Synergy Partners

Westfield Sportscars

Westfield is the second largest, British owned, Niche Vehicle Manufacturer with over 15,000 vehicles in the field. The company is based in the heart of the Automotive Industry in the Midlands and is proud to support a 99% British Supply Chain. Westfield are the current Guinness World Record Holders (since 2011) for the most reliable production vehicle for reliability, conducting over 3 hours of performance tests without stopping under a 4G force load. Westfield has a 14-person strong design team, a 20,000ft2 facility for prototyping, engineering and manufacturing of vehicles and components. Westfield, the first Niche Manufacturer, were awarded European Small Series Type Approval in 2007 which is equivalent to ISO 9001 for both the vehicles and premises. Westfield has experience in ICE, hybrid and pure electric road and off road vehicles.  The experience gained in these vehicles can effectively support the project.  Westfield has experience of multiple controller systems (through the Westfield autonomous POD, the Sport E vehicle and all electric IRACER). Westfield is involved as the vehicle designer, manufacturer and integrator of the autonomous fleet management software and Hail system (Similar to Uber) for the Westfield POD being trialled at the O2 Arena with a pure electric powertrain.

Conigital Limited

Conigital Group is a pioneering Connected Autonomous Vehicle sensor and data fusion software development company. Conigital’s primary goal is to create a ‘Transport as a Solution’ service that is accessible to the visually impaired and the elderly and allow them to way find across multi-modal forms of transport. Conigital’s technology will be embedded in the vehicle and along with terrain information of a designated journey to provide a truly connected pathway through which an autonomous vehicle will travel and provide real-time updates to the passenger and transport provider about the journey. Key components of the Conigital System include wireless infrastructure hardware for advanced real-time localisation & positioning engines, system management tools, application software supporting WiFi enabled tags, Bluetooth beacons, GPS, Near Field Communications (“NFC”) and Radio Frequency Identifier (“RFID”) tags and satellite based GPS technology. Further, we are developing innovative new interfaces for the visually impaired augmented reality engines that enhance and accentuate shapes, bodies and objects on smart devices that provide tactile and visual feedback of the immediate topology, braille and textual information. Conigital have already gained significant traction by securing funding through Innovate UK to apply their technology to the Heathrow shuttle. As part of a consortium the £2.2million INSIGHT project is to design to develop the Heathrow shuttle into a fully autonomous vehicle.

Heathrow Enterprises   

Heathrow operates Heathrow airport, the UK’s largest and busiest airport that serves in excess of 70 million passengers annually, employing over 16,000 people. Company revenues are in excess of £2.6 billion per year, and the company has invested over £10 billion in the airport over the past 10 years, in particular to build two new terminals, T5 and more recently T2. Heathrow Pod provides transport between a car park and the terminal, replacing a shuttle bus service with autonomous, zero on site emission transport. Full public operation of Heathrow pod started in 2011, and over the last 4 years over 1.5 million passengers have used the system and the 21 vehicles have completed over 3 million km of driverless operation. Heathrow invested in the product leading to taking over operation of the Heathrow pod in 2015 Heathrow pod has a proven track record in designing, developing, implementing and operating autonomous vehicles. This expertise can be exploited in this project by building on a proven vehicle design that is DDA compliant, and has demonstrated high levels of reliability in its use at Heathrow airport.   Vehicle development for the pod system started in 2000, using a UK government Innovative Transport contract for the design and development of a prototype vehicle. By 2003 this had been approved for public use at the test track located in Cardiff.

Heathrow can utilize its in house expertise in vehicle control software, mechanical and electrical design, and autonomous vehicle testing and safety case development to deliver the required adaptations to the vehicle, and support the project partners.

Manchester Airport Group plc

M.A.G currently serves over 48 million passengers through its ownership and operation of Manchester, London Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports. M.A.G is privately managed on behalf of its shareholders with IFM Investors owning 35.5%, Manchester City Council also 35.5%, and the 9 Greater Manchester Councils of Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan owning the remaining 29%.  M.A.G’s overall strategic intent is to increase long term shareholder value by generating profitable growth, developing its assets and deploying efficient and customer focused operating processes throughout the business by achieving this ambition, MAG aims to become the premier airport management and services company.  M.A.G also includes the commercial property company, M.A.G Property, which has over £600m of property assets across the four airports and is leading the £800m major Enterprise Zone development, Airport City, at Manchester.

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

The Metropolitan Borough of Stockport is a metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester in North West England. As well as the town of Stockport, it includes the outlying areas of Cheadle, Cheadle Hulme, Marple, Bredbury, Reddish, Woodley and Romiley. Situated between the Peak District, the Cheshire Plain and the UK’s fastest growing city, Stockport is one of the most attractive places to live in Greater Manchester. The Council is the primary custodian of and the main advocate for Stockport. Stockport is one of the most successful local economies in Greater Manchester, with 125,000 people working in 11,000 businesses and more than two million people living within a 30-minute drive time. The Borough benefits from exceptional transport links; the M60 motorway, the West Coast Mainline, and Manchester Airport all of which are easily accessible from all parts of the Borough and provide Stockport with local, national, and international transport connections. The Council wants to create an environment that attracts businesses to invest in the Borough. This requires the right infrastructure, the right policies to manage the environment and strong partnership working with business leaders.  To achieve this means making the right investment choices across the Borough and ensuring our local transport infrastructure enables people to get to work, access services, local facilities and each other.

