Intelligent Transport

Intelligent Transport is one of the initial programmes identified by the Satellite Applications Catapult. Our primary focus is to unlock the UK’s potential to provide satellite applications and services that deliver ground-breaking solutions to transport issues.

Why the Intelligent Transport Sector Matters

Intelligent Transport encompasses road, rail and air and sea. It is a critical factor in economic growth and development, as inadequate transportation limits a nation’s ability to utilise its natural resources, distribute foods and other finished goods, integrate manufacturing and agriculture sectors, and supply education, medical and other infrastructural facilities.

Transport is also a wealth-creating industry in its own right:

  • The logistics industry is worth £74.5 billion to the UK economy.
  • The aviation sector contributes £49.6 billion (3.6%) to UK economy.
  • The rail sector contributes £9.3 billion in gross value add (GVA) each year, and provides £3.9 billion of tax revenue.

There have been significant changes in this sector in the past 25 years, brought on by many forces including political, environmental, technological, social and demographic. These will continue to drive change over the next 25 years, with considerable impacts on the way we travel and move goods and people.

Transport systems are, therefore, a significant area for us to exploit by building upon the UK’s strengths and offering opportunities to drive economic growth and meet societal and environmental challenges.

Satellite Applications in the Intelligent Transport Sector

In future we will be increasingly reliant on autonomous vehicles for mission-critical systems. These will need to be robust and resilient with a wide geographical coverage, and satellites will play an important role in enabling this move. Additionally, in many areas, industry faces major barriers to entry due to the high regulatory and safety focused environment of the transport sector.

The UK Space sector already has significant industrial strengths and interest in this sector, including a significant community of developers of the high integrity and high availability software and systems that are necessary for the design, development and operation of systems for which safety is critical. The UK is also strongly engaged in using satellite-based technologies to support the implementation of satellite navigation and communication systems.

But there is still more that can be done. Through our relationships with government and the Transport Systems Catapult, for example, we can influence regulation and perform projects that are beyond the timescales and scope of industry. There are also significant UK and EU funding streams that we can help to leverage, including Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR), cooperative vehicles and intelligent transport systems(ITS).

Within this programme, we are working closely with the Transport Systems Catapult and have already commenced with initial areas of collaboration.

Objectives of our Programme

Areas we are concentrating on include:

  • Working with partners in industry, central and regional government, the research councils, academia and other related organisations involved in investing in research and development
  • Developing integrated transport systems and solutions to address the current and future industrial, political, societal and environmental challenges
  • Evangelising the current and future capability of satellite technologies
  • Fostering and driving the production of integrated mobility applications underpinned by satellite technologies

We have identified hybrid communications and robust positioning and timing as our initial areas of focus due to the impact they will have on economic, social and environmental issues.

Technology Focus

We are focussing on working with end-users, industry and academia in the areas of:

  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Intelligent mobility and integrated logistics.

We will exploit the use of robust positioning and timing aided by hybrid communications in solutions that will deliver increased transport efficiency, situational awareness and enhanced customer experience.

Satellite technology will underpin platforms that bring together the best technologies in data acquisition, data management, data analysis, information publishing, dissemination and visualisation.

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