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July's newsletter
20 Jul 2017:

July's newsletter is out now and available here: This issue contains important information about TRIP's integration into the Transport Research and Innovation Monitoring and Information System (TRIMIS) this autumn.

Electric vehicle-to-grid technologies: apply for business funding
11 Jul 2017:

Businesses can apply for a share of up to £20 million for innovative projects that support electric vehicles to work smartly with the grid.

Up to £20 million is available from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy - working with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK - to fund projects that investigate new business models, consumer awareness and technologies that support interaction between electric vehicles and the grid.

So-called vehicle-to-grid technologies are expected to play a big part in making the UK’s electricity supply network smarter and in encouraging take-up.

Vehicles that can take electricity from the grid when demand is low and return it when demand is high could help to even out peaks and troughs and make the grid more efficient.

The UK government wants nearly all cars to be zero emission by 2050, and it sees a smarter and more flexible electricity system as a major benefit to consumers and a key to future growth.

Project information

There are competitions for feasibility studies, collaborative research and development, and real-world demonstrators.

Projects are sought in:

  • business models, technology and service standards

  • understanding user acceptance and consumer engagement

  • on- and off-vehicle hardware, including bi-directional chargers, battery hardware and software, and cyber security

  • trials of different products and services in different scenarios

Larger projects are expected to include a variety of partners including from the automotive, energy and infrastructure sectors. All projects must be led by a business working with other businesses or research partners.

Find out more about our work in manufacturing and materials.

Feasibility studies

  • the competition is open and the deadline for applications is midday 18 October 2017

  • up to £2 million is available for feasibility studies

  • feasibility projects should last 12 months and range in size from total costs of £125,000 up to £225,000

  • businesses could attract up to 70% of their total costs

Find out more about the competition for feasibility studies and apply.

Collaborative research and development

  • the competition is open and the deadline for applications is midday 18 October 2017

  • up to £4 million is available for collaborative research and development

  • collaborative research and development projects should last between 18 months and 3 years and range in size from total costs of £375,000 to £1.5 million

  • businesses could attract up to 70% of their total costs

Find out more about the competition for collaborative research and development and apply.

Real-world demonstrators

  • the competition is open and the deadline for applications is midday 18 October 2017

  • up to £14 million is available for demonstrator trials in real-world environments at scale

  • demonstrator projects should last up to 3 years and project size should range from £1.5 million to £7 million

  • businesses could attract up to 70% of their total costs for technical feasibility studies and industrial research, or up to 45% for experimental development projects that are nearer to market

Find out more about the competition for demonstrator projects and apply.

IEA calls for ‘efficiency’ policies for freight transport
05 Jul 2017:

Improving the efficiency of road-freight transport is ‘crucial’ for efforts to tackle air pollution, a report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) today (3 July) has claimed.

The report ‘The Future of Trucks: Implications for energy and the environment’ claims that trucks are a major contributor to the growth in transport-fuel consumption, as well as rising carbon dioxide and air pollutant emissions.

However, IEA has claimed that the freight sector gets ‘far less’ attention and policy focus than passenger vehicles.

Commenting on the report, IEA executive director Dr Fatih Birol, said: “For far too long there has been a lack of policy focus on truck fuel efficiency. Given they are now the dominant driver of global oil demand, the issue can no longer be ignored if we are to meet our energy and environmental objectives. Our study highlights the gains that are possible from tighter truck fuel efficiency standards and sets out other cost-effective steps to modernise freight transport.”


Within the report, highlights three areas for improvement within the freight sector.

This includes improving logistics and systems operations in order to be more efficient. Examples include near-term opportunities like using Global Positioning System to optimise truck routing, as well as real-time feedback devices that monitor the on-road fuel economy of trucks.

IEA also claims that energy-efficiency improvements for the existing fleet should include aerodynamic retrofits to reduce drag as well as low-rolling resistance tires. New trucks can use additional technologies that cut idling, use lightweight materials and take advantage of improvements to truck engines, transmissions and drivetrains, the organisation claims.

Achieving stronger cuts in fuel use, carbon dioxide and pollutant emissions requires the use of hybrids and zero emission trucks, it adds.

Finally, IEA suggests that using alternative fuels such as natural gas, biofuels, electricity and hydrogen can diversify fuel supply away from oil and also help reduce carbon emissions, especially if produced from low-carbon pathways.

