Welcoming the world

There was international interest in the TSC this week as delegates from China and Saudi Arabia visited the Imovation Centre.

First up on Monday was a group from the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang who were in Milton Keynes to discuss smart city investment, construction and operation matters with members of Milton Keynes Council and the MK:Smart project.

Led by Li Min, the Chief Engineer of Zhejiang’s Economic & Information Technology Commission, the delegates were welcomed to the Imovation Centre by Transport Systems Catapult CEO Steve Yianni and Milton Keynes Council Chief Executive Carole Mills.

The visitors were then given a series of presentations on some of the high-tech activities being rolled out across Milton Keynes, including the planned “MotionMap” city-wide transport information service and the LUTZ Pathfinder driverless pods project being overseen by the TSC.

“We have seen lots of wonderful things here, and many things that tie in closely with what we are doing in Zhejiang to build smarter cities, so I think there will be plenty of opportunity for future collaboration,” said Mr Li as the visit drew to a close.

Saudi mission

Similar sentiments were expressed the following day when a group of officials from Saudi Arabia’s Public Transport Authority and Ministry of Transport visited the Catapult in the middle of a three-day learning mission to London, Milton Keynes and Nottingham.

Following a welcome and general introduction to the TSC’s activities by Steve Yianni, the visitors were given a tour of the Imovation Centre by Chief Business Development Officer Neil Ridley – before taking part in more detailed discussions on the LUTZ Pathfinder and Innovation in Rail Franchising projects.

The Zhejiang group are shown around the Imovation Centre

“We are a relatively new organisation, so we are very keen to see what we can learn and how we can collaborate with transport organisations here in the UK,” said Public Transport Authority President Abdulaziz A. Alohaly. “It has been really helpful in terms of identifying some of the new trends in Information Technology and Intelligent Transport Systems, and we’d be very interested in coming back here again to see some of the outputs from these innovation projects, and to look at possible collaborations between yourselves and our own research agencies.”

Steve Yianni was similarly upbeat as the delegates made their farewells.

“One of our core mandates at the Transport Systems Catapult is to increase the UK’s share of the global intelligent mobility market, and we can only do that if we take every opportunity to showcase British expertise and capabilities in this field,” Mr Yianni said. “Our successful launch event back in June has already done a great deal in terms of showing our UK stakeholders what we have to offer, but we also need to show the world – and the high-level visits that we’ve hosted this week are a great start.”

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