CAM Innovators 2023: Driving the industry forward through collaboration
Zenzic’s annual conference celebrating the UK’s Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) industry saw over 200 of the brightest minds in academia, industry and government attend in London last month.
The CAM Innovators Event 2023, held at The Savoy, saw expert panel discussions and keynote speakers discuss the plethora of opportunities and challenges facing the industry over the coming years. Bringing together industry, academia and government, Zenzic’s annual conference aims to utilise the power of collaborative working to ensure the UK is best placed to reap the benefits of an industry set to be worth £43billion by 2035.
Guest speakers included industry pioneers from Ford, Stantec, Eleride, Cyient and Waymo, as well as fast-growing UK businesses such as HVS, Oxbotica, Angoka, Oxford RF Solutions, PolyChord Ltd and an array of experts from across academia and government.
Mark Cracknell, Programme Director at Zenzic, said: “The UK has a real strength and gift when it comes to collaborating as an industry. We’re used to working together to overcome challenges, and to be competitive, you have to collaborate. Something we believe really passionately about at Zenzic is that bringing people together – such as researchers, businesses and government to discuss best practice and explore how we can deliver and deploy new technology – will be key to ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of the global CAM industry, so I am thrilled that we were able to bring some of the industry’s best minds together, under one roof, to join us for this insightful event.”
Zenzic has worked with Innovate UK and the UK Government since its formation in 2017 to accelerate the development of the nation’s connected and automated mobility (CAM) ecosystem, by encouraging collaboration to develop solutions that can be exported the world-over. “Zenzic’s aim is to bring the best of British industry, government and academia together to really drive the CAM revolution,” Mark added. “We have developed a community built on collaboration which has delivered real tangible outcomes for the industry, but we know there’s still a lot more work to be done.
“It’s a global industry with huge economic and societal benefits and the UK – according to KPMG – is the 9th best in the world when it comes to developing CAM solutions, so events like this are key to ensuring we capitalise on our strengths and ensure the UK becomes an exporter of pioneering CAM products and services for years to come.”
The latest round of the Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) programme, which helps British companies seize early opportunities to develop experimental projects into scalable market-ready solutions, began earlier this year with seven projects from across the UK awarded a total of £81 million in combined government and industry funding.
The deployments include the world’s first fully sized, self-driving bus service in Edinburgh, £13.2 million to develop a new, zero emissions, self-driving HGV with Asda, £11 million to deploy a self-driving shuttle service around Belfast Harbour and £6 million to build and trial a self-driving shuttle service in Sunderland.
The event also coincided with the launch of the second iteration of the UK’s CAM Roadmap, which aims to help businesses and academics better understand how to develop and monetise the solutions required to drive the industry forward.
David Skipp, Director, Autonomous Vehicle & Mobility Strategy, Ford Mobility at Ford Motor Company, said: “The Zenzic roadmap is like a treasure map with trillions of pounds worth of value buried at the end of it. We know where the UK’s position is globally, and we know we have the knowledge and expertise to commercialise and export our products and services across the globe. Our job as an industry now however is to make it happen and this strategy will be key to bringing it all together and positioning the UK at the forefront of the global CAM industry.”
According to Katy Pell, Head of Automotive International Trade at the Department for Business and Trade, the UK’s CAM sector ‘now receives more funding than any other nation’, making organisations likes Zenzic, which champion the sector and ‘have helped create a community built on collaboration’ key to ensuring the UK capitalises on this growing demand for CAM solutions.
She said: “The UK is not only home to businesses blazing a trail in the design and development of CAM technologies, but it also leads the way when it comes to cyber security, policy and legislation, which is hugely attractive for investors and will be key to ensuring these solutions are not only feasible, but also scalable.
Another key strength is the collaborative culture we have as a nation, which has been crucial to growing the industry so far and really sets us apart from anywhere else in the world.”
Katy’s views were also echoed by Paul Newman, CAM Champion for the UK Automotive Council and founder and CTO of Oxbotica, who stated: “We have to look at this as a real export opportunity, not an experiment. We need to really think about how Europe, the Americas and Asia need and want our products, how we export the technology to them and meet their regulatory standards and what the plan is over the next three or four years.As a community we need to be a projecting force externally to other countries who don’t have the advantages we have. We have the brains, economy, resource, we must now work collaboratively to develop these new solutions.”
Other topics debated during the day-long event included the importance of educating communities about the benefits and uses of CAM solutions; working with regulators and insurers and addressing the skills shortage.
Concluding the conference, Mark Cracknell thanked the speakers and attendees for their participation, but was keen to stress the importance of the industry continuing to work together, share best practice and address the skills gap to ensure the industry realises its true potential.
“As an organisation which prides itself on encouraging collaboration in the sector and unlocking growth, it’s been fantastic to see so many conversations take place and to hear from so many industry pioneers and we can’t wait to welcome you all back in 2024.”
Zenzic was created by government and industry to champion the UK Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) ecosystem and lead the UK in accelerating the self-driving revolution, with the goal of ensuring a safer, more secure, sustainable, and inclusive transport future.
Zenzic delivers strategic insight to support the UK CAM ecosystem and deliver the industry accepted UK Connected and Automated Mobility Roadmap. Zenzic fosters innovation by channelling government investment to support UK companies develop products and services to market. Zenzic encourages collaboration between industry, government, and academia across all relevant sectors to facilitate the development and deployment of CAM in the UK.