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18 May 2013


Tag(s): Business
Last month innovITS of which I have been Chairman for the past six years ceased operations and the company was
wound up. The Advance research facility at MIRA has been sold to MIRA and the proceeds were transferred to the
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The members of staff who support the Transport Knowledge Transport
Network have been engaged by Surtrans to continue that work. As one of its final acts innovITS commissioned an
independent report on the economic and environmental impacts of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and this was
launched at a press conference on 16th April at Traffex. innovITS wrote a final report to BIS updating its 5 year report
written at the end of the intended grant period in 2010 and then returned the final balances in its account.

Its mission was to help the United Kingdom become a leading centre of excellence in transport telematics for
sustainable mobility through recognition of innovITS as the UK gateway for industry expertise in the ITS field. It set out
to achieve this through analysis of UK and global ITS markets; through the creation of networks and the operation of
an exemplary website; through promotion of best practice; through co-ordination of collaborative projects; and through
high quality advice to British industry. innovITS has largely delivered on this mission and its Board has recognised that
the nation now has the capability to deliver further on that mission through other avenues:

innovITS was responsible for the ITS KTN and was active in helping establish the Transport KTN. That is now well
established and has a renewal of its activities for a further twelve months pending a review by the TSB of all its KTN
programme. innovITS hopes that the Transport KTN can continue its excellent progress working across most modes of
transport well beyond that.

innovITS was the right organisation to plan and build the Advance research facility on time and to budget. This is the
foremost research facility of its kind in the world with ground-breaking technology allowing the sophisticated  
development and testing of vehicle–to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. However, with its greater
commercial power MIRA is the right organisation to take on the role of commercialising Advance and ensuring its
success as a national asset.

innovITS has played a major part in making the case for a Transport Systems Catapult, one of seven national technology
and innovation centres announced by the Technology Strategy Board as an initiative to develop a UK version of the
successful German Fraunhofer model of developing market ready innovations from linking academic and other research
centres with industry. The announcement of the Transport Systems Catapult Centre by the Technology Strategy Board is
welcomed as an organisation with a similar yet wider mission with access to greater resources.  That is now going ahead
with the appointment of a high-profile Chairman and with significantly more funding than innovITS received.

innovITS was formed in response to a recommendation by the Automotive industry through the Automotive Innovation and
Growth Team. innovITS has made a significant contribution to the development of the strategic direction for Intelligent
Mobility.  The Automotive Industry through the Automotive Council has now adopted Intelligent Mobility as one of its five
sticky technologies which in a sense brings us full circle. This is seen as a critical turning point for the ITS technology and
industry.  These  developments strengthen and widen the existing work on Intelligent Mobility fostered by ITS(UK) and
other UK trade bodies.

innovITS was a company limited by guarantee. It was funded by a grant from BIS drawn down against matched
contributions in kind from British industry. Its members included ITS(UK), the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders
(SMMT), the Mobile Virtual Centre for Excellence (MVCE), the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA), the Transport
Research Laboratory (TRL),   Jaguar Land Rover, MAN, Ricardo, and Unipart, and in addition representatives from the
Department for Transport, BIS, the Highways Agency, Transport for London (TFL), the Greater Manchester Passenger
Transport Executive (GMPTE), the Railway Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), the Mobile Data Association (MDA),
Railway Industry Association (RIA), Warwick University Manufacturing Group, Orange, Logica and Image Sensing
Systems Europe served on its Council. Thus it was unique in the way in which it bridged more stakeholders in the
ITS agenda than other organisations.

Key highlights from the eight years of innovITS are:
  •  Live video theatre at the ITS World Congress 2006 in London which showcased ITS innovation around the UK.
  • The ITS Global Market Study published in 2008 which showed the industry potential within a comprehensive framework encompassing the whole of ITS. This was the first of its kind, was used by senior government ministers and is still in demand.
Innovative collaborative projects:
  • SENTIENCE: cruise control to deliver fuel savings within an electronic horizon. This is being marketed by a major engineering group and shows the potential for significant savings in fuel consumption.
  • CoDriver: route guidance including safety information
  • FacITS: a framework for multi organisation assessment of the safety aspects of Cooperative Vehicle Infrastructure Systems, based upon industry standards
  • Established and operated the ITS Knowledge Transfer Network in support of the Intelligent Transport Systems and Services Innovation Platform.  Then actively supported the Transport KTN that succeeded it.
  • ADVANCE; the intelligent centre for connecting Vehicles, Highways & Telecommunications; a dedicated facility for the private, safe and controllable  test and demonstration of CooperativeVehicle Infrastructure Systems
The operation of the ADVANCE facility has been transferred to MIRA.  This will assure continued success as MIRA will provide a natural home for this important industry resource within its comprehensive portfolio of test facilities and with its extensive experience of operating such facilities.

In recognition of a persisting debate in ITS for comprehensive and independent analysis of benefits, the final initiative from innovITS was to commission and publish an independent study on the Impact of Intelligent Mobility.  The study was produced by a Transport Economist from Oxford University to ensure independence from the industry.  The impact study provides a comprehensive analysis of information from around the World within a framework for objective analysis with specific cases studied in detail.  It is hoped that this study will form the basis for further work and a growing recognition, from an informed perspective, of the benefit of ITS and Intelligent Mobility. This is freely available from the ITS(UK) website

I have enjoyed my six years as Chairman of innovITS .  innovITS was formed in response to recommendations by the Automotive industry.  That has come full circle with the adoption by the Automotive Council of Intelligent Mobility as one of its ‘sticky technologies’.  innovITS has contributed to that and also to the successful running of the Transport KTN and the formation of the Transport Systems Catapult. With MIRA taking over ADVANCE the legacy is good.
Copyright David C Pearson 2013 All rights reserved

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