Future city predictions – a glimpse at cities of the future

By: Innovate UK

What’s Possible in the Cities of the Future?

The population of the UK’s cities is continuously rising, which means it’s vital to find new and innovative ways of shaping the urban landscape. Creating environments that are intelligent, efficient and sustainable is a huge priority, so that one day soon we’ll be living in truly smart cities that benefit us in the modern age. Here are some predictions about the innovations that could be arriving in our cities of the future.

A transportation revolution

We all know where the future of transportation is heading. Driverless vehicles have been extensively tested for a number of years, with big names like Tesla and Uber eager to make significant steps with autonomous cars. What does this revolution mean for you? There’ll be no need to waste time hunting around for parking spaces anymore, as driverless vehicles will be able to drop you off and park in the optimum space, before picking you up again when you’re ready.
Public transport will also become much safer and efficient. That’s because it’ll evolve from buses & trains into a connected network of intelligent pods, which you’ll be able to hail from your phone. If there are other people in the city heading the same way, then they’ll join you on the journey. With efficient transport, the number of people owning cars will drop significantly, leading to better air quality, more accessible bicycle routes and more open green spaces.

Sustainable buildings

Every type of building has the potential to become intelligent. By gathering data from occupants and the surrounding areas they will be able to improve constantly and ensure a safe & healthy environment. With solar windows, buildings will have the ability to regular temperature requirements, and any surplus energy gained will be offered to surrounding buildings and vehicles for a sustainable city infrastructure.

A new way to shop

The shopaholics among you will be very excited to hear about plans for the future of retail. Upon entering a clothes shop, you’ll approach an interactive changing room which will take all the hassle out of shopping. The clever use of AI will help the shop to know your clothes size & tastes, so a range of items will be suggested to you. They could even make recommendations to you based on your upcoming calendar. Interactive mirrors will show you exactly how clothes look on you without the need to try them on, and you will be able to choose drone delivery to have your items sent straight to your door.

The future is automated

With all the automation on the way to our future cities, it’ll leave us time to enjoy the things that really matter in life. A big question people ask is whether jobs will be affected, but many believe that new technology will simply allow services to become much more personalised. Automation is necessary for our cities to become truly smart and sustainable. 

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Oxford is taking driverless to the next level

By: University of Oxford

driverless car

A group of mainly Oxfordshire-based organisations, including local SME Oxbotica, the University of Oxford’s Oxford Robotics Institute, Oxfordshire County Council, Nominet, and RACE (UKAE) are part of a group taking autonomous vehicles to the next level, with an autonomous vehicle trial at a  level of complexity and integration that has never been attempted before anywhere in the world.

The DRIVEN consortium, which also included re/insurer XL Catlin, Telefonica O2 UK, Transport Research Laboratory, Transport for London and Westbourne Communications.

The undertaking, funded by a £8.6 million grant awarded by Innovate UK, is an ambitious project that will see a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles being deployed in urban areas and on motorways, culminating in an end-to-end journey from London to Oxford.

These vehicles will be operating at Level 4 autonomy – meaning they have the capability of performing all safety-critical driving functions and monitoring roadway conditions for an entire trip, with zero-passenger occupancy.   

The mainly Oxford based consortium of companies that will help to further cement the UK’s reputation as a world leader in the development of autonomous vehicles  by creating a of driverless vehicles using UK-built software to be trialled between Oxford and London in 2019.

A major part of the consortium’s work will include the use of a fleet of six inter-communicating vehicles equipped with Selenium, Oxbotica’s cutting-edge vehicle manufacturer (OEM) agnostic software. As a platform, Selenium provides any vehicle it is applied to with an awareness of where it is, what surrounds it and, with that knowledge in hand, how it should move to complete a task.

A key challenge will be how to insure autonomous fleets of vehicles – and the consortium plans to develop a system that automatically takes into account data from the vehicle and external sources that surround it, for example, traffic control systems. The project will radically transform how insurance and autonomous vehicles will work together in connected cities.

The project will also address data protection and cyber-security concerns raised by international policymakers and law enforcement agencies around the world by defining common security and privacy policies related to connected and autonomous vehicles.


Oxford Linked Open Data project launched

By: Oxford e-Research Centre

Oxford e-Research Centre has launched OXLOD (Oxford Linked Open Data), a pilot project to develop an understanding of the practical implications of Linked Data for University Collections.

This one-year pilot project, which officially begins in September 2017, is supported by the University’s own Capital Funds through University Collections.

Rebranded in September 2016 as GLAM (Gardens, Libraries and Museums), these collections, comprising the Bodleian Libraries, Ashmolean Museum, Natural History Museum, Pitt Rivers Museum, Museum of the History of Science, Botanic Gardens and Arboretum, and Bate Collection of Musical instruments, offer a unique opportunity to explore the benefits of Linked Data across domains that encompass both the arts and the sciences.

At present the collections use relational databases. By freeing their data from traditional siloes OXLOD will transform ‘discoverability’ for research, teaching and learning. It will build a demonstrator within a year by using cross-domain sample data to link collections to each other and to academic research datasets.

The Oxford e-Research Centre, led by Senior Research Fellow Professor Donna Kurtz, Centre Director Professor Dave de Roure, and Senior Researcher Dr Kevin Page, will deliver the pilot, with GLAM supporting use case development and supplying data under the direction of Project Sponsor Dr Paul Collins, Jaleh Hearn Curator for Ancient Near East at the Ashmolean Museum.

This article first appeared on the OERC website on 11th May 2017

StreetDrone – democratising development in autonomous vehicle technology

By: Mike Potts, StreetDrone


Oxford, UK: StreetDrone announces StreetDrone ONE, the first affordable autonomous-ready electric car designed to accelerate the development of autonomous vehicle technology.

StreetDrone ONE is being developed in partnership with Renault and we’ll start deliveries in August this year.

Mark Preston, CEO of StreetDrone says “We know that the greatest innovations in selfdriving technology need to come from a wide-base of companies and developers, not from the privileged few that are wealthy enough to be able to test innovation in the real world. StreetDrone ONE means that everyone can become a part of the autonomous revolution.”

Around the world massive car companies and wealthy corporates, such as Intel, Apple and Google, are spending billions of dollars researching and developing autonomous vehicle technology. Building and testing driverless capability is complex and expensive, meaning barriers to entry to this market are often insurmountable for all but the richest players.

StreetDrone ONE is designed to make it easier and cheaper for smaller institutions to get involved in the design of autonomous vehicle systems, whether that be for business or education:

  • Based on the Twizy EV, part of the Renault POM program, StreetDrone ONE is a hardware platform which gives developers the means to test driverless coding on a real-life test vehicle
  • StreetDrone OS (operating system) allows the car to talk to connected and autonomous software 

The future of autonomous development needs great innovators, and StreetDrone invites you to join the revolution at www.streetdrone.org.

StreetDrone is an ambitious Oxford-based start-up with a rich automotive, motorsports and entrepreneurial DNA. Founder Mark Preston has worked in Formula One (McLaren), and Formula E (Current Team Principal at TECHEETAH) whilst Managing Director Mike Potts is a successful entrepreneur and digital marketer (DBi, Havas, Expedia). The StreetDrone team is passionate about putting the AV revolution into the hands of the many, not just the few.