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New automotive tech challenge helps shape future of mobility

SMMT’s first ever Future Mobility Challenge drives future automotive innovation and mobility solutions

Nearly 50 exciting new players from the technology sector came together with five of the world’s leading motor industry brands today, in a major new cross-industry initiative to help shape the future of transport and mobility. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders‘ (SMMT) Future Mobility Challenge, held this year at Plexal Innovation Centre at Here East, is designed to drive cross-sector collaboration and could result in new partnerships, routes to market, investments and acquisitions between automotive companies and innovative technology start-ups and SMEs.

The 49 ambitious start-ups and SMEs were shortlisted from 94 Challenge entries and invited to pitch innovative mobility solutions to some of the biggest names in the automotive sector – BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Bosch, Ford and Toyota. From data solutions to digital applications for shared mobility, fleets and new subscription models, and from new cyber security solutions to AI in future vehicles, some of the innovations pitched today could one day redefine the future of mobility and, indeed, the automotive sector.

During the sessions, start-ups and SMEs pitched solutions to seven key innovation opportunities:

  1. Harnessing the potential of mobility data – creating customer value through, for example, seamless payments at fuel forecourts and chargepoints or integrated insurance services.
  2. Intelligent solutions for intelligent fleets – innovative solutions that go beyond existing telematics offerings, potentially helping operators to optimise fleets, reduce their environmental footprint or support drivers’ wellbeing.
  3. Urban mobility solutions for future cities – smart use of data to help tackle challenges such as congestion, parking and EV charging infrastructure constraints, or deliver integrated propositions to promote active mobility.
  4. Innovative shared and on-demand mobility models – solutions to identify and deliver new, flexible models of car ownership or sharing via a single platform to bring mobility to more people.
  5. Creating new and superior customer experiences in the age of hyper convenience – using augmented or virtual reality and remote services or blockchain solutions to deliver efficient business processes and premium and lifestyle customer propositions.
  6. New connected car services – unique solutions to unlock greater potential from connectivity such as location services, journey management or remote services including, for example, predictive maintenance.
  7. Future vehicle technologies – new solutions for everything from artificial intelligence and machine learning, to automated driving, glass and display technologies, audio, and battery management.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “SMMT’s first Future Mobility Challenge provides the perfect opportunity for automotive industry leaders and innovative technology SMEs to collaborate. From future vehicle technologies and innovative connected car services, to intelligent data tools and cyber security solutions, innovators from across the country are presenting technology advancements that could help shape the future the industry in the UK. The challenges facing the automotive sector are significant but exciting and it’s clear that innovation will be key. We want to encourage the brightest and the best to be part of that future, one that will define the future of mobility.”

Jesse Norman, Future of Mobility Minister, said, “We are on the cusp of an exciting and profound change in how people, goods and services move around the country. The UK can become a global leader in this coming transport revolution.

“That’s why the Future of Mobility is one of the Government’s four Industrial Strategy ‘Grand Challenges’. It seeks to change the way we think about transport in fundamental ways, to the economic, social and cultural benefit of the UK as a whole.”

During the event, SMMT launched a new membership option specifically designed for tech start-ups. The Associate Tech Start-up package is open to new companies offering a digital product or service, which do not currently operate in the automotive sphere.1 With access to a number of services including networking, profile raising, community access and business development, the new package will see SMMT support these new businesses, helping them grow when time and resources may be in short supply. Companies can find out more by emailing


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