Manchester City Council

Home to over 520,000 people, including one of the biggest student populations in Europe, Manchester is the largest of the ten Greater Manchester local authorities, with an economy that is second in the UK only to London. Manchester City Council’s role is vital in meeting the needs of our residents, securing the future of our communities and embracing the vibrant cultural mix to which the city is home. In 2016 the new Manchester Strategy was adopted as part of the council’s formal policy framework. The strategy has a vision of Manchester as a world class city. It proposes that Manchester in 2025 will be a well-connected city with a competitive sustainable economy, with highly skilled, enterprising and industrious people, where individuals from all backgrounds can feel safe, aspire, succeed and live well, in neighbourhoods that are green, clean, attractive, and culturally rich. Manchester City Council has joined this project as a partner as it will make an important contribution to a number of our strategic objectives. It will help to reduce the congestion, air quality and climate change impact of Manchester Airport and deliver a novel and improved passenger experience, helping to boost Manchester’s reputation as a leader in technology and transport innovation. The scheme could help to solve some of the connectivity issues in the area, between public transport interchanges, airport terminals and employment destinations, with a long-term potential to ease congestion and emissions issues around the site. Furthermore, the project will provide Manchester with useful learning on how we can accommodate autonomous vehicles on our road network in future.

Transport for Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is the transport authority for Greater Manchester (GM).  Supported by the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee (TfGMC), a joint committee of the GMCA and the ten constituent district authorities, its transport policies are delivered by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM). TfGM manage the franchise for the Metrolink tram system and are developing the proposition for re- regulating the bus market in Greater Manchester (GM). TfGM already manage all bus interchanges in GM, and as part of city devolution, will also aim to be responsible for local rail stations. On highways, TfGM are responsible for the Key Route Network, working in collaboration with the 10 District Highways Authorities of GM and Highways England to maintain an efficient and resilient highways network. City Devolution will also see the appointment of an elected mayor for GM in Spring 2017. In line with the recently published draft 2040 Transport Strategy, TfGM are dedicated to developing an innovative city region, and this includes utilising new technologies and innovations that add real value to the customer experience, improve overall connectivity for passengers, and integrate services across modes and sectors.

Cisco

Cisco enables people to make powerful connections-whether in business, education, philanthropy, or creativity. Cisco hardware, software, and service offerings are used to create the  Internet  solutions  that  make  networks  possible-providing  easy  access  to  information anywhere,  at  any  time.  Since the company’s inception in 1984 by a small group of computer scientists from Stanford University, Cisco engineers have been leaders in the development of Internet Protocol (IP)-based networking technologies. Today, with more  than  70,000  employees  worldwide,  this  tradition  of  innovation  continues  with  industry-leading  products  and  solutions  in  the  company’s  core  development  areas  of  routing  and switching, as well as in advanced technologies. Successful  delivery  of  ongoing  Innovate  UK-funded  CR&D  projects  has  increased  Cisco’s global corporate development investment in the UK. Cisco CREATE, Cisco UK’s Innovation and  Industrial  Research  Team,  has  secured  funding  for  projects  to  the  value  of  $32m  for Cisco and its business, SME and research partners. It has increased Cisco’s employment of UK talent, creating 4 additional jobs for each Cisco employee in the team. It is part of Cisco’s $1bn commitment to accelerating the digitization of the UK over the next five years. Andy Manuel, Chief Solutions Architect for Transportation, in Cisco’s Internet of Things solution group.  His  responsibilities  include  defining  the  architectures  in  Rail,  Roadways, Aviation,  Ports,  Mass  Transit,  Fleet,  Public  Safety  and Smart  Connected  Vehicle.  He  is  the lead  architect  for  Cisco’s  Connected  Car  practice,  with  a  focus  on  V2X  connectivity  and security.

Beacon Centre for the Blind

Beacon Centre for the Blind, based in Sedgley, helps people of all ages with sight loss live fuller and more independent lives. They offer a mix of residential, day care and community services, and are the only organisation in the Black Country offering a full range of services to both children and adults. They currently help over 3,000 people, approximately 60 percent of whom have an additional disability. Three years ago, a new centre was built which includes Beacon Court. It provides extra care accommodation and is run in partnership with Bromford Housing. There are 71 two-bedroom apartments, a restaurant, cafe bar, hairdressers, shop, treatment room and sensory garden. Beacon Centre itself houses craft rooms, social rooms, a gym and recreation room, and an advice and equipment room.

