Smart travel for future cities: Integrating and connecting new tram lines

Smart travel for future cities

The main feature that makes a public transport system smart is enhanced control and monitoring features.

In the case of the Nottingham trams Express Transit project, in the UK, these functionalities became a reality through the collaboration of big industry names such as Taylor Woodrow, Alstom, and Boulting Technology.

Nottingham Express Travel Phase Two

In a bid to become one of the UK’s first smart cities, Nottingham has recently expanded its existing tram network to include two new lines to serve the South and South West of the city.

The first new line crosses the river Trent to Clifton and the second connects the Queens Medical Centre, Beeston and Toton.

The new routes join the existing line at Nottingham Station, with the entire network accommodating over 20 million passengers every year.  Continue reading Smart travel for future cities: Integrating and connecting new tram lines

Amazon to open logistics centre filled with robot workers

amazon robotics

Amazon is growing its UK fulfilment centre network as it expands to meet customer demand, increases its product selection and supports more third party Marketplace sellers with Fulfilment by Amazon. 

The fulfilment centre will be Amazon’s 13th in the UK and will be equipped with advanced Amazon Robotics technology.

Amazon says its new fulfilment centre in Tilbury, Essex, will open in 2017, and create more than 1,500 new permanent jobs for humans next year. This is in addition to the 3,500 other humans the company already employs in the UK. The new centre will also be filled with autonomous logistics robots.  Continue reading Amazon to open logistics centre filled with robot workers

Are Britain’s small firms ready for robotics and automation?

The Ero robot, designed at Umeå Institute of Design
The Ero robot, designed at Umeå Institute of Design

New research from AXA suggests small firms in the UK are sceptical about the prospects of next-gen tech – from 3D printing, and smart homes, to robotics and driverless cars – reaching their workplaces.

While more than 40 per cent of small businesses don’t yet have a website, the study found that most of them do plan to move online in the next twelve months. If these plans are fulfilled, only 7 per cent of UK businesses will remain offline by this time next year. Few are ready to plunge deeper into the digital revolution, however.

Just one in five plan to migrate to the Cloud in the coming years, and only six per cent of business owners say they expect to adopt smart technologies. Driverless cars, which are set to hit UK roads as early as 2020, have an equally low resonance, as just 8 per cent of business owners expect they will drive one.  Continue reading Are Britain’s small firms ready for robotics and automation?

UK councils ‘not on track’ for smart city delivery, says new report

red telephone box london

Many local governments are lacking the budget, leadership and capability to progress smart initiatives and connected technology in cities across the UK.

This is the conclusion of a study by a company called Lucy Zodion, which surveyed almost 200 local authorities in Britain.

The research reveals that smart cities are not deemed a strategic priority for the majority of councils in the UK, and identifies barriers to delivery that are stifling progress in many local authorities.  Continue reading UK councils ‘not on track’ for smart city delivery, says new report

Robotic lettuce harvester prototype wins farming award

softharvest

The UK’s first national agricultural technology business plan competition has been won by a lettuce-picking robot 

It is estimated that over 60 per cent of the production cost of a lettuce is in the manual harvesting. Automating this process would allow producers to be more competitive and respond faster to demand. 

SoftHarvest, working closely with G’s Growers, one of the UK’s largest vegetable producers, has developed a robotic handler with vision recognition that is set to revolutionise this £300 million market across the UK, France and Spain.

SoftHarvest was selected as the student winner of Grow, the UK’s first national agri-tech business plan competition.  Continue reading Robotic lettuce harvester prototype wins farming award

UK science minister pledges £5 million to robotics

robotics and autonomous systems transforming-our-future

Multi-million-pound boost for next generation robotics technologies as robotics week comes to an end

Science Minister Jo Johnson has announced a £5 million challenge, to encourage UK companies and academics to develop robotic innovations.

The challenge will encourage UK businesses and academic institutions to work together to develop new and novel uses for robotics and autonomous systems across different industry sectors. The competition has been devised by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). 

Speaking at the end of EPSRC’s robotics week, Johnson says: “The UK is a world leader in advanced robotic technologies that promise to transform so many aspects of our lives.  Through this £5 million competition we will build UK expertise in robotic and autonomous systems and open up new opportunities for innovative businesses and economic growth.”  Continue reading UK science minister pledges £5 million to robotics

‘Robotics and automation will play a key role for UK manufacturers,’ says Siemens

siemens digital transformation 1

Exclusive interview with Alan Norbury, industrial central technology officer at Siemens UK

German industrial giant Siemens employs approximately 15,000 people at some 30 locations across the UK. Globally, it employs around 350,000 and has annual revenues of more than €75 billion. It is said to be the largest engineering company in Europe. It’s also claimed to employ more computer programmers than does Microsoft. 

With the European Union referendum looming over the UK, the company’s senior executives have made their views clear, with the UK chief executive of the 165-year-old Siemens, Jurgen Maier, saying manufacturing jobs would be at risk if Britain left the EU.

The UK exports almost €150 billion of physical goods to the EU, and it is estimated that around 1 million jobs in the UK are linked to EU trade.

Moreover, some analysts say that for every one job created in manufacturing, several more jobs are created in other sectors, such as information technology, for example, especially now when the internet of things is spreading rapidly across all sectors of industry.  Continue reading ‘Robotics and automation will play a key role for UK manufacturers,’ says Siemens

Advancing UK manufacturing with statistics and anecdotes

uk manufacturing small

The UK is deciding whether to stay in the European Union or not, which may or may not affect the manufacturing sector 

The UK is currently in the midst of a national debate over whether or not to leave the European Union, with opinion polls suggesting that the so-called “Brexit” campaign has the public’s favour, although only marginally.

