Latest challenge asks innovators to help lead the 5G revolution in the UK transport sector

HS2 train

5PRING – the consortium behind the UK’s first 5G commercial application accelerator – has announced the Future of Transport challenge. 

As part of the programme market leading organisations, HS2 Ltd, Port of Tyne, National Express, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and BCRRE (Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education) have set a series of challenges for start-ups and SMEs to solve, using 5G-enabled solutions. 

Each supporting organisation has contributed its own specific challenges to the open call, which offers disruptive and innovative companies working in the sector the opportunity to put forward solutions. 

Successful applicants will receive access to cutting edge technology via a private 5G network, a tailored acceleration programme, as well as coaching, mentoring and expertise provided by experts from the leading organisations, and 5PRING consortium members Telefonica UK (O2), Deloitte, Wayra and Digital Catapult. 

The Future of Transport challenge will provide start-ups and other small businesses with support in developing and scaling innovations which harness the power of 5G to enhance and encourage sector growth.

The challenge will provide entrants with opportunities to undertake transformative use cases and explore innovative solutions from across the transport industry.

Applicants with 5G-enabled solutions which leverage augmented reality, computer vision, IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics, area encouraged to apply.  

The full list of the Future of Transport challenge areas, market leading challenge owners and specific 5G-enabled solutions can be found on the 5PRING application page.

HS2 Ltd’s Innovation Manager, Charlotte Hills, said: “We’re pleased to be part of the Future of Transport Challenge. Creative 5G-powered solutions have an important part to play in the UK’s transport network and I’m looking forward to seeing what new ideas come forward.”

Sanchit Khandelwal, Head of Group Digital Products said: “National Express provides our customers with 300 million journeys every year in the UK on our local buses and intercity coaches.

“From our experience running our own accelerator scheme, we already know the benefits of marrying our size and expertise with the innovation and disruptive thinking of smaller companies and start-ups.

“So we’re delighted to be part of the Future of Transport challenge. We believe 5G brings huge potential to improve our services and make our customers’ journeys better. That could be vehicle tracking, passenger counting, journey planning, CCTV, predictive maintenance, real-time on-board bus information for customers – or something else we’ve not even thought of yet. We’re excited to see what solutions are provoked by our challenges and we’d really urge innovators to apply to the programme.”

 Last year, West Midlands 5G (WM5G) and collaborators O2, Deloitte, Digital Catapult and Wayra announced the launch of the UK’s first commercial accelerators – 5PRING – to develop the first region-wide 5G testbed.

Robert Franks, Managing Director at WM5G, said: “The delivery of the HS2 high-speed rail is one of the country’s most ambitious national infrastructure projects and we are very fortunate to have secured their involvement and support for this challenge.  

“Participants to this open call are being asked to consider a wide range of different challenges and obstacles and we are hoping to capture some truly fantastic, innovative solutions from small businesses that may not otherwise have access to this kind of audience. 

“The guidance and expert advice that our 5PRING teams can provide both virtually and through our dedicated Accelerator hubs in Coventry, Wolverhampton and Birmingham are leading the way.” 

Applications for the accelerator are now open and should be submitted by midnight on the 17th September 2021. Successful applicants will start working with 5PRING from 8th November 2021.