An investigation has been carried out by Quo‐Tec Limited, on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry's Advanced Sensors Technology Transfer Programme, to determine the opportunities which exist in the UK transportation industries for advanced sensors. The study was concerned particularly with the identification of new business opportunities for UK Small and Medium‐sized Enterprises (SMEs). The study's boundaries were defined as the automotive, aerospace, rail and marine transportation sectors and the advanced sensor technologies of optical fibres and solid state. Piezoelectric, capacitive, inductive magnetoresistive, thin film, thick film and micromachined silicon devices were all included in the term solid state. These were highlighted because of the proven strength of UK research in many of these areas and yet, in many cases, a current lack of significant UK commercial exploitation. Through literature reviews, extensive telephone interviews and face‐to‐face discussions with key individuals in over 90 transportation companies, sensor companies and research institutions, a similar number of sensor requirements were identified. From this number, those requirements best addressed by optical or solid state sensor technology were selected. A criterion applied in the selection was that the need could be addressed by a UK SME (either alone or in collaboration) with a reasonable expectation that a sensor could be commercially available within five years. Preferably, proven technology should be available — the job of a sensor company is to develop the technology into a commercial product, not to do the fundamental research work to prove the technology itself. This article comprises some “prime” opportunities, thus identified, applicable to the automotive industry.
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