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Midlands powering ahead at centre of £20m ‘driverless car’ research project

Midlands powering ahead at centre of £20m ‘driverless car’ research project

🕔01.Feb 2016

Midland universities and automotive firms at the centre of ‘driverless car’ technology have been awarded a share of £20 million in Government funding to develop the vehicles of tomorrow.

Details of eight projects to research and develop enhanced communication between vehicles and roadside infrastructure or urban information systems, including equipping 40 miles of roads to test new ‘talking car technologies’, were unveiled by Business Secretary Sajid Javid today on a visit to the MIRA test bed in Nuneaton.

Jaguar Land Rover, Warwick University, Birmingham University, Birmingham City University and Coventry University are all involved in bringing forward the first schemes to be funded by the £100 million Intelligent Mobility Fund.

Driverless shuttles for people with visual impairments are among the projects to benefit.

It’s hoped new technology can improve road safety by sending information to drivers about nearby accidents or hazards.

Trials to test driverless cars on the streets are currently being worked on in Bristol, Coventry and Milton Keynes, and Greenwich. Autonomous vehicles are also being used in Heathrow to shuttle passengers, although these are currently on designated tracks.

Mr Javid said:

Our cars of the future will be equipped with the technologies that will make getting from A to B safer, faster, and cleaner. They will alert drivers of accidents ahead and be able to receive information from their surroundings about hazards, increasing the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

Britain is a world-leader in research and development in such innovative technologies which improve lives and create opportunity for all. That is why this Government has protected the £6 billion science budget and is providing up to £20 million for these projects.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

These projects will help profoundly change the way we travel within years, transforming our roads by making travel a simpler experience for drivers, reducing accidents and helping traffic flow more smoothly. They will also bring great benefits to our society and the wider economy by opening up new routes for global investment.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes predicted that autonomous vehicle technology development has potential to generate £51 billion for the UK economy, save 2,500 lives and generate 320,000 jobs.

All the projects have received financial backing from industry in addition to Government funding, and are backed by leading automotive businesses, engineering firms, IT specialists, universities and local authorities.

The projects are:

UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UKCITE): To create the most advanced environment for testing connected and autonomous vehicles. It involves equipping over 40 miles of urban roads, dual-carriageways and motorways with combinations of three talking car technologies and testing for a fourth, known as LTE-V. The project will establish how this technology can improve journeys; reduce traffic congestion; and provide entertainment and safety services through better connectivity. (Total project: £5.6 million; BIS funding: £3.4 million; duration: 30 months; consortium members: Visteon Engineering Services Limited, Jaguar Land Rover Ltd, Coventry City Council, Siemens PLC, Vodafone Group Services Ltd, Huawei Technologies (UK) Co Ltd, Horiba Mira Ltd, Coventry University, University of Warwick (WMG), Highways England.)

Insight: To develop driverless shuttles with advanced sensors and control systems and trial them in city pedestrian areas, with a particular focus on improving urban accessibility for disabled and visually-impaired people. (£2.2 million; £1.5 million; 36 months; Westfield Sportscars Limited, Heathrow Enterprises Ltd, Fusion Processing Ltd, Creative Example Ltd, Conigital Ltd,Birmingham City University.)

Tools for autonomous logistics operations and management: A collaboration bringing together transport modellers and the computer games industry to develop new modelling and help improve the return on investment into Connected and Autonomous Vehicle fleets. (£3.2 million; £2 million; 36 months; Immense Simulations Ltd, Improbable Ltd.)

FLOURISH: To help develop innovative new tools to improve the understanding of user needs and expectations of connected and autonomous vehicles. It will be based in the Bristol City Region and will test capabilities in both urban and suburban networked environments. (£5.5 million; £3.7 million; 36 months; Atkins Limited, Age UK, Airbus Group Limited, React AI Ltd, AXA UK plc, Bristol City Council, Imtech Traffic & Infra UK Limited, Office for Public Management Ltd, South Gloucestershire Council, Designability, Transport Systems Catapult, TSS – Transport Simulation Systems Ltd, University of Bristol, University of the West of England, Bristol)

MOVE-UK: To accelerate the development, market readiness and deployment of automated driving systems. (£5.5 million; £3.4 million; 36 months; Bosch, Jaguar Land Rover Limited, TRL Limited, The Floow Limited, Direct LineInsurance, Royal Borough of Greenwich .)

INnovative Testing of Autonomous Control Techniques (INTACT): To reduce the cost of testing and evaluating autonomous control systems in a safe, repeatable, controlled and scientifically rigorous environment. (£1 million; £850k; 24 months; Richmond Design and Marketing Ltd, University of Warwick .)

Pathway to Autonomous Commercial Vehicles: To develop an innovative solution to monitor key information from the vehicle and predict safety risks based on analytics. It will build on a prototype which monitors tyre pressures and temperatures in commercial vehicles, combined with always-on network connection. (£1.2 million; £900k; 24 months; Tructyre Fleet Management Ltd, University of Portsmouth, Satellite Applications Catapult, RL Automotive.)

 i-MOTORS – Intelligent Mobility for Future Cities Transport Systems: i-MOTORS will deliver a connected Vehicle to Anything (V2X) system via a mobile platform as a proof of concept. In addition, the project will develop hardware which will receive and analyse sensory data in real-time from multiple locations via online cloud technology to raise the standard of data-processing in the connected and autonomous driving industry.

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