WMG and Conigital receive UK government funding for ambitious self-driving research project
WMG at the University of Warwick and Conigital, have been awarded a share of £81 million in joint UK government and industry support to develop self-driving transport technology.
WMG is part of a consortium, led by Conigital, including the NEC Birmingham, Direct Line Group, Coventry City Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Coventry University, dRisk, IPG Automotive and West Midlands Combined Authority.
The project entitled Multi-Area Connected Automated Mobility (MACAM) has been awarded a total of £16.6 million by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), to establish a remote driving control hub, to oversee self-driving vehicles operating in Solihull and Coventry.
To make self-driving vehicle operations commercially viable, and offset current technology and driver costs, they must operate as efficiently as possible. This project therefore proposes a multi-area, multi-application self-driving operation, underpinned by Conigital’s 5G-based, central, Remote Monitoring Teleoperation (RMTO) system.
A mixed fleet of 13 self-driving vehicles will be moving passengers and light freight (such as mail and parcels for delivery) between Birmingham International Rail Station and Birmingham Business Park, and between Coventry railway station and Coventry University campus. These routes have a known, current, need for alternative transport and offer an ideal platform from which to develop commercial self-driving solutions.
New mobility technology and services will lead to safer, greener and more efficient transportation for both people and goods. MACAM will build on the foundations set by other projects including the WMG-led Midlands Future Mobility consortium.
Midlands Future Mobility is installing infrastructure on 200+ miles of West Midland’s roads to enable trials of Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) solutions. This includes CCTV, weather stations, communications units, and highly accurate GPS coverage. The technology developed on the route will make UK roads safer and allow for more predictable goods delivery and journey times.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “Self-driving vehicles including buses will positively transform people’s everyday lives – making it easier to get around, access vital services and improve regional connectivity.
“We’re supporting and investing in the safe rollout of this incredible technology to help maximise its full potential, while also creating skilled jobs and boosting growth in this important sector.”
WMG’s expertise on MACAM focuses specifically on the safety of the self-driving vehicles, as David Evans, Lead Engineer at WMG, University of Warwick explains: “Researchers and engineers at WMG will be providing trial support and undertaking related research in line with industry standards and best practice, required for the operator(s) to conduct the automated vehicle deployments safely and securely.”
Director of Intelligent Vehicles Research at WMG, University of Warwick, Professor Mehrdad Dianati, adds: “We have seen remarkable progress in Connected and Automated/Autonomous Mobility Technologies in recent years. It is paramount to pave the way for commercialising these technologies, particularly in the promising near future application areas such as the ones the MACAM consortium aims for. We are excited to be a part of this journey to transfer the knowledge we have developed through our fundamental research to help this unique consortium of UK companies, universities and local authorities to create new economic development opportunities for the region and the country.”
Don Dhaliwal, CEO of Conigital commented: “We are delighted to strengthen our links with WMG and other partners to accelerate a joint vision of Autonomous, Connected, Electric & Shared (ACES) fleets to address cities and businesses needs to Go Zero, Zero Accidents, Zero Emissions and Zero Congestion whilst creating new jobs via delivery of sustainable, accessible commercial CAM (Connected Autonomous Mobility) services.”
The methodologies and outcomes generated by the MACAM project will directly benefit teaching, research, and further collaboration with industry at WMG, developing future UK expertise and capability.
Read more about WMG’s Intelligent Vehicles research here and Conigital here
Read more about WMG’s MSc Smart, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (SCAV) here.
Read more about the latest Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) funded self-driving projects here.
Notes to Editors
The government is awarding almost £42 million to seven projects through the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) competition. Industry consortia will match the public grant to around £81 million and will be expected to demonstrate a sustainable commercial service by 2025.
The Multi-Area Connected Automated Mobility project is part of CCAV’s Commercialising CAM Deployments Competition (CCAMD).
The Commercialising CAM programme is funded by the Centre for Connected and Automated Vehicles, a joint unit between the Department for Transport and the Department for Business and Trade and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK and Zenzic.
The £40m CCAMD competition was launched in May 2022 to support the delivery of early commercialisable Connected and Automated Mobility Services and is part of the Government’s vision for self-driving vehicles. Connected and automated mobility 2025: realising the benefits of self-driving vehicles.
