8th March 2016

UNW client Control F1 leads £1.7m Innovate UK i-Motors project

A client of Newcastle-based business advisors UNW is to lead a £1.7 million project that aims to make the roads safer by driving forward the technology needed for the widespread adoption of autonomous cars.

Huddersfield digital technology specialist Control F1 is the leading partner in the ground-breaking i-Motors project to standardise the way connected and driverless vehicles talk to each other and other machines, as well as store and process data. The team has just secured £1.35 million from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) via Innovate UK to fund the research.

Control F1 and the project’s other partners, the University of Nottingham’s Geospatial Institute, Human Factors Research Group, traffic management specialists InfoHub Ltd, remote sensing experts Head Communications and telecoms firm Huduma, are also investing £750,000 in the project.

Driverless cars are forecast to be a major industry by 2030 and ‘connected cars’ – vehicles fitted with devices to communicate with other cars and equipment – already account for 0.8 million of the UK’s vehicles. That number is predicted to reach two million in the next 10 years.

The i-Motors project is seeking to put this technology to practical use, making roads safer and cutting congestion. At the heart of the initiative will be establishing a universal standard allowing different brands of vehicles to communicate with each other and other machines, and to transfer and store information.

Control F1, the Geospatial Institute and Human Factors Research Group are working to develop a mobile platform to share data and take on board information such as traffic, weather and events reports, which will improve road safety and ease traffic bottlenecks. The technology will be piloted in Nottingham, Coventry and Sheffield City Councils’ areas.

Control F1 managing director, Andy Dumbell, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the funding by Innovate UK to lead on this ground-breaking project.

“Connected and driverless cars offer us the opportunity to make huge strides in terms of reducing congestion, bringing down emissions, and even saving lives.

“Yet as is always the case when dealing with big data, it’s only effective if you know how to use it. We believe that through i-Motors we can set the standard for connected and autonomous vehicles and redefine the future of our streets, highways and cities.”

UNW has been working with Control F1 since mid-2014, advising on strategic development and tax issues.

Control F1 technical director, Carl Howarth, said: “We have undergone rapid growth since we have been engaged with UNW.

“They had the skills, expertise and connections to help us move the business along and it was a plus that we didn’t need to go to London to get the support we needed. We’ll be receiving on-going advice from UNW as we work on the i-Motors project.”

Paul Kaiser, who heads UNW’s corporate finance advisory team, attends Control F1’s board meetings and works closely with the company to plan its development.

He said: “It’s fantastic news that Control F1 has won Government money to lead the i-Motors project.

“The initiative will lay some of the groundwork for a future where autonomous cars are the norm. Research suggests around nine out of 10 accidents are caused by human error, and this important project will play a key role in eradicating mistakes on the road, reducing accidents and easing congestion in our cities.

“We look forward to continuing to build our relationship with Control F1 and supporting the company as it grows.”

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