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Fleets to take part in government-backed emissions-busting connected vehicle project

Fleets to take part in government-backed emissions-busting connected vehicle project

Fleets from the public and commercial sectors are to be recruited to take part in a 1,000-vehicle trial to “test and fine tune” a connected vehicle project led by Tantalum, which has secured UK government funding.

The government this week announced a further £109.7 million of funding to support driverless and low carbon projects across the UK¸ alongside significant funding from industry.  

Seven projects will share grants from the latest round of funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), the joint industry-government programme to put the UK at the forefront of low carbon vehicle technology.  

The projects, led by BMW, CNH Industrial, Ford Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Penso Consulting, Westfield Sportscars and Williams Advanced Engineering, cover a wide range of new innovations which will help the UK to continue to build on its excellence and become a global leader in low-emissions technology, and safeguard 2,370 jobs in the UK according to the government.  

A further seven projects won funding from the government’s Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) to advance the development of a range of ultra-low and zero emissions vehicle technologies in the UK. Those projects will be led by Equipmake, Ford Motor Company, Great British Sports Cars, Jaguar Land Rover, Ricardo Innovations, Romax Technology and Wrightbus.  

The government also announced the first set of winners of the second round of its connected autonomous vehicles competition, CAV2, with projects set to receive a share of up to £31 million, match funded by industry. Twenty-four projects demonstrated “clear commercial value” and identified technical solutions for CAV technology, including how those vehicles would work within the UK transport system. Further successful projects from the competition round will be announced soon by Innovate UK, the government’s innovation agency.

The Tantalum project, which also involves Imperial College, London, is one of the CAV2 winners and received a £1 million grant to develop real-time NOx emissions estimation capability giving local authorities the ability to implement dynamic road charging based on actual vehicle emissions in a smarter, cheaper and fairer way.

Ozgur Tohumcu, Tantalum’s CEO, said: “It is our belief that companies, local authorities and citizens all want to help clean up the air we breathe. Through Tantalum’s solution and unique patents, we are within reach of this goal.  

“Imagine your vehicle giving you routes that avoid sensitive areas such as schools while rewarding you financially for driving in a manner that saves fuel and reduces emissions. Your vehicle then automatically pays specific emissions charges based on where, when and how you drive.  

“We are working with Imperial College and cities around the world to make this vision a reality.”  

Once developed Tantalum says its Air.Car services will be able to help deliver the emissions reductions required in urban areas in a smarter, cheaper and fairer way than some of the blunter instruments being proposed by the government and local authorities.

When completed, Tantalum says its system will help to reduce CO2 and NOx emissions, saving drivers fuel and maintenance costs while hugely reducing the environmental impact of their vehicles. It will also be able to give fleet managers and consumers detailed understanding of the environmental impact, the tools to minimise it, while reducing fuel, maintenance and insurance costs. Better driving style will also improve road safety.  

Tantalum says its real-time CO2 emissions product has already helped customers save an average of 15% in fuel costs through better driving and that could also reduce NOx emissions by up to 50%.

Tantalum’s solution can be connected to any vehicle’s on-board computer. Combining the emissions data streams with the vehicle’s location and driver behaviour will inform drivers and public authorities of the real environmental impact of individual vehicles.  

The solution, says the company, will deliver the ability to enforce a genuinely dynamic road charging scheme based on actual vehicle emissions: fairer and cheaper than the blunt instruments currently being proposed, which rely on blanket camera coverage and do not motivate better driving.  

A major part of the Air.Car project is the vehicle trial starting in autumn, to test and fine tune the solution. The trial will run within London and other UK cities where Clean Air Zones are to be established.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “Low carbon and driverless cars are the future and as a government we are determined through the Industrial Strategy to build on our strengths and put the UK at the forefront of this revolution. Investment in this technology is an integral part of this government’s efforts, to ensure the UK auto sector remains competitive and world-leading.”  

Transport Minister John Hayes said: “I am absolutely committed to improving air quality and reducing pollution in towns and cities, which is essential for people’s health and the environment.   “This government is investing £109 million to support British businesses in developing innovative, important technologies which will greatly reduce our emissions footprint. The number of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads is at record levels and our renewed support for these exciting technologies is yet another significant milestone.” ·        

The government also confirmed that Plug-In vehicle Grants of up to £4,500 off the cost of an ultra-low emission car, up to £2,500 off a hybrid and £500 towards the installation of a charge point in homes would continue.