Self-driving pods shortlisted for SMMT award

The Transport Systems Catapult’s self-driving pods project has been included on the shortlist for this year’s SMMT Automotive Award for Innovation.

The LUTZ Pathfinder project, which will trial three electric-powered self-driving “pods” in pedestrianised areas of Milton Keynes, has been shortlisted alongside four other contenders – with the winner due to be announced at London’s Grosvenor house on November 24th.

Now in its sixth year, the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) sets out to demonstrate the “wealth of talent that exists within the UK automotive sector”, with previous winners having included Jaguar Land Rover’s low-carbon Range_e vehicle, the Optare Versa EV electric bus and Ford’s EcoBoost engine.

Overseen by the Transport Systems Catapult on behalf of the UK Automotive Council, LUTZ Pathfinder is a collaborative project involving Coventry-based manufacturers RDM, the University of Oxford’s Mobile Robotics Group (MRG) and Milton Keynes Council.

“It is great news that the LUTZ Pathfinder project has been shortlisted for this award in particular, because it really is a fantastic example of UK innovation,” Transport Systems Catapult CEO Steve Yianni said on Tuesday, following the publication of the SMMT shortlist.

“We have combined cutting-edge British design and manufacturing, in the form of RDM, with the world-leading control system technology of Oxford’s MRG and are now working with Milton Keynes’ forward-thinking council to take self-driving vehicles out of the laboratory and into the real world.”

The project’s first base vehicle was presented to the Milton Keynes public outside the town’s main train station last month, and is now in Oxford, being fitted with its autonomous control system.

For more on LUTZ Pathfinder, please see our project page. Further details on the SMMT Automotive Award for Innovation can be found here.

SMMT Automotive Award for Innovation nominations:

Transport Systems Catapult: LUTZ Pathfinder pods

ZeroLight: Digital 3D car configurator

Evolute Drives: Msys Transmission

Oxford Advanced Surfaces: Onto adhesion

Leyland Trucks: Future truck chassis concept    

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