Funding has been awarded to consortia led by Horiba Mira, Millbrook, Transport Research Laboratory and Warwick Manufacturing Group. It will be used to enhance the organisations’ testing facilities.
Projects focus on moving the industry from virtual computer simulation to real world testing, and include the construction of a new high-speed testing facility in Nuneaton, Warwickshire to semi-controlled environment in Culham, Oxfordshire, and real-life public testing in Birmingham, Coventry and London.
In particular, the TIC-IT consortium, led by Horiba Mira in partnership with Coventry University, will receive a grant of £13 million in a £26 million programme to create a purpose built, safe environment for testing CAV up to the limit of operability; which is critical to ensure consumer confidence. The unique test environment will enable a wide range of CAV scenarios to be tested.
Millbrook and the UKAEA’s RACE (Remote Applications in Challenging Environments) will operate a testbed for the development of CAV technologies across two sites, offering the full spectrum of controlled to semi-controlled urban environments and 90 km of roads. Investment in infrastructure, 5G emulation, data storage, vehicles and simulation, together with unique access to a 2,000 adult population on a secure site, will enable testing to capture all aspects of real-world operation for CAVs, including Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and other social impacts.
TRL will receive a grant of £13.4 million in a £19.2 million programme to launch The Smart Mobility Living Lab: London, which is designed to be an open innovation environment, providing a real world urban testbed capable of demonstrating and evaluating the use, performance and benefits of CAV technology and mobility services. Contributors from across the automotive sector, transport service providers, SMEs, local and central government and research bodies, will collaborate together to exchange ideas and develop technical and business solutions for the future adoption of smart mobility solutions.
Finally, the UK Central CAV Testbed, led by Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), will receive a grant of £17.6 million in a £25.3 million programme to be based on 80km of urban roads in Coventry and Birmingham, creating a world-leading connected infrastructure and eco-system, developing the next generation connected and autonomous vehicles and positioning the Midlands as a centre for cutting-edge automotive and communication technologies.
A public-private coordinating body for developing this technology, Meridian, was launched in September 2017. It is a partnership between the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), Automotive Council and the Advanced Propulsion Centre.
Launch director of Meridian, Jim Campbell said: “As connected and autonomous vehicle technology becomes more complex, ensuring that the UK automotive industry has world-leading facilities to test and refine concepts is of imperative importance. Today’s announcement from government is a strong first step to ensure the UK achieves its ambition of becoming a global hub of CAV development in the coming years.
“Meridian is excited by the quality of the testing facilities these projects will deliver. The Meridian Mobility Technology Testbed will offer world class CAV testing and development in the UK and allow us to accelerate research, development and adoption of these vehicles. Meridian’s role is to coordinate the way the projects will work together to form the UK testbed and to attract individuals with the talent and skills to contribute to advances in mobility technology.”