Multi-Area Connected Automated Mobility– Conigital
£8.3 million awarded by government, matched by industry to a total £15.2 million. This project looks to establish a self-driving vehicle operation around various parts of the West Midlands, underpinned by a centralised, Remote Monitoring Teleoperation (RMTO) centre. The RMTO centre will be where the project’s self-driving vehicles are monitored and (when required) controlled from, using 5G connectivity. The project aims to make self-driving vehicle operations commercially viable, and offset current technology and driver costs.
Historic devolution agreement signed at WMG
Professor Robin Clark, Dean of WMG at the University of Warwick, was pleased to welcome Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove and West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street on Monday (20 March).
The Levelling Up Secretary and West Midlands Mayor signed a landmark deeper devolution deal for the region, marking a seismic shift in power, funding and responsibility from Whitehall to the region, at a ceremonial event that took place at WMG at the University of Warwick.
The deal announced in the Spring Budget puts more cash and power in the hands of local leaders to invest in the priorities that local communities truly care about, such as better bus and train services, skills and housing.
A new long-term funding settlement will enable the Mayor and local councils to plan for the long term, with certainty, and unlock tangible benefits for almost three million people living in the area.
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “Visionary local leaders like Andy Street understand the needs of their areas better than decision-makers in Whitehall - that is why it is vital that we put more power and control in their hands.
“This deal goes further than we’ve ever gone before. It will give the Mayor unprecedented power to spend on local priorities and more control over transport, skills and housing – the things people truly care about.
“Today marks a bold new frontier in devolution in this country, and it’s fantastic to see the West Midlands right at the forefront.”
Stuart Croft, Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick, which hosted the Levelling Up Secretary's visit, said: “It is good to be able to support the hard work across our region that has led to this agreement. We’re proud to play an active role in driving business growth and innovation in the West Midlands, whether that’s through our apprenticeship programmes, support for start-ups, or our close partnerships with industry across the region.
"Our world leading research into new green energy and technology is an example of where we’re not only developing new businesses, skills, and jobs, but also helping the UK to reach its net zero goals.”
Professor Robin Clark, Dean of WMG at the University of Warwick, added: “It was a pleasure to welcome the Levelling Up Secretary and the West Midlands Mayor, and we were proud to provide the location for the signing of this landmark devolution agreement.
“Before the official signing, I had the opportunity to show Mr Gove our 3xD driving simulator for autonomous vehicle research, and to explain more about WMG’s commitment to developing new engineering and manufacturing skills to help bridge the gap between academia and industry.”
Read more about the Deeper Devolution Deal.
WMG collaborates with Institute of Export and International Trade to offer students industrial opportunities
The MSc International Trade, Strategy and Operations (ITSO) course, at WMG at the University of Warwick is collaborating with the Institute of Export and International Trade (IOE&IT) to provide students with access to key industrial opportunities and benefits.
The WMG ITSO course is the first accredited Master’s programme in the UK by the IOE&IT. It is a unique interdisciplinary course that integrates the most essential and closely associated pillars of international trade, strategy, and operations management within international business towards supplying compound talents for industries. Following the philosophy of research-informed teaching for practical implementation, the course also seeks industrial access and opportunities for students.
As part of the collaborative partnership an event was held recently introducing students to a new innovative way of learning and forging direct links between students and the IOE&IT.
At the event, Ms Helen Hastie Membership Development Manager from IOE&IT shared with the students information about professional memberships and the associated access to industry specialists and activities when studying ITSO. This helped students to improve their knowledge, skills, and opportunities for career development.
Ms Helen Hastie, explained: “International Trade offers a unique opportunity for development not only at a country-to-country level, but professionally. The WMG ITSO course is actualising the career opportunities for the next generation of international traders, and the IOE&IT is delighted to continue supporting this growth.”
ITSO student course representative, Shuyu Chen commented: “It brings lots of useful information for ITSO students and this event helped us to know how to use resourses effectively during our study process. Also, the event enhanced the connection between the IOE&IT and us.”
