More than 50 miles of public roads in Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire will be used to test connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), as part of a Government funded project.
The Midlands Future Mobility project is intended to play ‘a crucial role’ in accelerating technological progress and establishing the UK’s presence in the autonomous vehicle market.
The project, led by the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick, forms part of the wider Meridian Mobility initiative and benefits from around £25m of funding from Innovate UK and other project partners.
Meridian Mobility brings together government, academia, innovators and developers of intelligent mobility solutions to ‘facilitate and support the acceleration of the UK’s emerging CAV sector’.
The Midlands Future Mobility project will develop wireless networks and analyse how vehicles behave in real urban environments.
The project team says its test-bed will cover the ‘most diverse range of roads, junctions and traffic measures in the world’. It will also include the University of Warwick campus – described as a ‘mini city in itself’.
Greg Clark, business and energy secretary, said: “Combining ambitious new technologies and innovative business models to address social and economic challenges lies at the heart of the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy.
“Accelerating connected and autonomous vehicle technology development is central to achieving this ambition and will help to ensure the UK is one of the world’s go-to locations to develop this sector.”
The project is being led by professor Paul Jennings, an expert in CAV technology from the Warwick Manufacturing Group.
Professor Jennings said: “The Midlands has a proud heritage of pioneering vehicle development, and I am delighted to be part of the next era – bringing CAVs onto the road and allowing all of us to reap the benefits as soon as possible.”