New 3M BIC tenant, Simplifai Systems, held an event at 3M BIC last month to mark the official opening of the Huddersfield AI Transport Research Centre, which is based at the centre.
The launch event held on the 22 November was attended by 3M BIC’s CEO, Sue Cooke, as well as other members of the collaborating organisations, which include Kirklees Council and the University of Huddersfield.
Simplifai Systems was created through a collaboration between KAM Futures (a company based at the 3M BIC) and the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Planning, Autonomy and Representation of Knowledge. The collaboration is set to transform and improve traffic on our roads through a new form of Smart City Traffic Management using Artificial Intelligence (AI).
KAM Futures have been at the 3M BIC since 2017, so when it came to look for the location for Simplifai Systems’ Transport AI Research Centre, the 3M BIC was the natural choice due to its proximity to the University of Huddersfield and its Centre for Planning, Autonomy and Representation of Knowledge.
Since 2019, Simplifai Systems has been collaborating with Kirklees Council, undertaking a feasibility study for Highways England (recently renamed National Highways) into Integrated Corridor Management. The study led to a pilot project around Wakefield Road near the 3M BIC, which started just before the start of the COVID pandemic. A Virtual Research Centre was also established to support the project.
The collaboration with Kirklees Council and the wider West Yorkshire regions should result in a more Sustainable Transport Network, which will benefit the region as a whole. Following a successful proof of concept project with Transport for Greater Manchester, patents for the new form of traffic control have already been filed in the UK, US and China. With this collaboration also leading to over £3 million in projects and investments for the Kirklees based organisations involved.
Last year Simplifai also kick-started its first project with the NHS to address the impacts of poor air quality on health and reduce the carbon emissions from Health Service-related transport movements.
Innovation in AI needs to combine three key components – domain expertise, AI expertise and the ability to commercialise the outcomes. Simplifai Systems’ commercial capabilities complements KAM Futures’ transport domain expertise and the international leadership in AI from the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Planning, Autonomy and Representation of Knowledge. It recently helped the University of Huddersfield’s Dr Mauro Vallati secure a £1.4 EPSRC Future Leaders Fellowship to research the use of AI in transport.
Founder and CEO of Simplifai Systems, Keith McCabe, said: “At present Simplifai Systems is concentrating on delivering its systems to Transport and Health Authorities in the North of England. We are also in discussion with partners in the rest of the UK, the United States and China to ensure the outcomes from the research centre are suitable for deployments, not just in the North of England but to address transport issues elsewhere in the UK and the rest of the world.
“The 3M BIC provides the perfect location to undertake the research to support the first wave of deployments across the North of England. It was important to welcome Tracy Brabin the Mayor of West Yorkshire to the Research Centre on her recent visit to the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre as we hope to roll out our technology across the West Yorkshire Region.”
Recently, Keith was appointed as Transport Technology Industry (ITS UK) Carbon Ambassador to support the industry-wide efforts to address Climate Change and achieve net zero transport in the UK.
Simplifai Systems are supported by Angel Investment, most recently by an investment from Manchester-based GC Angels.