24-hour visibility over an entire network in real time
We are on the cusp of a revolution in transport that will see IT innovations used to create hyper-efficient, seamless movement of goods and people based on real-time data, Zanelli said.