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What Car? Innovation Award 2022

11 January 2022

Source: Thatcham Research

"Thatcham Research is a strong supporter of innovations that improve the driving experience or make our roads safer. We are therefore proud to back the What Car? Innovation Award for a third year in 2022.

"The last two years have been extremely challenging for all industry sectors – including automotive and tech. With that in mind, it’s impressive that our 2022 nominees have not only managed to forge ahead with their innovations and break new ground, but have done so safely and responsibly.”

Jonathan Hewett
Chief Executive, Thatcham Research


What Car? Innovation Award 2022


Below, we explain – in alphabetical order – what these innovations do and Matthew Avery, our Chief Research Strategy Officer, gives his verdict on why they caught the judges’ eye:

BMW - HUD for the iX range

A cleverly designed Head-Up Display system for the iX range, BMW’s newest battery-electric SUV. HUD screen projection now features virtual signage, directional indicating and vastly-improved usability. Combines touchscreen and dials for ease of use.

Matthew Avery’s view:

“Head-Up Displays are nothing new but BMW’s latest system takes the technology to the next level in terms of functionality, vehicle interface and clarity. Developers have worked hard to ensure the system is not too invasive, and it scored top marks in the What Car? Distraction Test in 2021.”

Ford and Vivacity

RoadSafe project

A joint project between Ford and a UK Government-funded consortium, which includes AI sensor specialists Vivacity. This project collects and analyses driving data from connected vehicles, roadside sensors, news reports and local authorities. This enables motorists to plan safer journeys, predict hazards and hotspots, and even highlights granular details such as unrepaired potholes or badly placed signs.

Matthew Avery says:

“The future is V2X technology, where connected vehicles communicate with each other and the road infrastructure. RoadSafe is a significant project with the potential to improve road safety. We were also impressed by its collaborative approach, with Oxfordshire County Council, Loughborough University and Transport for London also involved.”


All-Electric Forecourts

A pioneering forecourt concept exclusively for EVs launched in Essex, with a further 100 sites planned across UK. Each site offers up to 36 covered charging stations, shops, eateries, airport-style lounges and business facilities. Fast-charging and tech support also available.

Matthew Avery says:

“One of the main barriers to EV adoption is a perceived lack of charging infrastructure, and the sense that EV motorists are an afterthought in terms of the quality and location of facilities. Bringing the forecourt concept to EV motoring is exactly the type of innovation that will drive wider EV adoption. And impressive capacity will make it easier for EV motorists to get a charging slot when they need it most.”


Fast Charging

Hyundai’s E-GMP Platform for its IONIQ 5 range uses an in-vehicle, 800-volt battery system to offer faster charging, increased driving range and better handling.

Matthew Avery says:

“Improvements in charging-point technology have significantly reduced charging times for EV vehicles. Hyundai’s innovation, however, puts fast-charging capability inside the vehicle itself. This next-level development further reduces downtime and improves charge-point availability, which will ultimately encourage more people to adopt EVs.”


Blindspot View Monitor

A visionary innovation that uses rear and side-facing cameras to draw attention to blind spots by displaying footage on the in-car, dashboard-mounted monitor when indicators are activated. Blind spot footage enhances and encourages use of standard glass mirrors without replacing them.

Matthew Avery’s view:

“Monitor footage used in conjunction with glass mirrors gives you superior situational awareness by drawing attention to your blind spot. And it reminds motorists to use their mirrors, which is good news for cyclists and pedestrians. Hyundai plans to democratise the technology by installing BVM on most of its new cars.”

"It’s fantastic that Thatcham Research is sponsoring the 2022 What Car? Innovation Award for the third successive year. This is a time of huge innovation in the car industry so it's helpful to combine their experience with that of the What Car? team when assessing new developments on our roads. The What Car? Awards are the culmination of 12 months of testing and set the highest standard for the automotive industry."

Steve Huntingford
Editor, What Car? magazine