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Introducing driverless cars to UK roads - briefing and networking event highlights

Due to an unusually fast-tracked schedule and significant media interest in the Technology Strategy Board’s Driverless cars competition, held in London on Wednesday 30 July, caused the unusual circumstance of the ministerial press announcement, registration opening and briefing and networking events all to occur on the same day.

Nonetheless, KTN successfully attracted 137 attendee registrations and 97 Webinar registrations, with about 70 actively online viewing and interacting the event remotely.



Morning briefing

Introductions for the Introducing driverless cars to UK roads - briefing and networking event were led by Barry Shaw, Competitions Executive, Technology Strategy Board; Helen Feather, Competitions Executive, Technology Strategy Board; Ashley Roberts, Deputy Head Automotive Unit, BIS; Ian Yarnold, Head of International Vehicle Standards Division, Department for Transport, and off-screen by Nick Jones, Lead Technologist, Transport Technologies, Technology Strategy Board.

Helpful, experienced-based advice was provided on the Competition scope of the competition; the application criteria & process; funding; project costs; Submitting an application; and the selection process.


Seeking innovate ideas

The design of the competition has been deliberately made a broad in scope; as answered in the Q&As from delegates by Ashley Roberts, “because we don’t have the answers, we're looking for ideas. We’re looking to connect systems to move the technology into a quasi-market position.”

However, the competition insists upon an element of real-world testing. According to Iain Yarnold, of DfT, ‘there are already systems in controlled conditions, we’re looking to get driverless vehicles into traffic conditions…’.


Afternoon networking

Rob Furlong (KTN) compered the afternoon section of the event: the pitching sessions but these were preceded by three background case studies of cities that are actively considering driverless vehicles as part of the solution to the challenges they are face for managing traffic.

Even though the latest National Travel Survey 2013 finds a steady and continuing decline in the number of car trips made per year in the UK, in property and employment hotspots councils are looking for innovative ways to address the potential growth in traffic that such areas are predicted to likely experience in the future.

Three such local authorities that are actively considering Driverless Vehicles as a local solution presented their local case studies.


Oxford Science Fiction Transit

Llewelyn Morgan, Transport Research & Economics Manager, Oxfordshire County Council followed a science fiction theme Oxford Science Fiction Transit inspired, in part,  by some auspicious movie date references, should that some what seemed extreme future technology could be now be almost upon us.

“Transport within Oxford is doing OK” he claimed. in the city it’s fairly sustainable with the second highest cycle usage in the country and lower traffic levels than 20 years ago - but the main roads into the city during peaks is 'stuffed’”.

So why consider driverless Cars? “Because” he said, “It offers the proposect of a 25% increase in capacity”.

“Oxford is also progressive. It set up the first park-and-ride system in the world in 1974, that still works pretty well, with an average 70% of its 5000 car capacity used on an average weekday.”

But, “We’re now only one year to Back to the Future. So I’ve got my Hover board ready!”.


Overview of Milton Keynes Intelligent Mobility Programme

In his presentation Milton Keynes - Designed for Access and Growth Geoff Snelson stated that Milton Keynes Council has predicted 60% traffic growth from 2010 to 2026, due to predictions of 28,000 new homes - with 1.5 jobs per home and a population growth to 300,000+ people.

However, practical capacity improvements address only 25% of that predicted increase.

Milton Keynes is looking to expand the Lutz concept… in which Milton Keynes Council is involved, and expand the concept that runs on the pavement on one street to city wide.


Driverless Cars Daventry District's story

Simon Bowers, of Daventry District Council explained that his district id planning for 10000 more houses so is looking for better transport solutions.

In his presentation Driverless Cars, Daventry District's Story, Simon recounted that the council previously commission a number of studies, comparing PRT (that relies tracks) v GRT (Bus) - both have cost affordability issue and concluded that buses would produce more CO2 emissions to be acceptable. A second study on PRT found cost an issue, while a third EU Niches + study also comparing PRT v GRT found a safety concern.

“Daventry DC wanted to give a better transit solution than usual public transport solutions or the car - which are unused 96% of time, and wanted to offer a better environment without so many redundant metal boxes around”.

