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    Event Review: SMMT Open Forum, 15 October 2015, Solihull

    The NAA exhibited at the SMMT Open Forum event at Cranmore Park in Solihull, when opportunities presented by connected and autonomous vehicles, and evolution of the supply chain, were two of the main subjects explored…

    A day of debate and networking for around 400 UK automotive supply chain delegates, the event featured talks from Mike Bell, Global Connected Car Director, Jaguar Land Rover; Iain Forbes, Head of government’s newly established Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles; and Judith Richardson, Vice President of Purchasing, Nissan Europe.


    • Mike Bell, Global Connected Car Director, Jaguar Land Rover
    • Judith Richardson, Vice President Purchasing, Nissan Europe
    • George Gillespie, Chief Executive Officer, Mira
    • Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles
    • Michael Mychajluk, Supply Chain & External Engagement Manager, Government Programmes, Jaguar Land Rover
    • John Barnett, Vice President and Head of EU Manufacturing, Calsonic Kansei
    • Nicklas Holgersson, Principal, Roland Berger

    The headline was that the UK automotive industry is continuing to grow, with UK automotive output forecast to reach an all-time high of 2 million vehicles by 2020. There’s also higher UK content in UK-built vehicles (35% in 2011, 41% in 2015). In other words there’s a good news story – but this has been overshadowed by the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

    Mike Bell, Global Connected Car Director at Jaguar Land Rover, said that JLR is now working with a very diverse range of technology companies to develop connected cars. As an example of where the technology is going, Mike explained that in the future you wouldn’t enter the airport you were going to, but the flight number, and if the flight was delayed, your car would tell you.

    There are also benefits from connected cars for the manufacturers. If a Range Rover Evoque happened to be delivered to the wrong country by the logistics supplier (which apparently does happen!), then it can be tracked thanks to the vehicle’s connectivity.

    Of course connected vehicles are ultimately leading to autonomous vehicles, which Iain Forbes from the UK government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles told the audience more about. Iain promised that autonomous vehicles – which are being trialled in four UK cities – would be safer and more efficient.

    The theme of technology continued with Nicklas Holgersson, Principal, Roland Berger, on the subject of Industrie 4.0. Nicklas described Industrie 4.0 as the ‘full integration and digitalisation of the industrial value chain’. In practice this allows real-time self-optimising connected systems – allowing engines on the other side of the world to be monitored.

    The next SMMT Open Forum is set to take place at the inaugural Automechanika Birmingham in June 2016. This will be the UK’s first trade show dedicated to automotive supply chain and aftermarket companies.

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham