V-CAL Project features at the UK’s leading low carbon vehicle and connected automated mobility showcase

V-CAL, the ground-breaking connected automation logistics (CAL) project, pioneered in the North East and aiming to advance beyond initial proof-of-concept (PoC), exhibited at Cenex LCV this September.

The primary networking and showcasing event for the low carbon vehicle and connected automated mobility communities, took place on 6-7th September, at UTAC in Millbrook, Bedfordshire.

Consortium partners including the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA), Vantec Europe and StreetDrone represented the V-CAL Project which will expand upon the achievements of the 5G CAL project funded by the Department for Digital Culture Media & Sport (DCMS).

The 5G CAL project successfully demonstrated a PoC by autonomously operating a 40-tonne truck through a tele operations rig, to deliver live loads from Vantec Europe to Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK (NMUK).

V-CAL, based in Sunderland, has been awarded £4 million from the government’s £42 million Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) competition through the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV).

As the V-CAL Project seeks to scale and expand the deployment of CAL to future-proof commercial opportunities and drive significant UK growth in this sector, Cenex LCV was a must-attend event for the project team.

Now in its 16th year, Cenex LCV brings together almost 5,000 policymakers, government agencies, funders, fleet managers, charge point infrastructure experts and thought leaders from around the world, as the transport sector continues its transition to net zero.

This year, the co-located Cenex-CAM, which is now in its 6th year, had a dedicated showcase area for the first time and its own extensive seminar programme to mark the growth in CAM.

V-CAL partner, StreetDrone, presented as part of the extensive seminar programme. StreetDrone, a leading developer of autonomous technologies designed to progressively automate first-mile logistics, showcased the latest developments and innovations across the CAM sector directly to leading industry stakeholders, game changers and influencers.

Paul Butler, CEO of the NEAA, said: “Cenex LCV allowed us to showcase the V-CAL project capability and industry-leading technology. Amongst this we want to continue to raise awareness of the unparalleled level of expertise, innovation and investment that can be found within the North East region, that puts it at the forefront of the move to vehicle electrification and CAL.

“As a cluster, we continue to work towards building on the 5GCAL and V-CAL projects to establish a National Innovation Centre for Connected Autonomous Logistics here in the North East.”

Martin Kendall, managing director at Vantec Europe Limited said: “As an organisation we are committed to, and investing in, becoming carbon and net zero by 2050. V-CAL can support the future of sustainable logistic transport around the world.

“Being at Cenex LCV allowed us to showcase significant steps towards autonomous delivery and supply chain ambitions through a collaborative partnership approach. Our challenge for V-CAL is to have our HGV driver removed from the vehicle and operating the tele operations rig, controlling up to three autonomous vehicles at one time. We are helping to build resilience in the sector and creating skilled jobs to offer a very credible complementary logistics solution to our partners.”


Notes to Editor

The North East Automotive Alliance is an industry-led cluster group, established to support the economic sustainable growth and competitiveness of the sector in the North East of England. Launched in March 2015, now with over 300 cluster participants, the NEAA is the largest automotive cluster in the UK and one of the fastest-growing clusters across Europe. Our aim is simple – to build upon the region’s significant automotive capability and to firmly establish the North East as a true global automotive powerhouse – ensuring North East is at the forefront of the Governments strategy to ensure the technologies of tomorrow are designed, developed and manufactured in the UK. The NEAA focuses on: Networking & Connectivity, Business Resilience, Skills & Training, Innovation & Technology, Collaboration, Promotion, Industry Voice.

Vantec Europe Limited started providing Logistics and Warehousing services to its main automotive client in Washington, Sunderland in 1990 as part of a joint venture activity. Since then, Vantec Europe Ltd has grown organically and developed its range of services to become a preferred 3PL (third party logistics) provider, with 12 operations in the UK and a key customer base including in the automotive and premium vehicles; construction equipment; lighting; electric battery and offshore renewable energy industries.

Vantec is linked to Nissan through a private road on the southeast of Nissan providing circa 200 deliveries a day. If proved financially viable this project has the potential to allow Vantec to increase deliveries into the automotive client by circa 18  deliveries daily from Vantec to Nissan utilising zero-emission autonomous yard trucks.

StreetDrone’s mission is to create the world’s most sustainable, efficient and safest logistics solution. The company is a leading developer of autonomous technologies designed to progressively automate first-mile logistics, with zero emissions, zero delays and zero incidents. As a leading technology developer, StreetDrone’s strengths lie across the full stack, from low-level embedded control systems and hardware design to autonomous software and teleoperation systems.