“Local polling found no great opposition to PRT system but would cost £100m. Driverless vehicles seemed more cost effective to meet aspirations for sustainable growth - and was approved.”

“We have a flexible test site on offer - Gatesby Tunnel is a 2.7km aerodynamic test facility.”

“Driverless cars could be as transformative as the original autocars - we're happy to talk!”


Elevator pitches

Thirteen 2 minute pitches followed - some flash quotes from the pitches and selections and links to each provided profile are below:

  • Dr Nick Reed, Principal Human Factors Researcher, TRL: A psychologist in the room. “With a need to optimise driver experience and other users. We ask the right questions”.

    • TRL Company Profile

      • “Our primary interests in this competition related to 1. Independent monitoring and evaluation of the programme. 2. Human factors design and evaluation to improve safety, user experience, public acceptance and uptake of automated transport systems. 3. Evaluation of the performance of active safety systems in the context of automated vehicles.”
      • Offering: evaluation of transport system performance and extensive experience in the evaluation of intelligent transport systems; Multidisciplinary surface transportation expertise - Human Factors, Active vehicle safety, Traffic modelling/network performance, Infrastructure and whole life cost modelling; Access to facilities including high fidelity, full mission driving simulators, test tracks and impact test equipment.
      • Seeking: local authority to lead the project; academic organisations to provide research input; technology providers to deliver the hardware for evaluation.
  • Voon Fui Lai, Senior Associate, Gensler: “imagine you can engage in a activities while in a vehicle…. as a continuation of the urban experience: meetings, spas etc..

    • Gensler Company Profile

      • “We would like to explore the opportunities for incorporating urban lifestyles into mobile immersive experiences.”
      • Offering Innovation and Delivery Expertise in: Urban Planning and Design; Branding; Consulting; Architecture and the Built Environment.
      • Seeking: Engineering Consultant; Economist; Ergonomics Consultant.
  • Roger Higginson, Product Manager - Interurban Traffic Management, Imtech Traffic & Infra (Formerly Peek Traffic) - “networking - how can be managed? need a control system to referee this traffic.”

    • Imtech Company Profile

      • Offering: Technology and equipment for practical Autonomous Vehicle concepts and pilot / trial projects; On–road Traffic Management Solutions / Equipment; Cooperative vehicle technology.
      • Seeking Partners with: Exciting and realistic proposals; Road Networks for trial or pilot; Advocates of technology solutions; Funding.
  • Dr Mohammad Mesgarpour, Technical Research Analyst, Microlise.

    • Microlise Company Profile

      • “Interested in involvement in the Driverless Car pilot as a telematics technology provider”.
      • Offering: Fleet Performance Solutions for diesel, petrol, dual, hybrid and electric vehicles; Vehicle Black Box recording and accident management; Design and development of telematics hardware and software for web, smartphone and tablet; Telematics-based vehicle health management systems; Cloud storage and computing technology; Capability of detecting, transmitting and storing live vehicle sensors data as well as tracking data via advanced on-board units.
  • James Welling, Speedy Sticks Consulting - offering Coop solution

    • Speedysticks Company Profile

      • Offering: A new transport mode; Good returns; Seamless transport; Low running costs; Possibility of 24 hour running; Passenger and freight usage; Flexibility.
      • Seeking: Housing companies; Car manufactures; Architects; Funding!
  • Simon Bowers, Daventry District Council - “Consortiums need to partner with a local authority, we're central.”

    • Daventry District Council Company Profile
    • Offering: Willing and able to support a trial of driverless cars; A range of urban and rural settings in which driverless cars can be tested; Experience of working on innovative transport projects; Land for hosting trial operations.
    • Seeking: consortium members who wish to work with us; We are happy to work with more than one consortium provided this does not create a conflict of interest.
  • Anthony Baxendale, Head of Future Transport Technologies, MIRA Ltd. “Small Army autonomous vehicles already on site - test facilities are a stepping stone to real world deployment”.