Those who are arguing against an exit from the EU say that the country’s economy will suffer if the majority of people vote to leave, and they produce figures to support their argument. But then, so does the other side.

The EU referendum will be held on June 23.

From an objective point of view, it’s probably difficult to say what will happen. No one knows what the future holds for sure. And besides, statistics can be made to support pretty much any point of view, even if they are diametrically opposed to one another.  Continue reading Advancing UK manufacturing with statistics and anecdotes

Engineers’ institute welcomes laws requiring driverless vehicles to have certificates

driverless car test
Driverless car software will require certificates from the Ministry of Transport before being allowed on the road. Picture courtesy: E&T IET

The UK is to introduce laws and regulations that will require driverless vehicle software makers to obtain Ministry of Transport certificates 

New laws announced in the Queen’s Speech recently will allow fully autonomous vehicles to be insured under normal policies in the UK.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) says the announcement is an “important step forward” which will ultimately improve road safety and reduce congestion. 

But the IET adds that the Government also needs to introduce legislation to improve cyber security in autonomous vehicles.  Continue reading Engineers’ institute welcomes laws requiring driverless vehicles to have certificates

UK’s first driverless car trials invites public to register

Britain’s first autonomous car trials are set to take place later this year in Greenwich, and members of the public are being invited to participate

Members of the public can now register to take part in the UK’s first public driverless vehicle trials, due to take place later this year.

The trials, which will take place in Greenwich, London, are part of the GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) project – an £8 million research project to investigate the use, perception and acceptance of autonomous vehicles in the UK.  Continue reading UK’s first driverless car trials invites public to register

Nasa’s outer space additive manufacturing facility targets alien market

3d printing in space
Nasa wants to 3D print spacecraft using additive manufacturing techniques

Just when you thought things could not get any crazier, Nasa has set up an additive manufacturing plant in space that could take 3D printing orders from aliens 

Nasa’s advanced manufacturing system has been installed on the International Space Station and is said to be attracting considerable interest from unknown beings across the cosmos. 

Originally intended as an emergency tool shop for the ISS crew, the zero-gravity 3D printing facility is now being made available to extraterrestrial customers across the universe.

While Nasa is still waiting for its first alien customers, Earthlings are taking a strong interest in the system created by a company called Made In SpaceContinue reading Nasa’s outer space additive manufacturing facility targets alien market

Robot submarines to be given live data link to satellites to help them navigate

satellite

The UK is developing technology to connect robotic submarines to satellites to help them find their way around the world’s oceans.

The UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC) is to form part of the new Centres of Excellence in Satellite applications, which is expected to aid economic growth in the Solent region, the waters off the southern coast of the country, near Portsmouth.

As part of this new centre the NOC will develop the technologies to help robot-subs use live satellite data to inform their route through the ocean, not unlike drivers using live traffic updates. Continue reading Robot submarines to be given live data link to satellites to help them navigate

Investment in manufacturing robotics could boost British economy by £60bn within a decade, says Barclays

manufacturing in the uk

Investing an additional £1.2bn into manufacturing processes, to increase robotics and automation over the next decade, could add as much as £60.5bn to the UK economy over the next decade, forecasts new research from Barclays. This is equivalent to nearly two fifths of the manufacturing sector’s value to the economy today.

The “Future-proofing UK manufacturing” report reveals that investing in automation technology will help to increase the international competitiveness of the UK’s manufacturing sector through increased manufacturing productivity and efficiency. As a result of additional investment, the manufacturing sector will be worth £191bn in 2025, £8.6bn more than currently projected and a 19.6% increase on today.

Furthermore, increased investment in automation will help to soften the expected long-term decline in manufacturing sector jobs by safeguarding 73,500 additional workers in 2025, due to the creation of a larger, more productive and competitive UK manufacturing sector. Continue reading Investment in manufacturing robotics could boost British economy by £60bn within a decade, says Barclays

Sony becomes first UK buyer of YuMi, as ABB launches its first Scara robots

sony uk, abb yumi
Sony becomes first UK customer for ABB’s YuMi

Sony has become the first company in the UK to purchase ABB’s YuMi, the collaborative robot which has been making the headlines since its launch last a few months ago.

Sony’s UK Technology Centre manufactures broadcast and professional cameras and camera systems.

The company says YuMi is ideal for use in small parts assembly. Sony UK Technology will use ABB’s dual arm robot solution to pick and place circuit board parts. Continue reading Sony becomes first UK buyer of YuMi, as ABB launches its first Scara robots

TRL opens smart mobility research lab in London

trl smart mobility living lab @ greenwich
TRL has created real world test environment for connected and automated vehicles in Greenwich

UK-based transportation technology consultancy, Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), has launched what it calls the “UK Smart Mobility Living Lab @ Greenwich”, a real-life environment where connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), services and processes can be developed, evaluated and integrated within the local community.

Based in Greenwich, London and supported by UK government, the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab @ Greenwich helps organisations bring solutions to market faster by enabling them to be trialled and validated in a real-life environment.

Vehicle manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers and tech developers can use the lab to assist with research and development, concept testing and validation, launching new technology or services, and understanding how new technology is perceived in a real world environment. Continue reading TRL opens smart mobility research lab in London