The UK travel and mobility industry is set to be transformed by data with the launch of a national data exchange named ConVEx.

Announced today, ConVEx has been given £8m funding – £4m is from the UK Government’s Testbed UK Fund and the rest from the private sector – to open up British travel data to businesses and innovators, in a bid to generate new transport technologies and products.

The exchange is being established by a public-private consortium led by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM). Other members include Jaguar Land Rover, Bosch and Warwick Manufacturing Group, as well as three “innovation partners”: Immense, Valerann and Synaptiv.

It will aggregate data from a multitude of sources, including publically available data, licenced data and datasets that need to be directly purchased. ConVEx will also clean up and analyse data to make it easier for companies to use.

This will not only allow organisations, from startups through to established companies, to leverage the data to develop new transport technologies and platforms, but will also give companies with dormant data an additional revenue steam, TfWM has said.

Travel data exchange to grow UK’s presence in mobility tech sector

The launch of ConVEx is designed to boost the UK’s presence in the mobility technology sector, an area that is seeing significant disruption on numerous fronts worldwide.

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It is hoped that the data exchange will help boost the development of new services across the travel industry, including within connected and autonomous vehicles, freight and passenger services, intelligent infrastructure and fleet operations.

While data can be invaluable to the development of new platforms and technologies in this space, data sharing has historically been a challenge for businesses, which is why this facility is being seen as a vital booster to the travel industry.

“The ConVEx is intended to signal the end of hard to reach data and overly complex relationships between data providers and consumers that ultimately stall our market growth and potential,” said Mike Waters, director of innovation, policy and strategy for TfWM.

“From adaptive cruise control to traffic sign recognition, the vehicles we drive are getting increasingly advanced as technologies develop rapidly,” added Nadhim Zahawi, MP and parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

“At the heart of this technology are vast amounts of data. This funding will help companies use and share that data securely and meaningfully – boosting the innovations that keep our vehicles safe and efficient.”

ConVEx will be established in a facility in the West Midlands, hosted at the Warwick Manufacturing Group Campus at the University of Warwick. A partner office will also be set up at Bosch’s Connectory facility, which is located in London.

This will see the facility developed over the next few months, with commercial data sharing set to begin in late 2020.

Read more: How data is powering smart city micromobility and public transport