West Midlands to become centre of excellence for autonomous vehicles

More than 50 miles of roads in Coventry, Birmingham and Solihull are to be used for the real world testing of connected and autonomous vehicle technology as part of a new, cutting edge project.

Midlands Future Mobility will further establish the West Midlands as a world class centre for the research and development of CAV technologies, helping to put it at the forefront of the next wave of automotive manufacture. 

Transport for West Midlands, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, is one of eight private and public sector organisations involved in the £25m project which was announced at WMG, University of Warwick.

Among those at the launch was Mayor for the West Midlands, Andy Street; Professor Paul Jennings, who is leading the project and Dr Daniel Ruiz, CEO at Meridian Mobility, which has been set up by the Government and industry to accelerate CAV testing and development in the UK for organisations from around the world. The Mayor said:

“We have a long and proud history of vehicle manufacturing in the West Midlands. This project is the latest example of how the West Midlands is becoming a world-class location for CAV developers to not only come and test their new technology but bring their manufacturing operations with them. 

“We believe this cluster effect can keep the West Midlands at the cutting edge of advanced engineering and automotive manufacture, helping to build a strong regional economy with future-proof jobs for local people.” 

The specially selected network of roads for the project covers a range of representative areas and will be the largest, most diverse testing environment in the UK. It will see the deployment of new roadside infrastructure including smart vehicle monitoring, data analytics and 5G ready wireless infrastructure. 

By using real-world environments Midlands Future Mobility will enable a variety of industries to test new vehicle technologies and services, with the aim of improving integration. The project is expected to make a significant contribution to the UK’s national transport strategy and will play a crucial role in shaping the transport sector. 

It will also firmly establish the UK’s presence in the connected and autonomous vehicle market, and contribute to the Industrial Strategy. 

The project consortium is being led by WMG, University of Warwick, and also includes Amey, AVL, Costain, Coventry University, HORIBA MIRA Ltd and Wireless Infrastructure Group. The £25m funding has come from industrial partners and Innovate UK as part of the wider Meridian Mobility initiative. Professor Paul Jennings, who is the lead of the project, added:

“New mobility technology and services will lead to safer, greener and more efficient transportation for both people and goods. At WMG, we are delighted to be leading the Midlands Future Mobility consortium, working with a broad and highly skilled group of partners, and helping to accelerate this journey to a better future. 

“This region’s new infrastructure and innovative technologies will set the future for the entire UK road transport system, creating knowledge, developing key skill sets and contributing to the national economy.” 

For more information about Midlands Future Mobility visit midlandsfuturemobility.co.uk


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