Industry and Government explore ways forward for connected and autonomous vehicles to become reality


The automotive and transport industries, along with governing bodies are grappling with the challenges around standards, business models, security and managing liabilities. Real progress needs to be demonstrated in all of these areas if connected and autonomous vehicles are to become ubiquitous. This was one of the messages from experts in the automotive and telecommunications industries speaking at the Cambridge Wireless (CW) conference in Norwich last week.

Delegates at the ‘State of the Nation’,  hosted by the Hethel Innovation Centre near Norwich and looking at the automotive sector, heard from speakers including Mike Short of Telefonica, Roger C. Lanctot, from Strategy Analytics, Ireri Ibarra of MIRA, Nick Smith of the Home Office and Martin Green from Visteon Engineering Services.

“Secure and ubiquitous wireless communication between vehicles and the broader infrastructure has the potential to enable unprecedented social change with future generations of connected vehicles and transport systems,” said Andrew Ashby, responsible for new business development at Plextek Consulting and a champion of the Cambridge Wireless Automotive & Transport SIG (Special Interest Group).  “Much of the implementation of integrated and autonomous transport communications will rely on wireless systems and the community we are now building with this new SIG is ideally placed to draw on a wealth of relevant experience from other industry sectors and to foster and harness new innovation.”

“It’s not just about in-car entertainment and user experience,” said John Okas, Strategic Wireless Business Consultant at Real Wireless and a SIG CW champion.  “Drivers, passengers, road and transport operators, manufacturers, academia and governments are looking for solutions to overcrowding, escalating costs, delays causing lost hours and reducing death and injury on the roads. Wireless technology will play a pivotal role in solving these challenges and this new SIG is therefore perfectly placed to focus minds and accelerate the process”

And according to Roger C. Lanctot, Associate Director in the Global Automotive Practice for Strategy Analytics, “LTE is the greatest source of change in value proposition and user experience for the customer and car maker. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC and satellite connectivity are all playing a role, but LTE deployment is the biggest wave sweeping the connected car, creating opportunities for new technologies and applications.”

Yesterday’s conference was the inaugural event of the new CW Automotive and Transport SIG that will provide a unique forum for open and challenging discussion and debate between industry players, technology innovators and the providers of new services and business models in the connected vehicle space.

Professor Mike Short CBE FREng FIET, Vice President of Public Affairs, Telefonica Europe looked at the world of internet on wheels and how safety and real time mapping might be integrated into new and second hand vehicles, including the possibility of mobile tachographs or integrated solutions for energy management and insurance. Ireri Ibarra, Chief Engineer, Functional Safety at MIRA spoke about how road transportation systems can incorporate more automated features and still be as safe and secure; while Nick Smith, Senior Policy Manager, OSCT, Home Office set out the background to the Government’s Security Industry Engagement Team and how it will support innovation and promote growth within the security elements of the transport and automotive sector.

The afternoon was concluded by Martin Green, Advanced Technology Planning Manager at Visteon Engineering Services who looked at the various ways the car connects to the consumer and the cloud and the future complexities of remaining connected. “What was a simple journey from A to B is now becoming a complex sequence of handovers, registering on different networks with the associated payment and privacy issues,” said Green.

For a copy of all presentation material:


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