The VENTURER consortium joined leading tech companies and innovators at Venturefest on Friday 3 February to showcase their contribution to smart city living with connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV).
The event took place at the University of the West of England’s Future Space, a new business hub and exhibition venue situated next to the Bristol Robotics Lab (BRL), where the VENTURER simulator and Wildcat vehicle are housed.
Venturefest is a forum for companies embracing Future Cities technology and this year will take the form of a series of events, which started with a seminar series and investor showcase delivered by Invest Bristol & Bath (IBB) in partnership with Innovate UK. This event‘s aim was to explore solutions to the technology challenges of a future city and showcased some of the smart technologies that are transforming the Bristol and Bath region from driverless cars, to robotic companions, and virtual reality office environments. The day-long event received over 350 visitors and there was much interest in the consortium from local businesses, companies and researchers.
Venturefest is supported by the University of Bristol (UoB) and the University of the West of England (UWE) who are represented in the VENTURER Consortium by Dr Rob Piechocki (UoB) and Professor Graham Parkhurst (UWE) and their teams.
The Wildcat vehicle enjoyed pride of place at Venturefest and was one of the first things delegates saw when arriving at the Future Space venue.
The project gained further exposure on a large stand in the demonstration zone, which saw a constant stream of intrigued delegates throughout the day. The VENTURER Consortium were represented by members of staff from Atkins, Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council who were available throughout the day to take questions and inform delegates about the project’s progress so far. Inquisitive tech experts and entrepreneurs visiting the stand could also view the VENTURER showreel video and speak to representatives from the project.
As well as the exhibitor’s area and demonstration zone, the event also featured a timetable of speakers and presentations. John McNichol delivered a presentation on VENTURER and FLOURISH to a packed room and also discussed the wider CAV environment in the UK. This was a great opportunity to share with interested parties how the South West’s driverless car project is developing, alongside information about the ‘sister’ project FLOURISH. During the talk John reinforced the fact that development of connected and autonomous vehicles is very much dependent on human machine learning and artificial intelligence.
The day was a great success for VENTURER with many interesting contacts made with local and national companies. The discussions that took place confirmed that CAVs are increasingly recognised as a vital component in the future of smart cities.
The event further verified the South West as an innovative region for new technology, and showed that the area has the skills and ambition required to lead the way with connected technology. We look forward to taking part in other similar events, including a further event planned to take place at Future Space this summer.
The Venturefest Series will continue with events throughout the year culminating in a main Showcase in October 2017 which will shine the spotlight on the region’s tech cluster.