Live testing of connected cars welcomed by WMCA

The next phase of a project to test self-driving cars on real world roads has been welcomed by the West Midlands Combined Authority.

The trials, which will use a network of West Midlands roads, will involve testing connected cars that can 'talk' to each other and the highway around them.

The UK CITE consortium, which includes Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) – part of the WMCA, is working to create one of the world’s most advanced environments for connected and autonomous driving. The project is funded by the Government’s £100m Connected and Autonomous Vehicle fund, delivered by Innovate UK and is worth a total of £7.1m.

The second phase of the project will see Jaguar Land Rover trial a range of intelligent connected features such as emergency electronic brake light warning (EEBL), emergency vehicle warning (EVW), and in-vehicle signage (IVS) for road works warning (RWW) and traffic condition warning (TCW). Mayor of West Midlands Andy Street said:

“It’s fantastic to see this important project being taken to the next level. It shows how our region is establishing itself as a global leader in connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology.

“The growth of this sort of advanced engineering and automotive manufacture in the West Midlands bodes well for the future and can help form a strong backbone for our economy going forward.

Cllr George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council and the WMCA’s portfolio holder for productivity and skills, added: “The Coventry area is fast becoming the location of choice for the CAV technology sector, thanks in part to the testing facilities being set up here and the technical expertise available.

“The challenge now is to make sure local people have the technical skills needed to take advantage of the jobs being created by this exciting sector which is why the WMCA is working closely with key employers, further education organisations and training providers to make that happen.”

The UK CITE project will create the country’s first fully connected infrastructure, using a globally unique combination of wireless technologies, which can enable real-world testing in a safe and managed way.

The project is funded by the Government’s £100m Connected and Autonomous Vehicle fund, delivered by Innovate UK and is worth a total of £7.1m including investment from the Government and Highways England.

Work by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and Coventry City Council enabled the installation of critical infrastructure on urban roads in advance of the 35 of Siemens’ ESCoS road-side units set up on the M40 and M42 motorways.

These units provide the technical platform for real-time data exchange between vehicles and traffic control equipment. Colin Lee, Jaguar Land Rover V2X Manager said:

“To realise the full benefit of self-driving cars, we need to understand the infrastructure that’s needed to support them. Connectivity not only takes us a step closer to making this a reality but it also creates the platform to bring a great array of connected safety features to our customers in the near future.

"We’re working with some fantastic global experts across industry and academia and we’re eager to take the project into this next phase of testing.”

The UK CITE consortium comprises leading industry, academic and local and national governmental organisations. It is jointly led by Visteon Engineering Services Limited and Jaguar Land Rover and includes Coventry City Council, Coventry University, Highways England Company Ltd, HORIBA MIRA, Huawei Technologies (UK) Ltd, Siemens, TfWM, Vodafone Group Services Ltd, and WMG at University of Warwick.


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