The UK’s Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) has announced that Korean auto maker Hyundai Motor Group and transit operator Stagecoach are the latest high-profile partners to join the Intelligent Mobility (IM) Accelerator program in Milton Keynes.
The IM Accelerator is a partnership between the TSC and influential startup accelerator Wayra UK that is part of Telefónica Open Future. The program is designed to attract disruptive startups specializing in transport systems with high-growth potential, in order to help them grow into world-leading companies that promote UK business and create jobs.
As sponsoring partner, Hyundai Motor Group, which includes both Hyundai and Kia Motors, will support startups with associated opportunities for business development and investment, and designate relevant experts to provide appropriate support.
The Stagecoach Group – one of the leading international public transport companies, which runs bus, coach, rail, and tram services with operations in the UK, USA and Canada – will provide similar support, and both companies will also take part in the startup selection process for the program.
The IM Accelerator program focuses on intelligent mobility, concentrating on areas such as connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), connected infrastructure, new business models, transport data, smart mobility, fintech (financial technology), and artificial intelligence (AI).
Its goal is to develop companies that will create solutions for the most pressing transport problems facing the world today, improving day-to-day life for millions of travelers, while simultaneously creating new UK-based industry leaders in a £900bn (US$1.1tr) global transport systems market.
Currently accepting applications for its second round of startup businesses, the IM Accelerator program supports two cohorts of six companies a year, based in Milton Keynes. It is supported by global technology consultancy ThoughtWorks, and the UK’s national railway infrastructure operator Network Rail, as well as Telefónica Smart Steps, the arm of the Spanish telecommunications provider that is using data to help cities take a smarter approach to population flows and movement.
Startups accepted to the program get a six-month support package and will also gain access to Wayra UK’s and the TSCs networks of investors, government agencies, customers, large corporates and universities.
“We’re extremely excited to have both Hyundai and Stagecoach on board with the IM Accelerator. Both have a strong focus on innovation, and having these two world-leading companies on board will ensure startup companies who enter the program will be able to access both the motor industry and a large breadth of the public transport sector,” commented the TSC’s director of SME strategy Alex Weedon.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the intelligent mobility solutions this will enable, and we are sure will lead to a new set of successful businesses launching in the UK transport industry.”
Youngcho Chi, chief innovation officer and EVP of Hyundai, noted, “The rise of megacities will bring many challenges, and auto makers need to be prepared to overcome them. We are pleased to support and work with the out-of-the-box approaches of these innovative UK startups to rethink the transportation system for the benefit of future societies.”