The State of the Nation

Brought to you by The Automotive & Transport Group

Vehicle and transport systems are set for massive change and huge investment as drivers, passengers, road and transport operators, manufacturers, academia and governments are constantly looking for solutions to overcrowding, escalating costs, delays causing lost hours and reducing death and injury.

Registration for this event is now closed.

About the event

From connected vehicles, transport apps and streamed entertainment to fully autonomous vehicles, the coming years will showcase many new high risk and leading edge technologies.

This inaugural SIG event, taking place at Hethel Innovation in Norwich, will take a ‘State of the Nation’ look at the automotive sector. Where are we today? Where are we heading? What obstacles may the industry foresee? Who are the key stakeholders? Where might the financial returns come from? What are the next steps? 

Don’t miss the opportunity to register for the first meeting of the Automotive and Transport SIG which will take a ‘State of the Nation’ look at the automotive sector. Senior figures from several industries will set out their views on where we are today, where we are trying to go, what obstacles they foresee. This backdrop combined with uncertain business models requires that management, shareholders and governments need to decide the investment priorities from a plethora of options all promising a wide range of benefits. With an uncertain roadmap, many technology choices to be made, unclear standards, security issues and corporations choosing  different paths, our presenters are likely to offer quite contrasting viewpoints.

There are many new markets in this area suggesting that there are few givens – just opinions and hope!  So come along, listen, question and then have your say in the wide ranging debate that follows.

Confirmed speakers include:

The Automotive & Transport SIG is championed by Andrew Ashby of Plextek Consulting, Tom Blackie of RealVNC, John Okas of Real Wireless and Nigel Wall of Climate Associates. We are extremely grateful to Rohde and Schwarz for sponsoring this event and to Hethel Innovation for hosting this event at their venue. This event is also supported by ITS.

To follow this SIG on Twitter, @CambWireless, please use #CWTransport

This event is FREE to members of Cambridge Wireless, guests of Hethel Innovation and ITS members. Tickets for non-members are £180.00 plus VAT. To join Cambridge Wireless as a member and attend future events for free, please visit:

Limited FREE places for non-members: We are keen to engage with, and foster the next generation of technologists so we have limited FREE delegate places at our events for non-members who are under 30. If you would like to register for one of these places, please register as a non-member and under job title please list your date of birth. We will then confirm if you have received a place within one week of the event.

Sponsored by Rohde and Schwarz

Rohde & Schwarz is one of the world's leading manufacturers of information and communications technology products for professional users.

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Hosted by Hethel Innovation

Hethel Innovation is investigating the High Value Manufacturing and Advanced Engineering sectors in the Eastern region. We are meeting businesses, developing networks, and finding new ways to exploit the innovation potential in business, bridging both the public and private sectors to pilot new techniques for industry.

Supported by ITS (UK)

ITS UNITED KINGDOM, the UK association for the promotion of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), is a not-for-profit public/private sector association financed by members' subscriptions, and provides a forum for all organisations concerned with ITS. ITS work to bring the benefits that they can offer in terms of economic efficiency, transport safety, and environmental benefits to the United Kingdom and at the same time expand the ITS market.

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.


Registration & Networking over Coffee


Introduction to the Cambridge Wireless Automotive and Transport SIG from Andrew Ashby of Plextek Consulting


Welcome from Host, Simon Coward of Hethel Innovation Centre


Welcome from Sponsor, Steve Edwards of Rohde & Schwarz


Internet For All – why are cars excluded today?; Professor Mike Short CBE FREng FIET, Vice President of Public Affairs, Telefonica Europe

The growth of mobile and internet based innovation is providing many solutions for the traveller and the automotive industry. A world of Internet on wheels offers much more in the way of services, information and entertainment on the go. How does safety and real time mapping get integrated into new and second hand vehicles? Will mobile tachographs emerge or integrated solutions for energy management and insurance? The autonomous vehicle may depend on sensing - how much connectivity can and should be included? Connected cars can offer so much more.




