Snow, Rain or Shine: Connected and Autonomous Cars in Scotland


“Snowtonomous driving” is the new buzz-phrase in the world of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) according to the Finnish Transport Agency, which has developed a 10km stretch of “intelligent” road for testing self-driving technology.

Director of the Finnish Aurora project, Reija Viinanen, is one of the world’s leading authorities to share new insights at a two-day conference and demonstration in Edinburgh this autumn.

“Adverse weather conditions – particularly snow – has long been one of the toughest challenges for self-driving cars, and automated driving will not become widespread without weatherproof technological solutions,” she says “Our Aurora project is working in the Arctic Circle where Polar night lasts for 25 days, there are 186 days of winter, 116 days below -10°C and snow thickness up to 1 metre.”

With the peaks and mountains of the Highlands experiencing around 100 days of falling snow annually, Scotland is ideally placed to investigate “snowtonomous” vehicles. The country’s huge geographic and socio-economic diversity offers opportunities to test and develop CAV in a wide range of environments, including remote rural areas where infrastructure and communications are very different from large metropolitan areas. 

CAV Scotland 2018, at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh, alongside Traffex Road Expo Scotland, on October 31st and November 1st, will bring together experts and thought leaders in the field alongside the technology companies/demonstrators and associated organisations with an interest in CAVs.

The Scottish Government’s Programme for Government sets very clear objectives for Scotland in delivering a low carbon economy.  This includes commitments to low and ultra-low emission vehicles, the phasing out of the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032 and the introduction of an ‘Electric Highway’ along the A9, demonstrating that electric vehicles offer important advantages to motorists in rural, as well as urban Scotland.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson MSP, will give the keynote address on 31 October, said: “The deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles in Scotland will bring transformative change to the way we travel and work, as well as having a positive impact on the economy, the environment and safety.  Scotland is very much open for business when it comes to trialling these vehicles, with our trunk road network providing a wide range of environments as a diverse testing ground.”

Adrian Tatum, Head of Events for Transport Network, which is organising demonstrations and the conference programme said: “There are still many unanswered questions around CAV development: preparing our roads for autonomous vehicles; insurance and legal issues; and public confidence. The CAV Scotland event is the perfect opportunity to answer some of those questions and demonstrate why Scotland is the ideal place to continue the debate and to host further necessary trials and research.”

CAV Scotland 2018:  31 October & 1 November

In addition to Michael Matheson and Reija Viinanen, speakers include:

  •          Stewart Leggett, Head of Network Operations, Transport Scotland
  •          Iain Forbes, Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles
  •          Sarah Owen-Vandersluis, Partner, Head of Transport Strategy, KPMG
  •          Dr Subramanian Ramamoorthy, University of Edinburgh
  •          Andrew Davidson, Transport Scotland
  •          Richard Morris, Innovate UK

The event features a series of live demonstrations throughout the day and a panel debate chaired by Ivan McKee MSP.

Places are strictly limited for this free-to-attend event. To find out more and to register your interest, visit

If you are interested in taking part in the event either as a speaker, demonstrator or sponsor, please contact Adrian Tatum for further details. or 07866 422523.


Media contact: Becky Hadley, Hadstrong 020 7808 7997;