Could Exeter become a world leader for clever cars?

Exeter is set to become the UK hub for clever car technology.

A £1.8million grant has been awarded to innovative firms behind devices made for internet-enabled cars designed to help cut pollution, track stolen vehicles and tell your mechanic about a fault before you’ve even arrived at the garage.

The project will use an trailblazing in-car device developed by Exeter based Lightfoot designed to reward smoother driving styles, cutting fuel bills and pollutants on the UK’s roads.

Under the project Lightfoot will deliver its groundbreaking “Driver Ecosystem”, which rewards smoother, safer and more efficient drivers with discounts on breakdown cover, car servicing and maintenance, car insurance, car finance and car rental.

It will also allow Lightfoot to introduce technology that can tell a mechanic what’s wrong with the car before he flips the bonnet, automated breakdown provider alerts and location finder; tracker features for lost or stolen cars and business mileage directly downloaded for expenses claims.

Mark Roberts, Managing Director of Lightfoot, said: “The Government grant is a huge endorsement for our technology.

“Our next goal is to take this technology global, getting as many of the billion plus vehicles on the planet to be driven as efficiently as possible. Through the government grant and our work to advance connected car technology, we believe that this ambition is possible.”

The project will also draw on Securious, a cyber security compliance company based in the Exeter Science Park, to find new and better solutions for connected car security.

The cash has been awarded by Innovate UK, part of the Government’s commitment to invest in the Connected Car sector – one of the world’s fastest growing technology areas.

Connected cars have in-vehicle wireless connectivity and is rapidly expanding from luxury models to high-volume mid-market models.

The funding allows a consortium led by Lightfoot, including The Institute of Advanced Motorists, Securious, Revolve Technologies and the University of Bath, to develop connected transportation solutions with a view to managing communications between self-drive and traditionally driven vehicles.

Lightfoot will receive almost £1million from the grant, cementing its position as one of the UK’s leading businesses in the global race to develop connected transportation solutions and places Exeter and the South West as a hub of national excellence.

The funding is one of 38 automotive research and development projects to receive a share of £109 million announced by the business secretary Greg Clark and transport minister John Hayes.

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