More than 2,000 of the UK’s leading innovators, business leaders and investors attended the two-day event in Manchester alongside the Innovate UK chief executive Dr Ruth McKernan and Keith Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
Innovate 2016, hosted by the Department for International Trade and Innovate UK, featured 25 new innovation launches by UK businesses. Amongst them was the Conigital Group, introducing the driverless revolution and the next generation of Autonomous Heathrow PODs addressing Mobility challenges such as congestion, emissions and air quality faced by cities and high traffic destinations like shopping centres and airports.
High traffic destinations such as Airports are growing on average at 5% each year and are actively seeking sustainable, environmentally friendly park and ride solutions to deal with the congestion. It’s also big business; last year Heathrow airport reported to made £108 million of revenues from car parking alone, an increase of over 8% on the previous year.
The existing Heathrow pod system became operational in 2013 and consists of 21 low energy, battery powered, driverless vehicles capable of carrying four passengers and their luggage along a 3.9km dedicated guideway between the Terminal 5 Business Car Park and Terminal 5. Passengers can board a pod at three pod stations, one at Terminal 5 and two at the Terminal 5 Business Car Park and select their chosen destination using a touch screen. The programmed vehicle immediately takes them directly to their destination. at speeds of up to 25mph (40kph), without the need for any frustrating or time consuming stops in between. Passengers arrive at their airline check-in or back to their vehicle more quickly and 95% of passengers wait for less than one minute for their private pod.
In the last 3 years the pods have:
* Transported 1.5 million passengers over 3 million kilometres; and
* Saved 70,000 bus journeys, the equivalent of 100 tonnes of CO2 a year.
Conigital alongside an all British consortium consisting of Heathrow Airport, Westfield Sports Cars, Fusion and Birmingham City University are all part of Project INSIGHT, a £2.2 million funded Innovate UK project to develop driverless shuttles with advanced sensors and to trial them in Birmingham with a particular focus on the environment, accessibility for the disabled, ageing and visually-impaired by building on the existing Heathrow POD and to make them fully autonomous and roadworthy.
The key drivers/benefits of this project will be relieving congestion, reducing environmental emissions and improving mobility for all citizens thus improving the economy and employment prospects. KPMG reports that by 2030, the connected driverless vehicle market in the UK alone will be worth £51 billion, create 320,000 jobs and prevent over 25,000 accidents. Globally they believe the market to be worth in excess of £900 Billion
Conigital had an enviable centre stage exhibition space at Innovate UK 2016 due to the continued support given to them from Climate KIC, an Innovate UK partner organisation that supports Cleantech and environmentally friendly organisations.
Aled Thomas, Climate KIC, Innovation Lead said:
“It’s great to see a Climate KIC supported accelerator company such as Conigital at a high profile event showcasing their products and technology to potential investors and partners on a Global scale. Conigital is a great example of how Climate KIC can support ambitious startups and SME’s across Europe with funding, mentorship and high profile showcase opportunities such as Innovate UK 2016.”
Jay Gohil – Business Advisor for Enterprise Europe Network in the Midlands said:
“It is fantastic to see Conigital come so far in such a short space of time. EEN is thrilled to be working with such an ambitious, energetic and focussed team who have benefitted from our brokerage service and access to finance from our network
Monique Seth, CEO, Conigital said:
“Last year we were invited to innovate as keynote speakers by EEN Midlands as an ambitious start up in the IoT, Sensor field, who they were supporting to help broker new partnerships and source funding opportunities.
This year we are part of an amazing £2.2 million project working with world class partners developing the next generation of Heathrow PODS to become truly autonomous vehicles in our cities.
It’s amazing what we have achieved and we could not have done this without the support we have received from our partners and government support agencies such as Climate KIC, EEN, Innovation Birmingham, Warwick Science Park and of course Innovate UK.”