Is innovation in the UK motor industry
heading for the exit?
IPAN’s annual flagship Industry-Parliament event celebrating World IP Day at the House of Commons Terrace Pavilion took place on the 24th April 2019.
The event was again hosted by Pete Wishart MP, Chair of the APPG for IP, introduced by Chris Skidmore MP, Minister for IP and chaired by John Ogier, IPAN Chairman.
Below is a summary of the speakers discussion and photographs from the event taken by Fiona Hanson.
Chris Skidmore, Minister for IP and education, described the challenges of working across two departments with a broad portfolio from technologies, universities, industrial strategy and space exploration. However, he described intellectual property as the golden thread that runs through all his work in government, the nerve centre of his role since IP links research, economic growth, the arts, sciences and underpins our economy as a whole. He noted that the withdrawal from the EU has created a period of uncertainty but recognised the priority for the government to ensure a smooth and effective IP system regardless of the outcome of the negotiations, preparing for all eventualities, taking forward 5 statutory instruments to the commons specifically related to IP.
Manjari Chandran-Ramesh, Investment Director at IP Group plc
IP Group led the 2018 investment round in Oxbotica, the autonomous vehicle software developer that brings autonomy to any vehicle. She said that autonomous vehicles are already being tested on UK roads and that she believes that we will see autonomous vehicles operating in very specific areas at first and expanding to longer journeys, regulation permitting.
Stephen Lambert, Head of Automotive Electrification at McLaren Applied Technologies
Stephen recognised the importance of protecting IP for key innovations, citing the carbon fibre chassis technology that is now widely used in formula 1. He gave examples of inventions that were developed in motor-sport and have been commercialised to benefit the public as a whole such as disc brakes. He discussed the move towards autonomous vehicles and electronic batteries, mentioning that since McLaren provide the powertrain for all 40 Formula E cars in motor racing’s inaugural season, winning every race!
David Wong, Senior Technology and Innovation Manager, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
David’s talk focused on Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV), saying that two thirds of new cars sold in the UK today have some form of connectivity and predicting that by 2026, all new cars sold here will be connected. He recognised the growing importance of IP in light of the rise of digital connectivity and services such as automated driving software, fuel cell tech, and battery management systems, but argued that IP needs to be supported by an excellent business model in order to be of utility.