The UK – a world leader in transport technologies of the future?

The UK – a world leader in transport technologies of the future?

The UK – a world leader in transport technologies of the future? That’s what the government hopes.

And it has launched a consultation to consider groundbreaking future transport technologies that could transform how we travel over the next decade.

Measures to safely maximise the opportunities and benefits from emerging aviation technology, including drones, and expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the UK are among a raft of proposals set out by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

With radical changes in transport expected over the next decade, the government is making sure the right framework is in place to drive innovation, keep people safe and harness the benefits of new technologies right across the country.

Among the proposals being considered are future plans for a more robust chargepoint network that will allow everyone to make the switch to electric (editor: a jolly good idea after this week’s fuel shenanigans – suddenly my neighbour’s decision to have two fully electric cars between them doesn’t seem so daft), supporting the government’s commitment to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. The proposals would support even more chargepoints along motorways, streets and at popular destinations to make them more accessible, as well as helping to ensure they are inclusively designed so they are easy to use by all.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This is a hugely exciting time for transport in the UK. On our roads EVs are set to become the norm within the decade, on our seas autonomous and remotely operated vessels will increase efficiency and improve safety, and in our skies drones and novel aircraft will transform the way people and goods move around.

“Supporting these innovations will not only ensure high standards for consumers but also create a research-friendly environment so we can continue being world leaders in transport. We will create a safer, greener transport system that attracts investment and supports skilled jobs across the country.”

The consultation will also look at how a flexible legislative and regulatory framework could bring new aviation technology to market in a safe, secure and sustainable way. This will create new opportunities in aviation, such as supporting the routine use of drones for deliveries, which will improve accessibility to rural communities, surveying, data collection and search-and-rescue missions. Research suggests that the drone economy alone could be worth up to £42 billion to the UK by 2030.

In maritime, the government is looking to create a comprehensive regulatory framework to ensure that autonomous and remotely operated vessels can be operated safely in UK waters. This will ensure the country becomes the destination of choice for those wanting to develop, test and use autonomous vessels.

At least 200,000 new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will be registered in the UK in 2021, according to figures from Marlow-based DriveElectric, one of the UK’s leading electric vehicle leasing companies.

This figure is based on DriveElectric’s own forecasts, and it represents a significant increase from 108,205 – the number of battery electric vehicles registered in the UK in 2020 (based on SMMT data released today) – a figure which, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, even exceeded DriveElectric’s January 2020 forecast of 98,500 BEV registrations. The figure does not include plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

Across the region, there are literally hundreds of trials of electric vehicles going on..

Electric Assisted Vehicles Limited, the Oxfordshire-based micro-mobility manufacturer, has delivered two new EAV2Cubed vehicles to the famous covered market in Oxford as part of a £200,000 Government funded trial to new zero emissions delivery methods in the city.

Named Aria and Atlas by Oxford City Council, the two EAV2Cubed vehicles will be used by the various businesses of the Covered Market.  As one of the rear cargo bays is refrigerated, it’ll be used for delivering fresh flowers, chocolate, meat and even artisan ice cream around the centre of Oxford.

Coventry-based driverless vehicle maker Aurrigo has become one of the first companies in the UK to benefit from a new technology partnership between Newbury headquartered Vodafone and Amazon Web Services(AWS).

The autonomous vehicle specialist has been powering its three auto-shuttles – used in the recent trials on roads in Cambridge – with AWS Wavelength and Distributed Edge Computing from Vodafone, which together delivers ultra-low latency and expansive bandwidth that guarantees high levels of performance and cyber resilience as the data is not exposed to the public internet.

And in July, Gridserve, the Iver-based company in Buckinghamshire which builds clean energy power infrastructure, has revealed plans to revolutionise EV charging infrastructure in the UK as it officially launches a UK-wide network of more than 50 high power ‘Electric Hubs’ with 6-12 x 350kW chargers in each, plus almost 300 rapid chargers installed across 85 per cent of the UK’s motorway service stations, and more than a 100 Gridserve Electric Forecourts in development.