What role is the UK playing in Connected & Autonomous Vehicles?

Posted on 16 Oct 2017 by The Manufacturer

Mike Rigby, head of Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics at Barclays, highlights how the UK is helping to drive the future of mobility.

Autonomous Vehicles -CAV vehicles are set to add £51bn a year to the UK economy by 2030, in addition to creating 320,000 new jobs - image courtesy of Barclays.
CAV vehicles are set to add £51bn a year to the UK economy by 2030, in addition to creating 320,000 new jobs – image courtesy of Barclays.

Amid the plethora of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) announcements made over the past 18 months, it’s all too easy to forget the incredible role the UK is playing within this rapidly advancing space.

Almost every one of the world’s automotive manufacturers – from multinational to SME – has declared an intention to embrace CAV, hybrid, electric or all three; and at the centre of such widespread disruption sits the UK.

When you look at the headline numbers involved, the size of the opportunity becomes starkly apparent.

CAV vehicles are set to add £51bn a year to the UK economy by 2030, in addition to creating 320,000 new jobs, 25,000 of which specifically in automotive manufacturing*

Below is merely a sample – a point worth remembering – of the recent developments, investments and IP projects taking place across the UK:

  • At the start of 2017, one of the UK’s leading forces in autonomous vehicles, RDM Group announced the opening of its first international facility – in part due to the global interest in its ‘Pod Zero’.
  • February saw Jaguar Land Rover unveil a multi-million-pound research project focused on evaluating CAV technologies in real-world driving conditions. In September, the manufacturer announced that, from 2020, all new Jaguar Land Rover vehicles will be fully electric or hybrid, with its first fully electric SUV, the Jaguar I-PACE, due to go on sale in 2018.
  • In April, a £109m government investment into cutting-edge automotive R&D projects was announced, specifically targeted at driverless and low-carbon projects.
  • Also in April, Horiba Mira – a world leader in vehicle, engineering and product testing, and Coventry University officially opened a brand new multi-million-pound Centre for Connected & Autonomous Automotive Research.
  • The first phase of a £246m government investment into battery technology was launched in July, geared towards ensuring the UK leads the word in the design, development and manufacture of electric batteries.
  • This summer saw BMW pledge that its new fully electric MINI would be built at its Oxford plant, and Aston Martin confirm the production of its first all-electric model, the RapidE.
  • August saw factory built and kit versions UK sports car manufacturer, Westfield, secure a deal worth up to £30m to export self-driving vehicles to South Korea.
  • A new co-ordination hub to test CAV technologies, MERIDIAN, was announced by the government in September, bringing together the UK’s existing CAV test sites.
  • Lastly, British technology company, Dyson, has announced a £2bn investment to develop its own ‘radical’ electric vehicle – the culmination of two years’ work by 400 of its staff at its headquarters in Wiltshire.

*Figures courtesy of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)

Further thought-leadership courtesy of Mike Rigby:

Holidays are over, so what now for UK manufacturing? – a timely discussion on why the government’s long-awaited industrial strategy is of such vital importance.

Are UK manufacturers taking advantage of the opportunities? – is there still a lack of appetite for capital investments from UK manufacturers?

Will manufacturing mirror what’s happening in logistics? – Confidence among logistics operators is higher than last year, with a sense of opportunity surrounding the growing impact of digital technology and data.