Big Data vs. Big Brother in Your Car – Transforming Transportation with Connectivity; Roger Lanctot, Associate Director, Strategy Analytics

Wireless connectivity is coming to cars in a variety of flavours for a variety of purposes. This connectivity has technical and emotional implications that are transforming the driving experience and the user experience while creating opportunities for new technologies, new applications and new hardware and software architectures both on- and off-board. Roger Lanctot will assess the technology roadmap for the connected car.




Automation in road transportation and its implications on user safety and cyber-security; Ireri Ibarra, Chief Engineer, Functional Safety, MIRA

How the landscape in road transportation is taking shape by incorporating more automated features, whilst still being as safe and secure. Key changes in the development lifecycle to deliver automated functionality in transportation.




Lunch & Networking


Security Industry Engagement Team: Role and Objectives; Nick Smith, Senior Policy Manager, Security Industry Engagement Team, OSCT, Home Office

The presentation sets out the reasons why government set up the Security Industry Engagement
Team, and what it has been tasked to do; how it will work to support innovation and promote growth
across all areas of the wider security industry including how these elements can contribute to
innovation and growth within the security element of the transport and automotive sector. These
include, Government to Government agreements, the establishment of a Security and Resilience Growth Partnership, a UK Security Brand, an Export Portal, and the recent publication, jointly with UKTI DSO, of the Security Export Strategy.




A Simple Journey or is it?; Martin Green, Advanced Technology Planning Manager, Visteon Engineering Services Ltd

The presentation looks at the various way the car connects to the consumer and the cloud and
begins to explore some of the future complexities of remaining connected whilst driving around.
What was a simple journey from A to B becomes a complex sequence of handovers, registering on
networks with the associated payment and privacy issues.




Ansar Ali, Co-Founder, Zenos Cars


Panel Session with all speakers chaired by SIG Champion, Nigel Wall of Climate Associates


Closing Remarks


Event Closes


Ansar Ali - Co-Founder, Zenos Cars

Martin Green - Technology Planner, Visteon

Martin Green (Visteon)

Roger Lanctot - Associate Director, Strategy Analytics

Mike Short CBE - Chief Architect, Satellite Applications Catapult, Chair of the Advisory Board, UKTIN

Dr Mike Short CBE, after 30 years in telecommunications with Cellnet / BT / O2 and Telefonica, joined the Department for International Trade (DIT) in December 2017 as the Department’s first Chief Scientific Adviser (now called Dept of Business and Trade). Since March 2023 he has been pursuing a portfolio career around innovation and research largely in telecommunications including as Chief Architect at the Satellite Applications Catapult and Distinguished Visitor at NPL.

Mike led the Science and Engineering profession and advised DIT on science, engineering and technology. He supported DIT on the technical aspects of trade, inward investment and international engineering collaboration, and worked with the UK’s research, innovation and academic communities to boost technology and engineering exports. He also represented DIT on many cross HMG committees such as Telecoms, Space, Health and Quantum, and on overseas delegations such as Mobile World Congress 2023 , CES and Web Summit 2022. He was an active member of GoScience CSA activities and a Board member on Innovate UK for 4 years to Q1 2023.

Mike has 4 decades of experience in electronics and telecommunications. This included a role as Vice President of Telefonica, the parent company of the O2 mobile phone network to the end of 2016. Since 1987, he has managed the launch of 2G (GSM) and 3G mobile technologies in the UK, helped win mobile licenses overseas, established an EU office in Brussels, and later led international research (including 4G / 5G), innovation and standards for Telefonica Europe. He also was the lead contact with the UK / EU Research programmes and International Standards, and managed the engagement with UK Universities. During this period he ran trials for Mobile TV, Smart metering, Driverless cars, and IoT.

He has also led the development and collaboration in areas such as Digital health, IoT, and cybersecurity including active participation in PETRAS and iSense multi year programmes linked to key Universities.  His career includes the promotion of international technical standards in mobile and digital technology. He is a former Chairman of the Global GSM Association, the UK Mobile Data Association, and was President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology in 2011/2012. Amongst other Board roles he has sat on the Boards of ETSI , Tech UK , Innovate UK, UK 5G and UK Telecomms Innovation Network Advisory Board.  He is currently a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Surrey and Strathclyde. He holds honorary doctorates from Brunel and Warwick Universities amongst others, and was honoured with a CBE in 2012 for his services to the mobile industry.

