Cellnex and Three UK have signed an agreement to significantly enhance connectivity on the London to Brighton railway route.
The company has highlighted that the partnership will see Three host its mobile voice and data equipment on newly deployed Cellnex UK infrastructure along the entire London to Brighton railway route.
Three UK is the first of the UK’s four MNOs to sign an agreement to join the service, which is part of Cellnex UK’s delivery on a 25-year contract with Network Rail to provide enhanced connectivity for passengers and communities along the Brighton Mainline route.
Three customers will be able to notice a considerable difference to their mobile and data connectivity from later this year, with an uninterrupted connectivity experience along the line. This will appear both onboard stations and at major stations including Clapham Junction, Croydon, London Bridge and London Victoria.
“The lack of reliable connectivity along complete rail journeys is a frustration shared by many passengers and is something that Network Rail is keen to address. As a neutral host and via shared investments, Cellnex provides value to both mobile operators and Network Rail. Therefore, this agreement with Three UK is a hugely positive step in improving Three UK customer experience along the Brighton Mainline route” said David Crawford, Managing Director, Cellnex UK. “The Brighton Mainline project supports the UK Government’s Digital Strategy, is an important element of Network Rail’s ‘putting passengers first’ vision and will also drive environmental efficiency as people are encouraged to swap cars for trains”
The Brighton Mainline service runs 51 miles from London to the South Coast, through some of the UK’s most densely populated areas. At their busiest, Brighton Mainline and its branch lines carry 50,000 passengers every day.
The release highlighted that currently, mobile internet and connectivity between London and Brighton varies from a strong signal to no connectivity at all because of the topography and the many tunnels and cuttings along the route.
Three UK and ROI’s Chief Technical Officer, David Hennessy, said: “At Three UK our mission is to provide better connectivity, every day, for every customer. Enhancing our customer experience is at the heart of this strategy and we know vital it is for people to stay seamlessly connected wherever they may be. With our 4G network now covering 99% of the UK outdoor population, carrying 28% of mobile data traffic, together with our partner, Cellnex UK, we are proud to lead the way in extending this to rail routes typically blighted by patchy coverage.”
Three UK’s equipment will be hosted on newly deployed open route ‘Macro Sites’, station Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) and special coverage DAS, which will provide their customers with uninterrupted coverage in previous ‘not-spots’ such as tunnels and cuttings and in congested locations including busy stations and peak-time trains.
Network rail has announced a new partnership with Connected Places Catapult, that will see Bristol Temple Meads host trials of innovative passenger technologies.
Catapult is directing millions of pounds of Innovative UK funding into the programme, which will see Bristol’s station named as the UK’s first Station Innovation Zone. The programme will run for five years and will lead the way for other stations to model their approach based on this.
The programme will see startups being selected that are aiming to test new ways to improve various aspects of the passenger experience. This includes making journeys smoother with smart ticketing, making stations more accessible with wayfinding apps; from using AI to improve people flow, to designing better facilities using human-centered design principles.
“We’re delighted to be partnering with Connected Places Catapult on this new programme which will provide SMEs with crucial funding opportunities and Network Rail with new, innovative ideas on how to further enhance the experience of our passengers,” said Francis McGarry, Network Rail Wales & Western region Investment Director. “We are committed to developing Bristol Temple Meads into a world class transport hub for the benefit of our passengers, the city of Bristol and wider West of England region, so it is fitting Bristol Temple Meads has been chosen as the UK’s first Station Innovation Zone.”
Nicola Yates OBE, CEO of Connected Places Catapult, said: “Partnering with Network Rail to create a multi-year Station Innovation Zone in Bristol’s vibrant Temple Quarter will enable us to support numerous small companies in navigating these challenges and benefit passengers’ experience of the station.”
Applications have already opened for startups to come forward to be trialed in the Station Innovation Zone. Trials are likely to begin in early 2023.
Swedish all-electric premium car maker Polestar has become a shareholder in Israeli startup StoreDot, the developer of fast-charging electric vehicle batteries.
