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Altran Foundation

Press release issued: 25 June 2001

Altran Foundation for Innovation 2001 - UK Prize Winner

A team originating from the University of Bristol and led by Professor Martin Lowson has won a European prize, sponsored by French technology consulting group, Altran. The prize offers the Bristol team a years free technology consultancy to help bring their idea to market along with a cash prize.

The Altran Foundation for Innovation has operated for 5 years, launching an annual European competition themed on technological innovation and significant issues relating to the public. The theme for 2001 focused on ways of improving the quality of life in cities. The European competition attracted entries from 12 countries, and Professor Lowson's team, one of 6 finalists, was awarded one of the two major prizes.

The winning project, 'ULTra', proves that sci-fi can be delivered today using 'off the shelf' technology.

ULTra is an automatic personal taxi, it runs on its own guide-way and is activated by a smart card. As a passenger, you turn up at a 'taxi rank', swipe your card which programmes the cab with your destination. Journeys can be up to 3 times faster than alternatives - and empty vehicles are automatically sent to locations where they are required

The low energy system offers comfortable transport, minimum emissions and low resource utilisation in both build and operations. ULTra has already received acclaim and funding support from the DTI and the DETR. Cardiff City Council is examining its potential as a core element of their integrated transport strategy with first operations planned for 2003.

"The concept was initially developed by the Advanced Transport Group at the University. We have now formed a company, Advanced Transport Systems Ltd. and are working with international partners developing applications to provide effective and sustainable transport," said Professor Lowson.

Commenting on the team's success, Martin said, "We are delighted about the prize fund and particularly the year of technological consultancy offered by Altran. Their support and expertise will be of invaluable help in bringing the project to reality. We hope our success will encourage more UK companies - and individuals - to take up the Altran Foundation challenge in the future."

For more information contact Maria Potempski at Audax Communications 0115 9417887 or Martin Lowson on 0117 973 7777.

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Copyright: 2001 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Monday, 25-Jun-2001 09:26:58 BST

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