On the 4th and 5th of September, Patent Attorneys Nikesh Patel, Marianne Privett and David Blair attended the co-hosted Cenex-LCV (Low Carbon Vehicle) and Cenex-CAM (Connected Automated Mobility) events at Millbrook Proving Ground. With visitor numbers increasing every year, the events are becoming increasingly popular as more and more researchers, businesses and representatives from local and national government take an interest in these technologies. Visitors ranged from George Freeman MP (Minister of State for Transport, Technology and Innovation, which includes the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV)) to Robert Llewellyn (Fully Charged presenter and Kryten on Red Dwarf) demonstrating the range of people committed to the future of electric and autonomous vehicles in the UK.
Having previously attended in 2018, it was interesting to see how the focus of the presentations and technology on display had changed. We found there was an increased focus on battery safety, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems, smart vehicle technology, and a greater range of alternative propulsion systems (e.g. hydrogen fuel cells and biomethanol) than there has been previously. There were also a greater range of vehicles on display with an increased focus on commercial vehicles such as buses, tractors, refuse vehicles and diggers.
The new Cenex-CAM event included an area dedicated to connected and autonomous vehicles with presentations on interesting innovations in the area of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). There were a number of exhibitors including Zenzic who revealed the UK Connected and Automated Mobility Roadmap to 2030. Updates were also provided on the trialling of CAVs. We were reminded by Clive Blacker from Map of Ag not to forget that CAVs also include agricultural vehicles which face their own challenges such as unmarked tracks and stray farm animals! It was pleasing to see there is a great deal of testing and development of CAVs taking place in the UK and that this has been facilitated by UK government investment.
The event also demonstrated the UK government’s continued investment in battery research with an announcement on the first day of Cenex-LCV by Neil Morris (CEO, Faraday Institution) of the Faraday Institution awarding £55 million to five UK-based consortia to conduct research in battery chemistries, systems and manufacturing methods. The Faraday Institution is funded by the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Faraday Battery Challenge, which aims to enable the production, use and recycling of batteries within the UK.
It will be interesting to see how low carbon and connected and autonomous vehicle technologies develop over the 12 months between now and the next Cenex-LCV and Cenex-CAM events in 2020. With the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) due to open in 2020, we look forward to presentations describing the projects they have started to work on.
If you’d like to discuss any of the topics in this article, or any other automotive related topics, you can contact either of the writers, or another member of the automotive team.