Neil Kennett hosts SDV panel at #MOVE2023

Neil Kennett MOVE 2023 event review – self-driving, software-defined, clean fuel and more…

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Self-driving at MOVE 2023: renewed focus on environmental impacts

MOVE, “The world’s most important urban mobility event”, returned to London last week with two action packed days at the ExCeL centre.

As well as moderating the software defined vehicle panel, and seeing a vast array of amazing new self-driving-related tech from established multinationals and innovative start-ups, it was my pleasure to host the morning session on the Autonomous Vehicles stage.

MOVE Pledge 2023

Let’s start with my #MOVE2023 pledge. The organisers ask all speakers to make “a concrete pledge towards safer, smarter and more sustainable mobility”, for which we can be held accountable at next year’s event. In this pre-event piece I mused that I might just repeat my pledge from last year. Actually, I didn’t.

My all-new MOVE pledge for this year is two-fold: To encourage people to read David Attenborough’s bestselling book – A Life on Our Planet – which is brilliant and quite scary; and to focus more on the environmental impacts of self-driving – an under-researched area with competing theories – some highly negative, some highly positive.

Neil Kennett #MOVE2023 self-driving pledge
Neil Kennett #MOVE2023 self-driving pledge

It is designed to remind myself (and you) that it is up to us to bring about the changes essential to avert ecological disaster. Taking my own advice, I met up with Jessica Battle, senior expert in global ocean policy and lead on the No Deep Seabed Mining Initiative at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – watch this space.

Self-driving stage

Our first speaker in Theatre 2 was Mark Cracknell, of Zenzic, who focussed on the role of SMEs in the connected and automated mobility ecosystem. He highlighted the world-leading projects funded via CCAV’s Commercialising CAM competition, asserting that no other country will have a greater breadth of self-driving services on the road by 2025.

It was standing room only for our next speaker, Dr Joanna White, Roads Development Director at National Highways, who set out plans to future-proof the UK’s road network for AVs. She highlighted the success of the HumanDrive project, and the fantastically-named Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Infrastructure Appraisal Readiness (CAVIAR) project.

Dr Joanna White, Roads Development Director at National Highways, at #MOVE2023
Dr Joanna White, of National Highways, at #MOVE2023

The first panel of the day saw Zeina Nazer, of Cities Forum, discussing new strategies for the safe deployment of ADAS and autonomous tech with Dr Nick Reed, in his role as chief road safety advisor to National Highways, and The Law Commission’s Nicholas Paines QC.

Paines noted that the three-year review of legislation to enable the deployment of automated vehicles on British roads was the first time the Commission had been asked to design a law for the future.

In response to a question from the audience, he also clarified that data protection was excluded from the terms of reference, instead being covered by GDPR.

They went on to cover the potential role of remote driving and the importance of public acceptance, with Reed highlighting the Vision Zero strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries.

Jayesh Jagasia, of the AI in Automotive podcast, then took over hosting, including introducing the aforementioned “Embracing the SDV: Welcome to life in the software defined lane” panel.

Moderated by my good self, it featured: Patrick Blume, Head of Product for Urban Mobility at Mercedes-Benz; John Wall, Senior Vice-President at BlackBerry and head of its QNX system; and Marcus Welz, Vice President of Smart Mobility at Hyundai Motor Europe. A pertinent fact is that BlackBerry QNX is now embedded in over 235 million vehicles worldwide.

We only had 25 minutes, but we crammed a lot in, delving into cybersecurity, common codebase, OTA updates, verification and validation, changing car sales models, in-car personalisation, smart city connectivity, MAAS, ADAS and self-driving.

Serious points included Wall outlining the ability to refresh cars already on the road, the huge investments in what Blume described as the race for a competitive advantage, and Welz revealing an initiative to encourage Hyundai staff into multi-modal transport. Now that’s progressive!

Lighter moments included Welz describing the shift to self-driving as “a transition to The Jetsons

We ended on the ability of near-future software-defined vehicles to reduce road traffic collisions, and therefore RTC fatalities and injuries, by up to 80% – oft-quoted maybe, but impressive, game-changing and thoroughly commendable nonetheless. My thanks to Max Kadera of MOVE and Lee the sound guy.

With moderating duties duly performed, I headed out into the arena, catching up with contacts old and new – Barbara Fitzsimons of Zenzic, Gunny Dhadyalla of AESIN, Karla Jakeman of TRL, Nick Fleming of BSI, Ben Loewenstein of Waymo and the IMI’s Mark Armitage.

ACES opinions

As IMI CEO Steve Nash noted: “MOVE represents the entire ACES (autonomous, connected, electric and shared) piece. You turn up with one opinion and have to moderate it after listening to all the different speakers.”

There were big eye-catching displays by business electric car subscription firm EZoo, ZF – with its Araiv Shuttle, powered by Oxa (formerly Oxbotica) – and HGV manufacturer Hydrogen Vehicle Systems. HVS are apparently talking to Fusion Processing (of CAVForth fame) about software – you heard it here first!

Hydrogen Vehicle Systems (HVS) at #MOVE2023
Hydrogen Vehicle Systems (HVS) at #MOVE2023

Further intriguing snippets included Teragence CEO Christian Rouffaert on their mobile connectivity data, Alex Bainbridge of Autoura on expansion in the US, Amir Tirosh of StoreDot on how their new EV fast charging delivers consistently better quality in record time, Sandip Gangakhedkar of Fetch on the expansion of their remote driving car delivery trial – now open to the public across Milton Keynes – and Dr Martin Dürr, of Dromos, on talks with city authorities around the world, particularly in the UK and US.

We’re already looking forward to #MOVE2024, at ExCeL again, on 19-20 June next year. In the meantime, we have our own event planned…

Cars of the Future flyer for #MOVE2023 mentioned a self-driving event
Our Cars of the Future flyer for #MOVE2023 mentioned a self-driving event…
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Author: Neil Kennett

Neil is MD of Featurebank Ltd. He launched in 2019.