Danara Aldabergenova, also a ITSO student representative, added: “This event was very informative for students. I learned about our accredited body and our opportunities as students. Moreover, we can become full members of The Institute of Export and International Trade. It is an excellent opportunity for us students, and I am very proud to have such a chance.”
Find out more about WMG’s International Trade, Strategy and Operations Master’s Programme here: MSc International Trade, Strategy and Operations | University of Warwick
If you have an enquiry about the ITSO course, please email WMG’s Assistant Professor and ITSO Course Director, Dr Di Li:firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Celebrating British Science Week 2023
The WMG Outreach team had another busy, fun-packed British Science Week, taking part in a total of seven special STEM events reaching out to more than 2,200 young scientists, teachers, and families.
Two further events had also been planned for around 400 more students, but these had to be postponed due to the snow.
British Science Week is a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths; and is a chance to look into the future and celebrate the impact scientific ideas can make on society. In support, the Outreach Team took part in the University of Warwick’s ‘Slice of Science;’ hosted science days at local schools, while WMG’s Jianhua Yang, Tudor Dodoiu, Iyabo Adamu and Marcelle Batson-Warner took part in Robot Day Coventry.
At Slice of Science, the University welcomed over 350 people. The Outreach Team ran an area called ‘Experience Engineering’ which featured science experiments, the opportunity to write code to control a digital embroidery machine, the navigation of robotic vehicles through a maze, an interactive puzzle showing the electronics inside a car, aerodynamics experiments and more.
WMG’s Director of Outreach and Widening Participation, Professor Margaret Low, explained: “These experiences allow students to see how their school learning applies to complicated and world-changing technologies. Through our outreach programmes we hope to inspire young people to pursue careers in STEM, widen participation in Higher Education and make the STEM workforce more diverse.”
WMG’s Widening Participation Co-ordinator, Dr Phil Jemmett, added: “WMG and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult have outreach activities that are designed to give students a sense of ownership, since there are always elements they can re-create or try out at home. All the experiments we use in science shows or at public events are written up on our website under WMG Experiments, and we show the audience how it all works.
“It’s never magic – this is something anyone can do if they put their mind to it. We want to show people how exciting science and engineering can be, and that anyone can be an engineer.”
Find out more about WMG’s Outreach programme here: Public engagement and Outreach (warwick.ac.uk)
Mark Urbanowski, Principal Engineer, responds to the Government’s proposed cuts to active travel funding budgets
Expert comment from Mark Urbanowski.
Mark Urbanowski, Principal Engineer at WMG at the University of Warwick, said: “Travelling around the UK’s towns and cities is getting increasingly congested, polluted and unsafe. A key part of the solution to this problem, along with helping reach the UK’s Net Zero goal, is getting people and goods moved in efficient and clean vehicles, correctly sized for the journey, passenger and job requirements.
“Active travel, walking and cycling, as well as emerging micromobility transport options like e-bikes, e-cargo vehicles and e-scooters, need the right infrastructure to make them convenient and safe to use. Without investment for infrastructure and integration into the broader public transport system, modal shift to these vehicle types; by commuters, families and businesses; will languish behind the rest of Europe. It’s an issue we will be addressing at our Micromobility event in May.”
EV-elocity project recognised at prestigious engineering awards
The EV-elocity project, involving engineers and researchers from WMG at the University of Warwick, has won a Collaborate to Innovate Award, from The Engineer magazine, in the Energy & Environment category.
The Awards celebrate the very best engineering collaborations and innovations across the UK.
EV-elocity is a research and development project looking at increasing the uptake of electric vehicles by helping consumers to monetise their investment using vehicle-to-grid (V2G) innovation.
With vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, electric vehicle (EV) batteries could store electricity - when there is an abundant supply - to power homes and businesses and to discharge it back to the national grid when it is most needed.
Researchers at WMG developed a new model that quantified the degradation in the vehicle’s battery because of different EV charging strategies. The model highlighted that it was possible to manage the battery to mitigate much of the degradation and it was possible to even extend battery life through proper control and battery conditioning.
This enables better use of renewable energy, lower carbon footprint, less pressure on the grid and financial savings, which can help electric vehicle owners pay back their investment.