As part of the partnership and investment agreement, Polestar will investigate utilising StoreDot’s extreme fast charging silicon-dominant batteries for future Polestar cars.
StoreDot is on track to begin mass-producing its ‘100in5’ technology batteries as early as 2024 which can achieve 100 miles of range with just a five-minute charge.
“This is yet another significant vote of confidence in StoreDot and our market-leading extreme fast charging battery. This investment from one of the pioneering electric vehicle brands is an important step in our commercialisation process,” says Meir Halberstam, StoreDot’s CFO.
“It will not only enable us to bring the ground-breaking ‘100in5’ batteries to market quicker, but also boost our R&D capabilities. We are rapidly moving towards even more game-changing technology and are laser-focused on offering 100 miles of range in just two minutes of charging, within a decade.”
Polestar’s investment comes as part of StoreDot’s Series D funding round. The company’s global strategic partners now include Daimler, BP, VinFast, Polestar parent company Volvo, Ola Electric, Samsung, TDK, and EVE Energy. Polestar will not have exclusive rights to use StoreDot’s tech
“Polestar can help shape the development of new battery technology for the automotive industry and provide invaluable insights from the perspective of a brand focused on performance and sustainability,” says Polestar CEO, Thomas Ingenlath.
“Charging and range anxiety are common concerns holding owners of combustion engine cars back from making the switch to EVs. StoreDot’s advanced battery technology potentially provides real solutions to these obstacles. If our current pilot projects with StoreDot are successful, we could see these solutions being implemented in Polestar cars by 2026.”
China- and US-based autonomous driving technology company Pony.ai has been awarded a permit to operate 100 autonomous vehicles as traditional fee-charging taxis in Nansha, Guangzhou, making it the first autonomous driving company to obtain a taxi license in China.
From May, Pony.ai will operate commercial services across the 800 square kilometres of Nansha and intends to gradually expand the scale and scope to other areas of Guangzhou. Passengers can hail rides and pay for the service through the PonyPilot+ App with fares based on local standard taxi pricing. While the service will initially operate with a safety driver, the company expects to remove the driver in the near future.
In qualifying for the license, Pony.ai had to achieve various qualification criteria set by national inspection institutions including a minimum of 24 months of autonomous driving and a million kilometres travelled, with at least 200,000 km within the proposed operational area, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents.
Pony.ai says the license award signals the Guangzhou government’s formal implementation of autonomous mobility services alongside traditional taxi and ride-hailing platforms. “Being China’s first autonomous vehicle company to receive a taxi license is a testament to Pony.ai’s technological strength and ability to operate robotaxi services. We will expand the scale of our services, provide quality travel experiences and create an industry benchmark for robotaxi services and continue to lead the commercialisation of robotaxis and robotrucks,” said James Peng, co-founder and CEO of Pony.ai.
“Both government policy and the public are increasingly accepting robotaxis as a form of everyday transportation, recognizing the ride experience and technical stability of Pony.ai’s robotaxi,” said Tiancheng Lou, co-founder and CTO of Pony.ai.
Pony.ai’s has been running trial robotaxi services in Beijing and Guangzhou since December 2018. As of mid-April 2022, it had completed more than 700,000 trips, with nearly 80% repeat users and 99% of the passengers giving positive comments and a service satisfaction rating of 4.9 on a 5-point scale.
Swedish electric car manufacturer Polestar has announced several agreements with global suppliers in its efforts to produce the “first truly climate-neutral car”.
New partnerships include German car parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen and Swedish steel company SSAB. Polestar has also signed letters of intent with Norwegian aluminium and renewable energy company Norsk Hydro, automotive safety supplier Swedish Autoliv, electronics and telecoms maker LG Corp and lighting systems and electronics company ZKW Group.
Polestar is emphasising the importance of collaboration for reaching zero-emission goals and the need for the global automotive industry to speed up the efforts for electrification.
