i-Motors receives £1.3m from Innovate UK

We are excited to be able to share that i-Motors – a new Control F1-led telematics project – has been awarded a grant of £1.3M by Innovate UK.

We’ll be partnering with the University of Nottingham’s Geospatial Institute and Human Factors Research Group, traffic management specialists InfoHub Ltd, remote sensing experts Head Communications and telecoms gurus Huduma to deliver the project.

Picture a future without gridlock. A future in which our city streets, roads and highways are safer, cleaner and greener. In which vehicles can self-diagnose a fault and order a new component, or automatically detect a hazard such as ice on the road before it’s too late and warn other vehicles around them too. A future in which cars can drive themselves…

That future isn’t far away: it is predicted that the UK will see huge growth in the production of autonomous (driverless) cars by 2030. Meanwhile the production of connected cars – cars with inbuilt “telematics” devices, capable of communicating to other vehicles and machines – is forecast to rise from around 0.8 million in 2015 to 2 million in 2025, accounting for 95% of all cars produced in the UK.

Yet whilst the number of cars with the technology to connect is already rising, little progress has been made towards putting this technology to use.

i-Motors plans to address this issue. Capitalising on our extensive telematics experience (read about our telematics partnership with the RAC here), we plan to establish a set of universal standards on how vehicles communicate with each other, and with other machines. Making use of connected cars’ ability to support apps, we’ll be working with academics from Nottingham University’s Geospatial Institute and Human Factors Research Group to build a mobile platform that allows vehicles of different manufacturers and origins to transfer and store data.

We’ll use patented technology, allowing data to be collected and analysed at greater speeds than ever before. We’ll also be working alongside traffic management experts InfoHub Ltd to combine these data with other data sources such as weather reports, event data and traffic feeds, easing congestion and increasing safety through realtime updates and route planning. In addition, the i-Motors platform will allow vehicles to report errors, which can be automatically crosschecked against similar reports to diagnose the problem and reduce the chance of a breakdown.

We will also be working with Head Communications to address the issue of limited connectivity by developing sensors capable of transmitting data to the cloud in realtime. Through installing these sensors – known as Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) – vehicles can remain connected with sub-metre precision, even when out of internet and GPS range. And we will be collaborating with telecoms gurus Huduma to make i-Motors sustainable and commercially successful in the long term.

i-Motors has the backing of Nottingham, Coventry and Sheffield City Councils, where the new technology will first be piloted, and a letter of support from the Transport Systems and Satellite Applications Catapult, and fleet management experts Isotrak. The project will make use of live vehicle data provided by Ford, which has an ongoing relationship with the University of Nottingham.

Our MD Andy Dumbell commented:

“We are delighted to have been awarded the funding by Innovate UK to lead on this ground-breaking project. Connected and driverless cars offer us the opportunity to make huge strides in terms of reducing congestion, bringing down emissions, and even saving lives. Yet as is always the case when dealing with big data, it’s only effective if you know how to use it. We believe that through i-Motors we can set the standard for connected and autonomous vehicles and redefine the future of our streets, highways and cities.”