    • MIRA Company Profile

      • Offering: Intelligent, Connected and Co-operative Vehicle Systems for improving Safety and Efficiency; Safe deployment of vehicle in the loop for highly automated systems
      • Seeking: Partnering with: Vehicle OEM; A city or cities; Transport operators; Infrastructure providers.
  • Lipika Deka, Post Doctorate with Professor M. A. Quddus, Loughborough University, expert in "intelligent fusion of noisy data with real-time sensors" - seeking OEM, councils

    • Loughborough University Company Profile

      • Offering: Algorithms and Technology behind Autonomy; Interdisciplinary researchers pushing boundaries in innovation; Accuracy at Low cost.
      • Seeking: Industrial partner to transfer our innovations from labs into real world; Academic partners
  • Yvonne Huebner, Senior Researcher in Intelligent Transport Systems, Newcastle University: “offering expertise on infrastructure seeking legal, insurance, human factors, OEM.”

    • Newcastle CC and Newcastle University Company Profile

      • Offering: Experience of multi-partner connected vehicle trials; Research projects on roads; Instrumented infrastructure; Close links to EC driverless and C-ITS work and standardisation; Involved City Council and Tyne and Wear UTMC; Several potential pilot areas.
      • Seeking: vehicle manufacturer; Legal experts; Standardisation experts; HMI experts; Small city partner.
  • Yuri A Vershinin, Senior Lecturer, Director of Intelligent Transport Systems and Telematics Applied Research Group, Coventry University - “can design software for testing autonomous vehicles using open architecture”.

    • Coventry University Company Profile

      • Offering: Modelling and simulation of transport systems; Optimization of vehicles flow in road transport networks; Transport Logistics; Design of automatic control systems; Automotive electronics; Wireless Sensor Networks; Design of devices for driver fatigue monitoring; Driver performance monitoring on a driving simulator; Autonomous vehicles; Traffic safety.
      • Seeking: Technology Transfer in areas of Transport (by the Road, Air, Maritime); Looking for partners to build the consortium for Open Calls; Integrated multimodal transport; HMI; Transport Logistics; Driving simulators; Autonomous vehicles.
  • John Scholes, Chairman, Observant Innovations - optics to record what happens around vehicle for control systems, insurance record, spatially exact.

    • Observant Company Profile

      • Offering: Access to our panoramic imaging technology to provide all around look out capability to vehicles.
      • Seeking: Collaborators with expertise and sales and marketing access in the autonomous vehicles domain.
  • Zufi Deo, Founder, bizStuff

    • bizStuff Company Profile

      • Offering: Support to accurately understand the commercial potential; Market Assessment; Building a business around the idea/ IP; Using KM frameworks and Action Learning approach.
      • Seeking: Technical person with IP / great idea; Willingness to build a business as opposed to selling IP to third parties; Open to working globally.
  • Geoff Vincent, Hitachi Consulting … Offer - experience of smart city pilots esp. mobile comms

    • Hitachi Consulting Company Profile

      • Offering: Innovation experience; Deep IT expertise; Broad and deep ‘real world’ engineering technology; Global scale, local feel; Experience of ‘smart city’ pilots worldwide.
      • Seeking: Social innovation’ business; Opportunities, partners...
  • Nicky Donald, Department of Computing, Goldsmiths College, focus on user centric design - "strong history of research projects”.

Additional profiles

Additional delegates provided profiles for circulation:



3 people have had something to say so far

Daventry District Council very interested in being the Local Authority member in a consortium for the Driverless vehicle competition . Contact Richard T Caple, tel 01327 302427.
Posted on 11/08/14 16:21.
Manchester City Council is interested in being part of a consortium for the Driverless Vehicle Competition. There is the opportunity to link with our academic partners and strategic transport and highways authority as well as our wider investment plans for Airport City, Corridor Manchester and HS2. Contact: Steve Turner,, 07944179396
Posted on 14/08/14 13:23.
Demonstrable and acceptable levels of safety are clearly key to the success of this project. May I draw people's attention to the latest guidance developed and published by TPD on behalf and with the support of safety practitioners in the international rail community at . TPD ( can offer independent peer review of safety planning and safety arguments or provide engineering safety expertise to this work. Our staff have had experience working on behalf of DfT on other innovative public transport schemes too. Please contact Paul Cheeseman at
Posted on 03/09/14 09:28.

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