Nick Smith - Senior Policy Manager, Security Industry Engagement Team, OSCT, Home Office

SIG Champions

Andre Burgess - Strategic Partnerships, Security and Resilience, National Physical Laboratory

NPL’s nominated SIG Champion, Andre Burgess runs Strategic partnerships for the Digital Sector at NPL where he is also leading on its activities in CAV R&D as well as the development of new testing infrastructure for future integrated communications networks. Andre has a long experience in product and service innovation in the TMT sector, including NTL (now Virgin Media) and Three. He subsequently established a successful business designing and deploying disruptive digital end user products and services. More recently he turned his focus on the energy and environment sector, working with distributed generators, housing providers and local authorities, to develop innovative data centric services to optimise localised energy generation and affordable smart home services. With a mission to ensure data can be trusted and shared openly in the future, he joined NPL in 2017.

John Okas - CCO, Real Wireless

John has worked in wireless and telecommunications throughout his career. Initially with Motorola and Racal in engineering and product marketing roles. He was a founding director of NTL (now Arqiva), initially as Business Development Director building and managing the complete commercial organisation. He also managed the R&D Group which developed one of the first commercially available MPEG video compression systems. Then as Managing Director - Telecommunications he was responsible for growing NTL's wireless business using NTL’s extensive tower portfolio and nationwide field operations capability and entering the fixed telecommunications and satellite services markets. Moving to Pell Frischmann, the consulting engineers, he started a telecommunications business and was involved in several large transportation projects including the Highways Agency's NRTS Project which updated the communication systems on the strategic Road Network and he first got involved in smart metering. Currently as CCO for Real Wireless he undertakes business strategy and development activities, as well as delivering various projects. Recent projects include assessing the implications of the sunset of 2G and 3G networks in the UK and analysing various aspects of smart metering in the UK. He takes a strong interest in the evolving NTN and M2M markets and the evolution of energy communication networks.

Tom Robinson - CPO, Conigital

Tom has worked in the software and advanced technology industry for over 35 years with 25+ years in automotive. During this time Tom has provided leadership in several world class automotive consultancies including Pi Technology, Ricardo, Applus IDIADA and Conigital. For 6 years Tom supported InnovITS (UK Centre of Excellence for Tranport Telematics and Sustainable Mobility) as a non-executive director, helping promote the establishment of UK ITS capability. He has championed and directed several world class innovation programmes in the ITS field including TfNSW’s Ute, EU’s SARTRE, InnovITS FaCITS, TSB’s ERTOC and Innovate UK’s MuCCA, CONNECTOR and MACAM projects.  Tom is currently working at EVIE Autonomous, a technology company developing and offering level four off-highway self-driving technology systems that can be installed into any vehicle.  In 2022 EVIE acquired the assets and IP of Westfield Autonomous Vehicles, adding the world’s most successful autonomous PRT platform (as run at Heathrow airport) to EVIES matchless CAVONIX autonomous vehicle stack. As CPO at EVIE, Tom is helping drive the future towards CAV.

Nigel Wall - Director, Climate Associates Ltd

Nigel has been involved with connected vehicle research since 1992 when he led BT’s mobile data research team – initially using modems on first generation analogue TACS mobile phones! Since 2001 he has provided consultancy complex-systems, with a primary specialism in connected vehicles. He acted as the Monitoring Officer for twelve of the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle research projects supported by Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. Climate Associates provides consultancy on delivering pragmatic sustainable systems and services, based on life cycle assessments where wholesale replacement of current systems with lower footprint solutions may not be the most sustainable option.

Event Location

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Location info

Hethel Innovation, Hethel Engineering Centre, Chapman Way, Hethel, Norwich, NR14 8FB

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