The headline Vehicle of the Year prize at the inaugural Self-driving Industry Awards, held at the Turner Contemporary in Margate on 17 November 2023, went to Project CAVForth – a fleet of five single-decker, low-emission Stagecoach buses which have been taking fares in Scotland daily since May, giving tens of thousands of passengers their first taste of self-driving public transport.
Presented by Carsofthefuture.co.uk, the Self-driving Industry Awards celebrate excellence in connected and automated mobility (CAM), in the UK and internationally. Peer recognition played a vital role, with all entrants gaining the right to nominate individuals and vehicles for the top honours.
At the glittering awards ceremony, Councillor Rob Yates, Town Mayor of Margate, presented the inaugural Self-driving Industry Vehicle of the Year Award to Peter Stephens, Public Affairs Director at Stagecoach, and Matt Lawrence, Fleet Business Development Director at Alexander Dennis.
Peter Stephens said: “We are proud to have provided the first autonomous bus fleet to the UK and the first service to our local communities in East Scotland. This Self-Driving Industry Award stands as a testament to the belief of our partners, our staff, and our customers, who have all put their trust in our vision. The service is live, and we invite anyone to come experience AB1, autonomous bus no.1, for themselves!”
Matthew Lawrence added: “We are honoured to receive the Vehicle of the Year award at the inaugural Self-Driving Industry Awards for our first fleet of Enviro200AV. This achievement is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our engineering team and partners. Together, we are driving the future of autonomous transportation, setting new benchmarks for passenger experience, safety, efficiency, and sustainability.”
The category winners included companies from Australia, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.
The big individual prizes went to Alex Kendall, CEO of Wayve (Self-driving Industry Person of the Year 2023), Rebecca Posner, Head of Social and Behavioural Research at the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (Self-driving Industry Consumer Champion 2023), and Professor Paul Newman CBE, President at Oxa (Self-driving Industry Legend 2023).
Carsofthefuture.co.uk editor, Neil Kennett, said: “Self-driving is about to completely revolutionise how people and goods move. The tech is already about as safe as the average human driver, and it’s only going to get better.
“From a UK perspective, following the King’s Speech, we’ve got an incredible opportunity to define a successful, safety-first approach to rollout. In stark contrast to the robotaxi controversy in California, we are seen as a trusted leader in self-driving, widely recognised as the best place to test.
“Apart from the eye-catching livery, the CAVForth buses appear quite ordinary. In fact, they are extraordinary, operating with a safety driver at SAE Level 4 on journeys across the iconic Forth Road Bridge. With partners including Alexander Dennis, Fusion Processing and Stagecoach, we were delighted to present Project CAVForth with the first ever Self-driving Industry Vehicle of the Year Award.
“To illustrate just how close we are to legalisation, last week, our Person of the Year winner, Alex Kendall of Wayve, gave Transport Secretary Mark Harper a self-driving lift to Parliament for the first reading of the new Automated Vehicles (AV) Bill.”
Here’s the full list of 2023 Self-driving Industry Award winners:
- Vehicle of the Year: Project CAVForth
- Person of the Year: Alex Kendall, Wayve
- Consumer Champion: Rebecca Posner, CCAV
- Industry Legend: Professor Paul Newman CBE, Oxa
- Aftermarket Award: Jifeline
- Design Award: Dromos
- Hardware Award: Arbe Robotics
- Foundational Software Award: Applied EV
- Insurance Award: Marsh
- Legal Award: Burges Salmon LLP
- Research Award: Reed Mobility
- Sensing Software Award: LeddarTech
- Testing Award: Kodiak Robotics
- Trust Award: Angoka
- V2X Award: Beam Connectivity
- Special Recognition Award: Kenneth Clarke, Silvera Automotive Solutions
- Special Recognition Award: Alex Wells, Aftermarket Magazine
The event was hosted by Jim Carey and the judging panel included Alex Bainbridge of Autoura, Corey Clothier of Aribo, and Neil Kennett of Cars of the Future. Reflecting the stong sustainability theme, the event charity was Rise Up Clean Up Margate, which is working to get a beach cleaning robot for the Kent town’s Main Sands.
Councillor Rob Yates reiterated an ambition to have self-driving cars ferry delegates from Margate Station to the Turner for next year’s Self-driving Industry Awards 2024. It couldn’t possibly be this sunny two years running, could it?
More to follow…