The future of autonomous public transport in the UK

11 June 2017  •  Author(s): Dr Amir Soltani, Head of the Automotive Mechatronic Lab within the Advanced Vehicle Engineering Centre at the UK’s Cranfield University

The Automotive industry is on the verge of one of the most disruptive changes since its first introduction about 100 years ago. The synergetic effect of four technology enablers, so-called: Electrification, Smartness, Autonomy and Connectivity, are going to change transportation systems forever. By most estimates, fully autonomous vehicles are to be commercially available within the next 10 years. Today’s ‘intelligent mobility’ market is worth approximately US$30 billion which is projected to rise to US$1.5 trillion by 2030E1. These techno-economical changes will transform the mobility sector into a connected, intelligent, customised and shared environment and will have huge implications on the market and also social aspects of public transportation. Dr Amir Soltani, Head of the Automotive Mechatronic Lab within the Advanced Vehicle Engineering Centre at the UK’s Cranfield University, explores further.

According to SMMT, Electrified Connected & Autonomous Vehicle (ECAV) technologies will provide enormous socio-economic benefits in the UK, which is predicted to be worth around £51 billion per year by 2030, creating more than 320,000 jobs, the majority outside automotive manufacturing, and about 25,000 serious accidents could be prevented. The remarkable socio-economic and environmental implications of ECAVs have been acknowledged by industrial policy makers, public organisations, automotive companies, research centres, and universities across the UK. As a result, a significant amount of public and private funds have been allocated for research, design and development projects of ECAVs and Intelligent Transportation systems in recent years and it is expected that this figure will continue to grow in the future.

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