Enterprising businesses and innovators with new ideas on how to manage hazards across National Highways’ roads network could receive up to £90,000 to develop their concepts.
National Highways has today (8 November) launched a new innovation competition which will help to protect road users by better managing hazards on the country’s motorways and major A roads.
National Highways’ Head of Strategy Implementation, James Gibson, said: “We are always looking for new and innovative ways to help improve the safety of people who use or work on our roads. Safety is our number one priority so if we can find better ways of identifying, analysing and responding to hazards, that could ultimately help to prevent road accidents and people coming to harm on our roads.
“In this competition, we are particularly targeting small or medium enterprises that may not have worked with us before and could have, as yet undiscovered, innovation gems to share with us around dealing with hazards. We look forward to hearing your exciting new ideas.”
National Highways is working with Connected Places Catapult on the Hazard Protection on Roads Accelerator which is open for applications until midnight on 31 December.
The applications could offer a completely novel approach to the issue, apply existing technologies in new areas or develop new technologies for existing areas. The innovations must fall within one of the following categories:
• Gathering data about hazards on roads – technologies which contribute to identifying and gathering data on hazards such as CCTV data, analytics, satellite and in-car data including GPS and vehicle sensors
• Streamlining hazard responses – helping to respond quickly and accurately to any identified hazard, solutions could include automatically alerting drivers, automated responses and clean-up of hazards and notifying professionals such as traffic officers
• Improving driver notification of hazards – better notification to drivers when a hazard is identified or, for planned roadworks, making sure drivers are aware and know how to safely navigate.
• Improving testing of hazard detection technology – this aims to assess the real-world performance of any technology, enabling smoother software updates and also to generate datasets on hazard detection performance.
• Influencing drivers to reduce unsafe behaviour – we want to identify and accelerate any innovations which could reduce unsafe driving behaviour such as using mobile phones at the wheel.
Applicants have until midnight 31 December 2023 to submit their ideas after which judges will select up to 10 finalists to take their designs forward with funding of £15,000 to £30,000 to develop their ideas.
The submissions will then be whittled down to five and those projects awarded up to £60,000 to deliver their trials over a five-month period.
All 10 finalists will be guided through a bespoke programme tailored to their requirements offering coaching and mentoring, business development opportunities and technical and procurement support.
The competition is open to small or medium sized enterprises with less than 250 employees.
Anybody interested in applying can join an application support webinar taking place on 21 November, from 2pm until 3.30pm. For more information about the webinar and the competition visit the webpage here:
For further information please contact the Accelerator Programme Manager: Natasha.Giroux@cp.catapult.org.uk