Celebrating CAM technology: How the UK can maintain momentum?

Lord Greenstone answers questions from APPG event Chair Baroness Randerson

Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) provides a unique opportunity to make our transport systems safer, cleaner, more efficient and more user-friendly. CAM technology is a real success story for the UK, and according to the Connected Places Catapult, the UK market will be worth £41.7 billion and could employ up to 49,000 by 2035[1]. The KPMG 2020 Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index[2] recognises the UK as a global leader on testing and trialling CAM technology, largely due to the £400 million co-invested by Government and industry in recent years. The ongoing commitment of Government to initiatives such as the Law Commission’s review into UK regulations to support the embedding of a new regulatory and legal framework, will be essential to the success of the sector over the coming years.

So, how can the UK maintain this momentum and ensure it reaps the potentially huge economic rewards? This was the question posed at the third session of the CAM APPG where Minister for Investment, Lord Grimstone of Boscobel Kt, gave a keynote speech. AXA UK and Burges Salmon built on the support received from industry and politicians following the launch of the APPG in January 2021, by inviting the Minister to speak to mark the closure of the Government’s call for evidence on ‘the future of connected and automated mobility in the UK’.

APPG Officer and Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Baroness Randerson, who chaired the event, welcomed over 60 virtual attendees to the meeting and highlighted the important work the APPG is doing to facilitate continued collaboration to bring Parliament and industry closer together. Lord Grimstone provided an overview of how Government, industry and academia can best collaborate to support the CAM sector and pointed to the considerable progress that has been made by the sector since the last consultation six years ago. He championed the role Government has played to push ahead with establishing a suitable and clear legal and regulatory framework to support the industry. The Minister concluded by outlining what his department saw as opportunities for greater commercialisation and how the wider CAM sector can support Government targets around Net-Zero and ‘levelling up’.

The Minister outlined the support Government has already given to the sector, helping over 90 projects since 2015, over 200 organisations and delivered £400mn in investment which brings together 28 cross sectors partners, across 6 inter-operable facilities. Any slowing of investment now will result in the UK importing this technology as a tech taker rather than a tech maker. The Minister highlighted that it only takes a small amount of Government investment to “de-risk” industrial investment.

The Minister was questioned by attendees on a number of areas, ranging from the safety critical nature of CAM technology and its connected infrastructure to the outcome of the upcoming Law Commission’s regulatory review. He committed that the UK would continue with a regulatory environment to support safe deployment of CAM and that it will be a strong feature of the consultation and the subsequent Government response. Lord Grimstone closed his remarks by thanking Parliamentarians for the increased engagement on this issue which “will help develop a strong UK CAM sector” with increased investment and jobs of the future.

Following the Minister’s speech, the Group was also joined by two expert speakers, who provided invaluable insight from industry and local Government and demonstrated CAM success stories in the UK. They were:

  • Alex Charr, Global Growth Business Development Manager at ARRIVAL
  • Chris Lane, Head of Transport Innovation at Transport for West Midlands

To celebrate their achievements in CAM, the expert panel delivered two presentations to the APPG. The first, led by Alex Charr, introduced the Group to ARRIVAL, a world-leader in the mobility sector who deliver a range of technology and infrastructure led solutions to electric vehicles, including the charging infrastructure, a fleet management system and connectivity solutions. ARRIVAL, in partnership with CCAV, is the lead partner on the pioneering Robopilot project, which is demonstrating the use of an autonomous system for commercial courier vehicles. Chris Lane outlined the wider eco-system for CAM technology in the West Midlands and highlighted the growing role CCAV-funded test beds were having in the region. Attendees were invited to pose questions to the speakers throughout the event, with most chiming with what the Law Commission is consulting on around safe deployment.  

Next steps

The APPG meeting celebrated the progress that has been made thus far by the UK CAM sector. Underpinning this must be a legal and regulatory framework that is fit and ready for purpose. The Group will be informed by and will build upon the world-leading work currently being undertaken by the Law Commission of England & Wales and the Scottish Law Commission as part of their three-year review of automated vehicles. It is important for Parliament to continue to engage with Government ahead of it publishing its response to the CAM consultation, making the case for the importance of industry and Government collaboration to maintain the UK’s momentum on CAM. These are transport innovations that can provide clear societal benefits for the UK road network, and Government, road safety agencies, charities and the relevant industry stakeholders must engage in open and collaborative dialogue to build public confidence and deliver a sustainable model for CAM in the future.

The CAM APPG will be hosting its next session in due course. If you are interested in CAM, have any questions, or would like to join our subscription list for event invites and updates, contact us at appgcam@cicero-group.com.

[1] Connected Places Catapult ‘Market Summary for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles’ available here.

[2] The KPMG 2020 ‘Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index’ available here.

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