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UK government opens 'Imovation Centre' to make British transport smarter

Aims to reduce congestions and delays
Thu Jun 12 2014, 10:57

MILTON KEYNES: THE UK GOVERNMENT opened an innovation centre on Thursday to develop smart technologies for transport in Britain, which is "set to transform the movement of people and goods around the world".

Milton Keynes Imovation Centre Catapult outside

The Transport System Catapult (TSC) quango, a group established by the Technology Strategy Board, is launching the "Imovation Centre", which supposedly stands for "intelligent mobility and innovation", to help make transport smarter in the years ahead and generate £90bn per year for Blighty come 2025.

UK business secretary Vince Cable opened the centre in Milton Keynes on Thursday, claiming that it will support business growth in the UK to turn the country into "a global leader in Intelligent Mobility products and services", from driverless vehicles and improved airport data systems to integrated logistics, sentient mapping and smart traffic lights.

Milton Keynes Imovation Centre Catapult

The Imovation Centre will be a collaboration space, where innovators, entrepreneurs, research organisations and businesses will look to improve transportation of people and goods in the UK using the latest developments in information technology. It will also serve as a testing ground where new products can be trialed and demonstrated.

"This new innovation centre will ensure the UK is well placed to profit from the increased demand for high-tech transport solutions- creating jobs, supporting businesses, and driving economic growth," said Cable in a statement.

Milton Keynes Imovation Centre Catapult

Though it's not clear yet how, the government will ensure that the technologies being developed in the centre will change transport in the UK so that infrastructure is smart and connected, and delays and congestion are limited. We spoke to Catapult's CTO, who told us that the space will be used as a means to try and develop digital ticketing for trains, nationwide, in the near future as well as driverless cars. Just last week, plans were announced to alter the UK Highway Code in order to prepare for driveless vehicles.

"The Transport Systems Catapult will directly contribute £712m in economic value to the UK during its first five years [until 2018]," said the TSC in a statement.

The INQUIRER attended the launch event where a number of innovation projects are being demonstrated, including the LUTZ Pathfinder programme, which will see driverless pods being tested on the pavements of Milton Keynes. µ


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