Efforts to tackle emissions from the UK’s freight sector were highlighted at the LowCVP Conference ‘Cities in Motion: Tackling the Climate and Pollution Challenge’ in London last week (see story).

During the conference, Vicky Edmonds, deputy director for environmental strategy at the Department for Transport (DfT) told delegates that the government is looking at how it can work with the commercial sector to reduce vehicle emissions.

Every new Volvo car to have an electric engine by 2019
05 Jul 2017:

Swedish car manufacturer Volvo has announced its plans to become the first traditional automotive company to completely transition from internal combustion engines to electric engines by 2019. 

The announcement came on Wednesday 5 July, and will see all new Volvo cars be either fully electric, plug-in hybrid, or a "mild hybrid".

The company said the announcement marks “the historic end” of cars solely powered by petrol or diesel and “places electrification at the core of its future business”.

Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive, said in a statement: "This is about the customer. People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers' current and future needs.”

The Swedish car manufacturer first announced its commitment to electrifying its products back in 2015.

Earlier this year, Volvo announced the launch of its first all-electric vehicle is coming in 2019 with battery packs up to 100 kilowatt hours (kWh).

The pure-electric model will have a 100 kWh battery pack with an estimated 300 miles of range – depending on the vehicle’s efficiency.

The automotive company – which was bought by Chinese carmaker Geely in 2010 – said it would also launch five fully electric models between 2019 and 2021.

“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Mr Samuelsson. “We have said we plan to have sold a total of 1m electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.”

Volvo has also promised to lobby for more charging infrastructure and educating consumers on the benefits of the technology, in order to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs).

Across Europe registrations for new EVs grew 38 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), and now constitute 3.2 per cent of the European market.

In the U.S. EV sales grew by 49 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Transport safety stakeholder workshop
15 Jun 2017:

TRIP is organising its sixth one-day stakeholder workshop which will take place in Brussels on Wednesday 28 June 2017.  The workshop is aimed at senior researchers and consultants, policy makers, planners and other stakeholders with an interest in the future of transport safety.  Attendees will learn about the progress in transport safety research and how findings can be used to guide the development of future transport safety. Participants will also have the opportunity to influence TRIP's recommendations for future policy development.

 More information 

Small-scale Doppler effect to help cyclists stay safe
13 Jun 2017:

An extremely sensitive radar that can detect when different parts of people’s bodies are moving at different speeds could help drivers avoid collisions with vulnerable road users such as cyclists.

Bicycles haven't changed much in function since Karl Drais took the first ride 200 years ago in Germany, but while cyclists once only contended with horse-drawn buggies, modern city traffic leaves them more vulnerable than ever.

That’s why researchers are looking at how to make cars smarter to help drivers avoid vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians.

‘The city has to be for pedestrians,’ said Andres Aparicio, senior manager for ADAS and connected and automated vehicles at the Spanish engineering group IDIADA. ‘Step by step the car needs to go out of the city.’

Until that happens, he is working with large automotive manufacturers like Audi, BMW, Daimler, Toyota, Volvo, Bosch, and Continental to develop prototype vehicles with automated systems that can help drivers avoid collisions.

Aparicio runs an EU-funded research project called PROSPECT which has developed a sophisticated radar and car-mounted camera system that can provide advance detection of cyclists and pedestrians at intersections – from up to 80 metres away. And it's not just a blip on a screen.

‘These are long-range high-resolution radar systems that are able to detect a shape or an object ... it can detect the shape of the legs of a pedestrian or the square shape of a car,’ he said.

The PROSPECT researchers are also using camera motion recognition and micro-Doppler effects from radar. The Doppler effect, the change in frequency of sound, light, or other waves from an object as it approaches a target, can be used to measure its speed. Micro-Doppler has an even tighter focus, and detects varying speeds of various parts of one object.

Predicting intent

‘Different parts of the body moving at a different speeds, that helps predict pedestrian intent. If you are about to start walking or running, we can predict it,’ said Aparicio.

Such judgements are made without a second thought by human drivers, but are harder for a machine. By using micro-Doppler, the system is better able to pick up subtle movement cues we take for granted.

‘The cars are sensing not only cyclists that may be crossing, but also parked cars and walkers on the side of the road as well,’ said Aparicio.

