Winner of the SMMT Automotive Award For Innovation announced

Last night the LUTZ Pathfinder project from the Transport Systems Catapult was awarded the Automotive Award for Innovation at the 99th SMMT Annual Dinner. The SMMT award held in partnership with the Advanced Propulsion Centre celebrated the innovative project which is working to bring fully automated, driverless vehicles from the drawing board to the streets of Milton Keynes. The award was presented by Ian Constance, Chief Executive of the Advanced Propulsion Centre, in front of the packed out SMMT Annual Dinner.

Jon Beasley, Director – Technology and Projects, APC, Ian Constance, Chief Executive, APC, and Steve Yianni, Chief Executive, Transport System Catapult, with the Automotive Award for Innovation In front of the LUTZ Pathfinder Pod

The LUTZ Pathfinder project is an innovative project that is pioneering autonomous electric pods. The two seater electric pods will be used as a form of public transport along pedestrian routes. Examples of this being between train stations and city centre. This ground breaking technology is a significant boost in sign posting the UK’s R&D capabilities internationally, whilst also bringing fully autonomous vehicles closer to reality.

The Award also recognised two highly commended entries on a shortlist filled with exceptional examples of the UKs R&D capabilities. Both of the two commended entries were based around lightweighting, which the APC recently have recently added to their scope. Oxford Advanced Surfaces’ impressive molecular bonding agent was praised for its innovative technology that will allow more advanced and lightweight materials to be used in manufacturing. Leyland Trucks were commended for their lightweight truck chassis for 12 ton vehicles which would reduce fuel consumption and as a result reduce emissions.

Ian Constance, CEO of the Advanced Propulsion Centre, said,

Congratulations to the Transport Systems Catapult and its partners for delivering a truly innovative project – a worthy winner amid some very strong competition. The standard of this year’s entries has been remarkable, and together they showcase advanced engineering and innovation in the UK.

Steve Yianni, Transport Systems Catapult CEO, said,

This is a massive honour for the Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) and for our project partners at Milton Keynes Council, RDM and Oxford Mobile Robotics Group. The TSC only began its operations in 2013, so to have already won such a prestigious national innovation award is a great tribute to the ground-breaking work that our people are carrying out together with our partners in the field of Intelligent Mobility.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

The quality of entries was extremely high and judging was tough but we were agreed that Transport Systems Catapult should be recognised for its work in helping put Britain at the forefront of connected and autonomous vehicle development. Technologies such as these represent a huge area of growth for the UK’s automotive industry, with the potential to deliver 300,000 new jobs within the next 15 years. The LUTZ Pathfinder trial is not only an innovation in itself but will provide invaluable data, experience and learning for the whole sector.