Westcott Business Incubation Centre

Valerann Case Study

Valerann’s Smart Road Studs offer a universal connected transportation infrastructure.

Route to Impact

Valerann Image 1There is significant global competition to deliver the future mobility systems that will revolutionise the movement of people and goods around the world.  We have helped Valerann, the first graduate of the Catapult’s Westcott Business Incubation Centre (BIC), to accelerate their ambitions, scaling up transformation of the intelligent transportation industry, disrupting the £52B Intelligent Transportation Systems market.

Valerann’s Smart Road Studs (SRS) will provide accurate, reliable data and roadside communication, to improve the journey experience for road users.  Safe and secure protocols for commercial sharing of data for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) will meet both customer and market demand.  Hardware installed on roads and motorways plus a software as a service solution will provide the data required to deliver a Business to Government (B2G) connected transportation eco-system.

Impact

  • Enabling the introduction of connected autonomous vehicles – This will improve traffic flow, improve safety and reduce congestion and lower emission.
  • Employment of three new staff – Two data scientists and one front-end engineer recruited with plans to expand the core team in the UK.

The Solution

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The Catapult supported GPS integration into the foundations of Valerann’s system providing connectivity to a sensory IoT traffic management system. This transmits information in real-time at a vastly reduced cost, such as the exact driving pattern of every vehicle on the road so we can track where they are within or along the lane and how they interact with other vehicles.

This technology improvement is vital to Valerann in achieving an off-grid approach with wireless transfer, removing the need to link to power lines and communication infrastructure. The Valerann gateway collects data from 200 sensors and autonomous vehicles within a range of 500m. The product is enabled to operate at scale and is future proofed for any road where there is no connectivity.

The Catapult invested in a 200 metre off-the-grid two-lane road at Westcott to develop capability and test for improved safety, efficiency and environmental performance in advance of upcoming CAV trials.  Valerann will use this to expedite technology developments and showcase the SRS system live.

Outcomes

  • Progression towards commercialisation of a future-proofed SRS technology.
  • Reduced cost and risk associated with development of the new SRS product by 85%.
  • Improved technical knowledge and skills amongst the team including Product Manager training.

Outputs

An enhanced SRS product

The solution provides 50X more data points per KM at <5% of the cost of comparable solutions, 68% improvement in road safety for all vehicles, 32% reduction in fatalities through improved road safety for all vehicles, 20% decrease in traffic congestion, and enables clearly defined operational decisions to be made by road operators and planners.

Collaborative R&D bid

Enables SRS road trial approved by DfT.

The Future

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Our introduction to Milton Keynes Council to test the SRS has opened-up an opportunity to work with Department for Transport, who have given consent to use the A41 to install and test the SRS.  This will measure capability on a road carrying more than 10,000 vehicles per day.  By mid-summer 2020, Valerann aims to have approval for large-scale installations on UK roads, rolling out their machine-learning algorithms.  These will detect risks, prevent accidents, optimise intersections, automate traffic control centres, and support CAVs.

This partnership has created secured R&D investment from government and venture capitalists alike, paving the way for a Smart Road System that will scale internationally.

Valerann’s business model provides small cloud data hubs in host countries whilst expanding core development team in their UK Head Quarters.  Since joining the BIC, the UK team employs an additional three data scientists and a front-end engineer, and there are plans to recruit a further six staff within the next two years.

Valerann were selected by PUBLIC, the GovStart accelerator as one of ten most promising GovTech startups and by CES as one of three companies in Europe to win the CES2020 Best of Innovation award.

The Westcott BIC is one part of the Catapult’s Westcott facility for which there is a ten-year vision to augment UAV development and next generation resilient communication networks and develop a powerful ecosystem that accelerates the development of new technology and applications for high growth markets.

The equipment, facilities and technical expertise available at the Westcott BIC are first class. The technical collaboration has been pivotal to developing our SRS product and the team facilitating the Milton Keynes trial marks a major milestone for us. This will help enormously to test and future proof our product at a much lower cost and risk threshold.

Michael Vardi
Valerann Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer

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