Investments in the future of the UK’s advanced manufacturing industry have been stacking up this month
The weather may not be playing ball, but spring has certainly sprung for the engineering and manufacturing sectors. Fresh green shoots of innovation have been popping up all over the country in March, as new projects are announced and multi-million pound facilities are launched.
In the West Midlands, In-Comm Training unveiled a new £3 million technical academy that will help to bridge the skills gap and prepare the region for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Meanwhile, in Yorkshire, specialist industrial automation business, Univer Manufacturing Company, completed a £2.45 million project to transform a disused council building into a new manufacturing site that is packed with the latest CNC technologies. The expansion will support the company’s growth ambitions as it looks to take a bigger share of global markets after Brexit.
Derby can look forward to a major innovation boost now that a collaboration agreement has been signed between the city council, the D2N2 LEP and the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centres. The consortium plans to establish a new 50,000 sq ft base at Infinity Park, allowing more technologies to be developed regionally.
More controversially, trials of self-driving cars went ahead on the streets of Milton Keynes – despite the recent tragedy in the US. A mother-of-two became the first pedestrian to be killed by an autonomous vehicle when she was struck by a self-driving Uber while crossing the street in Arizona.
Just days later, Rolls-Royce completed a major project on autonomous vessels, which found that the technology could meet current collision avoidance rules at sea.
There was always going to be inherent risk behind self-driving vehicles of any kind. Now that the inevitable first tragedy has occurred, the challenge for developers of autonomous technology has become even more urgent.