London Connectory looks to future of connected transport technologies

Smart mobility technologies designed to solve London’s congestion problems will be developed at the London Connectory, a new innovation hub created by Bosch.

Sustainable transport (Pic: Transport for London)

Based in Shoreditch, the hub aims to bring together start-ups, government and large organisations to develop automated, electric, and connected transportation technologies.

Transport for London (TfL), the first partner to join the Connectory, will work with Bosch on an 18-month project to investigate how best to meet the Mayor of London’s goal of ensuring 80 per cent of trips in the city are made on foot, by bicycle or using public transport by 2041, according to Olivia Walker, head of city development at Bosch UK.

“The guiding strategy for [the Connectory] is the Mayor’s transport strategy, which outlines various measures that are needed if we want to achieve the sustainable future that London deserves, in terms of the quality of air, the ease of commuting and the general quality of life, and that is what led us to partner with TfL,” said Walker.

The London facility is the fourth Connectory to be established, after Chicago, Guadalajara and at Bosch’s headquarters in Stuttgart. While the other three sites are focused on the Internet of Things (IoT), the London centre is the first to specialise in mobility technologies.

The Connectory will attempt to use as much data as possible to understand the city’s mobility challenges, according to Prof Nick Reed, head of mobility R&D at Bosch UK.

This could include data obtained from the city’s infrastructure on congestion levels, safety, and air quality, or data taken directly from vehicles, said Reed.

“One of the things we have to do as a team is to look at which datasets give us the clearest understanding of what challenges there are, and help us to understand what solutions we need to introduce to address them, whether it be improving the walking infrastructure, or introducing a driverless bus system, for example.”

To this end, the Connectory will need to build relationships with those gathering these datasets, including universities and public and private organisations, he said.

“Our scope covers everything from walking and cycling, to car sharing, ride-hailing, and all the way up to automated vehicles,” he said. “The important thing is to have the data so we understand what solutions are going to work in which locations.”