Innovations in the automotive industry and the renaissance of the UK automotive industry will be examined by experts from industry and academia at a conference hosted by the Royal Academy of Engineering on 29 January.

The Innovation in automotive conference is part of the Academy’s Innovation in... series and will look at what consumers can expect from the automotive industry in 2020.

Keynote speaker Lord Drayson will analyse the reasons behind the UK automotive industry’s renaissance and the competitive advantages that the UK has in attracting investment in the automotive industry such as its strong R&D base, world-class motorsport and performance engineering sectors, high manufacturing productivity and its long heritage in premium vehicle brands. Lord Drayson will also talk about how the low carbon technology used in Drayson Racing cars is developed and how it filters down into the mainstream automotive sector to create smarter consumer cars.

He will also set out his views on some of the policy implications for an effective future government industrial strategy to build on these strengths and ensure future growth as the new hybrid and electric vehicle technologies come to market.

Chair of the conference and President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Sir John Parker GBE FREng, says: “The Academy welcomes the government’s move towards a modern industrial strategy, which is much needed and most welcome – we need to make the most economic capital from our world-class engineering and science capability. The transformation of the automotive industry is a brilliant success story and an example of great engineering and business, of which the UK is rightly proud. However, in order to stay competitive and successful, we need more engineers and urge government and business to support STEM education to open doors to great job prospects and inspire the engineers of tomorrow.”

Dick Glover, Research Director at McLaren will talk about the transfer of technology from the F1 racetrack to the road, including the use of brake steer and carbon fibre.

Jerry Hardcastle, Global Chief Marketability Engineer and Technical Director Global Motorsports, Nissan and Professor Richard Dashwood, Academic Director, Warwick Manufacturing Group will detail research collaborations between industry and academia.

Lifting the lid on the latest innovations, Steven Sapsford, Global Market Sector Director, high performance and Motorsport at Ricardo will talk about high performance cars and the latest low carbon technologies, while Mark White, Chief Technical Specialist at Jaguar Land Rover will focus on the use of materials within its lightweight vehicle strategy.

There will be a panel discussion on what consumers can expect from their cars in the future. Mark Walker, Managing Director of ZipCar, will discuss the changing car user habits and an increasing desire for ‘access and experience’ in favour of owning a vehicle, while Tony Douglas, General Manager, Sales and Marketing mobility Services, BMW Group will focus on consumer car innovation.

As well as exploring innovation and links between academia and industry as well as high performance and consumer cars, the conference highlights the transformation of the UK automotive industry.

Notes for editors

  1. For more information about the conference and to book your place, please visit:
  2. Founded in 1976, the Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Sarah Griffiths at The Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 020 7766 0655