Start-up businesses with innovative solutions to transport challenges are being encouraged to apply for a unique new accelerator programme in Milton Keynes.
Transport challenges that the country faces in the future include congestion, overcrowding, emissions and road safety.
The ‘Intelligent Mobility (IM) Accelerator’ is designed to attract disruptive start-ups with high-growth potential into the UK transport industry, while helping them grow into world-leading companies.
The programme focuses on intelligent mobility, including areas such as connected and autonomous vehicles, connected infrastructure, customer experience and transport data and analysis.
Its goal is to develop companies who will create solutions for the most pressing transport problems facing the world today, improving day-to-day life for millions of travellers while creating new UK-based industry leaders in a £900bn global transport systems market.
The new programme is a partnership between Transport Systems Catapult and Wayra UK, the world-leading start-up accelerator that is part of Telefónica Open Future.
Since 2012, Wayra UK has supported more than 160 British and Irish start-ups in other industries, helping them raise approximately $150m in third-party funding.
Transport Systems Catapult is the UK’s innovation centre for ‘Intelligent Mobility’ and the organisation behind the UK’s first public trial of an autonomous vehicle.
Businesses accepted to the programme will receive a six-month support programme, providing office space, mentoring and networking.
The successful start-ups will also get access to Wayra UK’s and the TSCs networks of investors, government agencies, customers, large corporates and universities, as well as opportunities to work with the TSC’s world-leading Data, Visualisation, Customer Experience and Connected and Autonomous Vehicle capability teams.
The TSC and Wayra UK will also hope to continue to support the best of these start-ups beyond their time at the IM Accelerator.
The programme has also attracted the sponsorship of global technology consultancy ThoughtWorks and national railway infrastructure operator Network Rail, who will both provide support to start-ups at the Accelerator, including mentoring, coaching, and access to their high-level expertise and networks.
Transport Systems Catapult CEO Paul Campion said: “Transport is currently going through a revolutionary period driven by digital, connected and autonomous technology.
“Up until now British entrepreneurs wanting to exploit these opportunities have needed to go it alone.
“We must support new UK businesses now, so we can take a lead on the world stage and create high-quality jobs and growth for our economy.
“The IM Accelerator will support and de-risk start-up and early growth companies as they create breakthroughs in transport technology.
“There are no other accelerators in the UK which cover the full range of potential Intelligent Mobility solutions, and we hope to give these businesses a doorway into this £900bn global market.”
Gary Stewart, Director of Wayra UK, said: “Transport is an area where data-driven tech solutions are already making a huge difference to the lives of billions – from the development of the Oyster card to the creation of journey helpers like Citymapper.
“Through this innovative programme, we hope to support the development of the next generation of transport systems breakthroughs and contribute further to making the UK the best place in the world to scale a transport start-up.”