“It was clear from the start that this is not a solo mission, and we are very excited to present such a strong line-up of interested partners,” commented Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath.
The global automotive industry is challenged by the increasing evidence that manufacturing long-range battery EVs produces high volumes of green-house-gas emissions. Polestar’s carbon foot printing analysis prompted it to draw the conclusion that its current models are still part of the problem, not the solution.
Ingenlath has previously said that “going electric is not enough, making cars electric is the starting point.”
Polestar’s ambition is to create a “truly neutral” car by 2030 in which carbon emissions are removed from the supply chain by changing the way the cars are built rather than planting trees.
The new agreements include:
SSAB will supply fossil-free steel, assisting Polestar to replace not only the conventional steel but also other materials in the car,
Norsk Hydro, the world’s largest aluminium provider and renewable energy company, will assist Polestar to switch to zero-carbon aluminium,
ZF will boost innovation in Polestar EVs by increasing overall systems competence to reduce carbon emissions and lower resource usage,
Autoliv will provide zero-emission seatbelts and airbags for Polestar cars, improving safety through eliminating CO2 emissions,
ZKW, an automotive lighting supplier, will equip Polestar EVs with climate-neutral electrical control systems and wiring.
The US state of Virginia has signed a contract with toll-based mobility solutions provider Emovis to implement a mileage-based user fee programme for an initial period of three years.
Virginia joins three other US states that have previously rolled out the solution, namely Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
According to Emovis, which is part of Spanish electronic solutions company Abertis Mobility Services, its mileage-based user fee programme can help compensate for the loss of federal and state fuel tax revenue resulting from the increase in electric and more fuel-efficient vehicles and is designed to be an equitable way to ensure all vehicle owners pay their fair share of tax.
Eligible vehicle owners will be given a choice during the annual vehicle registration process to pay a flat fee or opt for a pay-per-mile charge, capped at the equivalent of the annual flat fee.
The solution to be implemented in Virginia is based on the current Utah solution. Client authority the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles says up to 1.9 million vehicles will be eligible for the Virginia programme, which is expected to launch in July.
“This contract consolidates Emovis as a leader in the mileage-based user fee space, following the existing revenue-service programmes in Utah and Oregon,” said Christian Barrientos, CEO of Abertis Mobility Services.
“It shows a clear commitment toward mileage-based user fees in the country as an alternative for future funding and improved performance of the US transportation system.”
The Emovis solution also uses cloud analytics and mobile technology to ensure personal information and travel habits remain private.
A British government-back hydrogen-powered jet concept is promising zero emission planes capable of non-stop flight from London to San Francisco at the same speed as today’s jetliners.
The FlyZero project, led by the Aerospace Technology Institute, was unveiled this week at a meeting of the Jet Zero Council, chaired by British Transport Secretary Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP.
The FlyZero project is one of seven to have received funding through the £15 million Green Fuel, Green Skies competition.
According to a government statement the plane would be able to carry 279 passengers with the same speed and range as existing midsize passenger jets.
“The Aerospace Technology Institute’s pioneering research highlights the potential for hydrogen in realising zero-carbon global connectivity,” says Jet Zero Council CEO Emma Gilthorpe.
“This ground-breaking green technology looks set to play a critical role in decarbonising flight and through the work of the Jet Zero Council, the UK aviation sector is exploring all avenues to ensure we protect the benefits of flying for future generations while cutting the carbon cost.”
FlyZero Project Director Chris Gear adds: “At a time of global focus on tackling climate change, our midsize concept sets out a truly revolutionary vision for the future of global air travel keeping families, businesses and nations connected without the carbon footprint.
“This new dawn for aviation brings with it real opportunities for the UK aerospace sector to secure market share, highly skilled jobs and inward investment while helping to meet the UK’s commitments to fight climate change.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says, “This pioneering design for a liquid hydrogen-powered aircraft, led by a British organisation, brings us one step closer to a future where people can continue to travel and connect but without the carbon footprint.”
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