February 1 2016
Initial off-road trials will take place in late 2016 prior to a public road launch commencing 2017
A project to create a globally unique test environment for connected and autonomous driving in the UK has been given the green light after receiving a multi-million pound grant from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, Sajid Javid MP, today (Monday, February 1) visited HORIBA MIRA in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, to announce the £7.1 million UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UK CITE) project.
This will enable automotive, infrastructure and service companies to trial connected vehicle technology, infrastructure and services in real-life conditions over the next two-and-a-half years on roads in Coventry and Warwickshire in the West Midlands.
The pilot scheme, which will create or safeguard up to 350 jobs, involves a group of companies and organisations led by Jaguar Land Rover and Visteon, and includes leading industry partners HORIBA MIRA, Siemens, Vodafone, WMG, University of Warwick, Huawei, Coventry University and Coventry City Council and supported by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).
The consortium partners will create the first fully connected road infrastructure using a globally unique combination of wireless technologies which can enable real-world testing of connected, semi-autonomous and eventually autonomous driving in a safe and managed way. The infrastructure will form the basis of an on-going real world test facility which will be open to other manufacturers and technology companies to use.
Infrastructure and technology will be deployed on a mixture of different road types, including dual carriageways and city centre roads. The benefits of the technology will be to improve safety and efficiency of the road network. Computer modelling will simulate the impact of the wider take-up of this technology over time on drivers, infrastructure capacity, safety and cyber-security.
Initial off-road tests will take place at HORIBA MIRA in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, before the trials start on the public roads as early as 2017.
Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said this successful bid enhances the UK’s position as a leading hub for connected vehicle research and development.
He said: “This project places the UK at the forefront of connected and autonomous technology and will attract further research and development to the UK as well as being used by policy makers to provide recommendations on the investment in future programmes for smart transportation networks and mobility, nationally and internationally.”
The UK CITE project includes a £3.41 million grant from Innovate UK, which works with people, companies and partner organisations to support science and technology innovations that will grow the UK’s economy. The remaining project budget is provided by investment from the project’s partners.
Martin Green, Technology Manager at Visteon, said: “The consortium is made up of industry leaders in network, infrastructure and connected technology which, combined, facilitates the world’s first fully connected corridor trials.
“The project will focus on benefits for the road users, using connectivity and connected technology as an enabler for safer, efficient and more enjoyable journeys.”
Chris Reeves, Commercial Manager, Future Transport Technologies and Intelligent Mobility at HORIBA MIRA, said: “This project will pave the way for the development and deployment of connected autonomous vehicles in the UK and help the industry address global challenges relating to safety, efficiency and convenience. It will help establish the UK as a global centre of excellence and drive forward the commercialisation of connected vehicles, and deliver a major wealth creation and inward investment opportunity for the UK.”
Cllr Kevin Maton, CWLEP board director and Coventry City Council Cabinet Member for Business Enterprise and Employment, said: “We are delighted to be part of this project. Coventry has a proud tradition and a bright future when it comes to cutting-edge innovation. The partners in this project are all at the forefront of their sectors and we are in excellent company.
“As we strive to be a top ten city we are clear that research and development and this kind of connected technology will be critical to our success and to future opportunities for this and the next generation. It’s very exciting that autonomous cars will be on trial in our city as early as next year.”
Roland Meister, Head of Transport at the UK’s innovation experts Innovate UK said: “The UK is rapidly becoming one of the best places in the world for companies to develop their Intelligent Mobility business. We know that cooperative innovation leads to increased productivity and long term export success, which is why it is at the heart of Innovate UK’s ‘fund and connect’ strategy.
“Driven by our work with the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles this competition has connected together the UK’s fantastic automotive industry, the research base, the insurance sector, public authorities and high growth businesses working in human behavioural science, telematics, information technology, communications, simulation, advanced sensor systems and machine learning. Backing that up with the right infrastructure and regulatory environment, we really are becoming world leaders. Through our ‘fund and connect’ strategy Innovate UK are getting Intelligent Mobility ideas off the drawing board and into our lives, making us more productive, whilst creating jobs, growth and exports.”