It's important that the system is not too sensitive though, or else the car would be overreacting to the stimuli for a busy urban environment.

t is therefore designed to provide drivers with a warning from metres away, but the collision avoidance only kicks in at the last second, choosing the best option, to steer around or to brake, to stop a crash.

Even though fully automated cars are on the way, the city is still the most complicated scenario and the hardest for vehicles to perform in, Aparicio explained.

‘Full automation will first come in comfortable situations like highways, where cars are all going the same speed and things are more predictable.’


In the meantime, systems like these may be the last line of defence to protect vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists. While motorist deaths are on the decline in Europe, fatalities from two-wheeled vehicles, bicycles and motorcycles, remain stubbornly high. 

Cyclists account for a stable or growing share of people injured in traffic accidents, with a rate 7-9 times higher than car travel, according to researchers.

Professor Luca Pietrantoni from the University of Bologna in Italy runs the EU-funded XCYCLE project, which has analysed hundreds of accidents between cyclists and cars to try and look for ways to cut down the numbers.

A common problem with cyclists is the crossing of junctions on red signals, so to cut back on this the team has tested a new system of timed green lights known as a green wave.

They are programmed so that if cyclists ride at a speed of 20 kilometres per hour, they will hit green lights all the way through their journey. The system is designed to coincide with cyclists flowing into city in the mornings and out in the afternoons.

‘The system increases the comfort and safety of cyclists,’ Prof. Pietrantoni said.

‘This green wave strategy will be launched this summer in the bike-friendly city of Groningen in the Netherlands for user behavioural evaluation purposes,’ said Prof. Pietrantoni.

Researchers on the project are also developing new systems for motorised vehicles, such as audio and visual warnings for lorry drivers that can help prevent one of the most common accidents – hitting cyclists when lorries turn across bike lanes.

‘For example, a bicycle bell that rings as an auditory reminder to truck drivers to avoid a collision,’ said Prof. Pietrantoni.

Kitting out bikes, especially electric bikes, with better avoidance systems could also help.

‘Most of the on-bike systems available in the market give information to the cyclist about the route, but it’s relatively uncommon to find a safety-related on-bike system,’ said Prof. Pietrantoni.

The team was specifically interested in trying to understand the risk of a crash at an intersection. In a controlled area in Italy they tested a safety system installed on the handle bar of a bicycle which provided visual and auditory warnings to the cyclist, preventing an unsafe encounter between them and any nearby vehicles.

The team found that cyclists will adapt their behaviour if they have access to such additional avoidance tools.

‘Some cyclists are quite reluctant to have expensive technology on their bike, but other types of consumers who are using electric bikes are more willing to accept this type of safety-related tech,’ said Prof. Pietrantoni.

Transdev and Delphi team up to develop on-demand autonomous transportation
13 Jun 2017:

Mobility services provider Transdev is partnering with Delphi Automotive to develop a global, fully automated, mobility-on-demand (AMoD) transport system. The system will utilise Transdev’s universal routing engine (URE) and Delphi’s automated driving platform, the Centralised Sensing, Planning and Localisation (CSLP) platform which Delphi is developing in partnership with Mobileye. 

Delphi and Transdev will share knowledge of AMoD systems to develop fully autonomous vehicles, a driverless vehicle infrastructure solution (DVIS) and cloud infrastructure to support a commercial AMoD system that can operate globally. 

Delphi will integrate its turnkey CSLP platform into Transdev’s mobility service vehicles, including a centralised computer running Delphi’s Ottomatika vehicle control software, a comprehensive sensor suite and all the required connectivity and data devices based on Control-Tec real-time analytics, Movimento’s secure, over-the-air (OTA) technologies and Mobileye’s REM technology.

Transdev will integrate its URE and remote control-command software, including intelligent infrastructure and additional software modules dedicated to public transportation and leverage its deep knowledge in client use-cases, safety and quality of service specifications for shared mobility services. 

The collaboration with Delphi will allow the two groups to jointly test the entire system: dispatch, remote control-command and vehicles, and test the sensor architecture and intelligence for driverless last-mile and door-to-door transportation service with the next phase including a commercial service.

Transdev and Delphi will start collaborating on open road, driverless pilot programs in Paris-Saclay and Rouen, France.