As well as the Beacon Centre, they run community outreach services, including the Activeyes project that helps people to take part in sporting and other recreational activities. They have a Beacon Centre allotment, which was set up with help from lottery funding, and is run by Beacon Centre clients. It gives them experience in project management and allows them to undertake accredited training and gain experience in horticulture. They also have a Beacon Centre Goalball team which is going from strength to strength and they are now competing in competitions at national level.

Harper Adams University

Harper Adams University is a public university located close to the village of Edgmond, in Shropshire, England. It is a specialist provider of higher education for the agricultural and rural sector. Harper Adams currently has more than 4,000 students, with about 2,600 students on undergraduate and postgraduate awards, a number which is growing year on year. Undergraduate courses are offered via five academic departments: Animal Production, Welfare and Veterinary Sciences Crops and Environment Science Engineering Food Science and Agri-Food Supply Chain Management Land, Farm and Agri-Business Management The University also offers a range of masters’ courses (MSc, MEng and MBA) and research opportunities at PhD and post-doctoral levels, as well as work-based learning opportunities. The high quality of teaching, learning resources, and personal and career development opportunities offered at Harper Adams University led to it achieving the sixth highest score in the country for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2014. The Engineering Department is staffed by academics, technicians and visiting lecturers who are focussed on teaching and researching the design, development and testing of off-highway vehicles, agricultural vehicles and agricultural machinery. Our academic staff are professional engineers with expertise across a range of specialisms including autonomous systems, robotics, mechatronics in agriculture and off-highway vehicles, off-highway vehicle stability control systems and mobility, automotive engineering, production line optimization, agricultural chemical application, CAD and 3D modelling. In a world-first, members of Harper Adams University engineering staff, supported and led by precision farming specialist Precision Decisions Ltd, are attempting to grow and harvest a hectare of cereal crops; all without stepping a foot into the field using autonomous drones and tractors.

Manchester Metropolitan University

MMU is one of the largest universities in the UK with 65% of research outputs graded ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in 2014. MMU are partners on the Triangulum project and the CityVerve project in Manchester. MMU staff have worked with NASA, MIT, Aardman studios, with work profiled in The Venice Biennale, MOMA, The Guardian and Hexagram. Industry partners include ARUP, Siemens, Optos, Jaguar Landrover, Amazon EC2, Optos, Abellio, Bruntwood, Virgin, Bentley and funding bodies include The National Treasury,  Nuffield Foundation, the NHS, Horizon 2020, Innovate UK and RCUK.  MSA: Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) is an innovative collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and The University of Manchester (UoM), uniting two schools of architecture with over 100 years of educational experience to create one of the largest architecture schools in the UK. The research proposed by MMU/MSA will be undertaken within the Centre for Complexity Planning & Urbanism at the Manchester School of Architecture (MMU). Researchers in CPU are also founding members of the International (Japan, China, Brazil & UK) DACAS Strategic Network.

The University of Salford

The University of Salford is regarded as one of the UK’s leading enterprise universities, due to links with industry, commerce and local communities. With 20,000 students, including over 3,500 students from more than 130 countries we are the fastest growing university in the North West. With our roots in the 19thCentury Royal Technical Institute of Salford, its researchers thrive on encouraging innovation, embedding entrepreneurship into the whole curriculum and delivering knowledge transfer by close collaboration with external stakeholders. The University received three prestigious Times Higher Education Awards, including Outstanding Contribution to Innovation & Technology (2014) and Research Project of the Year (2016).

The Research Centre for Autonomous Systems and Advanced Robotics (ASAR) has 30 years of internationally recognised research excellence in Robotics and Automation and has been at the forefront of UK strategic developments (supported by BEIS, DEFRA, UKRI/EPSRC, EU). It was selected as the site of the UK’s National Advanced Robotics Research Centre in 1987. ASAR hosted the National Advanced Robotics Research Centre, two EPSRC Networks in robotics and food automation and a Centre in Food Automation. We are a spoke for the EPSRC FAIR-SPACE hub in robotics and artificial intelligence (RAI) for extreme environments and host the Industrial National Robotics Network (NRN) (part of the InnovateUK RAS-SIG KTN). Since 2014, ASAR has secured over £5M of external funding for cognitive robotics, robot/machine design, dexterous end effectors, biologically inspired robots, exoskeleton and autonomous systems. We have pioneered the field of soft robotics since the early 1990s and have been among the first to pursue embodied Intelligence and self-healing soft actuators & sensors in basic research and its applications in important application areas including the food, aerospace, manufacturing, nuclear sectors, inspection & maintenance. ASAR has delivered large scale innovation projects involving industrial partners. Prototypes have been provided nationally and internationally including for USAF, NASA, BNFL and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Sellafield. Within the synergy project, the ASAR are leading the development of AV control systems for both Master and Slave vehicles in the platoon, including Big data processing and real time control system, data fusion for collision avoidance and lane detection.