The EV-elocity project has deployed V2G chargers in a range of locations across England as part of large-scale trials to gain technical, customer and commercial insights on the emerging technology. It is also investigating if, and how, additional use from V2G charging may affect EV battery life.
Professor of Systems Modelling, James Marco, explains: “One of the unique aspects of EV-elocity, was the integration of EV technology with future energy infrastructure, such as vehicle-to-grid, to demonstrate at scale how novel methods of EV charging can provide multiple benefits for both the consumer and the environment.”
The project, led by Cenex, a not-for-profit consultancy specialising in delivery of low carbon vehicles and energy infrastructure projects also involves the Universities of Nottingham and Warwick; Leeds and Nottingham City Councils; and CrowdCharge, a platform that integrates and optimises smart electric vehicle charges.
EV-elocity is funded by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), in partnership with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.
Read more about the award-wining EV-elocity project here: EV-elocity Project | vehicle-to-grid (V2G) innovation with electric vehicles
Sustainable, low carbon circular plastic economy enabled by advanced plastic recycling process
New research shows an 80% reduction in global warming potential (GWP), when compared to incineration, by processing waste plastic via a unique advanced recycling solution known as HydroPRS™, in a paper published by experts at WMG, University of Warwick.
Researchers from WMG’s Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing team have been working with Mura Technology on a project focusing on the advanced recycling industry and the environmental impact of the associated processes.
Advanced recycling technologies (also known as chemical recycling) include a range of processes that break plastics down, converting them into hydrocarbon products that can replace the virgin fossil feedstocks used by the chemicals industry to create new plastics and other industrial products such as asphalt.
Dr Stuart Coles, Reader of Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing at WMG, University of Warwick, explained: “Advanced recycling will play an important role in realising the circular economy of plastics. The work conducted at WMG demonstrates a clear pathway towards Net Zero in recycled plastics and highlights improvements on the environmental footprint when compared with both existing production and disposal routes.
“We are delighted to see this work published as we explore the full potential of this technology moving forward.”
The peer-reviewed Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), reports that significantly reduced carbon emissions (measured as GWP in kilograms of CO2 equivalents) can be achieved if waste plastic is diverted towards HydroPRS™ and away from waste incineration – a comparable end of life treatment and currently, the fate of many ‘unrecyclable’ plastics.
Pioneered by Mura Technology, HydroPRS™, unlike pyrolysis, utilises supercritical water to convert post-consumer flexible, multi-layered and rigid plastics into high yields of stable, premium petrochemical feedstocks. Importantly, the products produced in the HydroPRS™ process were found in the LCA to have at least a comparable GWP when compared with naphtha, the fossil oil-based feedstock used in the production of plastics.
Dr Steve Mahon, Mura Technology’s CEO, said: “Resolving the global plastics crisis while reducing carbon emissions globally will inextricably require that the world is able to substitute fossil-based naphtha and other hydrocarbons for more sustainable feedstocks. This is Mura Technology’s ultimate goal and our innately scalable, innovative advanced recycling process using supercritical water is uniquely placed to pave the way to enable a low-carbon global circular plastics economy.”
Currently, the fate of unrecycled waste plastics is landfill, incineration or leakage into our waterways and oceans. All have negative impacts on the environment. Whilst incineration recovers some energy from plastic, none of these processes keep material within the circular economy, which in turn sustains the demand for virgin plastic from fossil-based sources.
Mura’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Dr Geoff Brighty, added: “As the global economy transitions away from fossil fuels, circular economies must operate at as low an environmental cost as possible. Alongside using the LCA to identify process improvements, the WMG team have demonstrated a clear, deliverable pathway to Net Zero for the HydroPRS™ process. This will help Mura decarbonise the petrochemical sector, whilst also reducing demand for fossil oil for plastic production by regenerating plastic waste into their feedstocks.”
The LCA is focussed on Mura’s first site in Teesside, UK and was funded through Innovate UK’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging challenge (SSPP), as part of one of the demonstrator projects (grant number 49801).
Read the Hydrothermal Treatment of Waste Plastics: An Environmental Impact Study paper in full here s10924-023-02792-3.pdf (springer.com)
Expert comment from Professor David Greenwood
WMG is delighted at the news that Britishvolt have been purchased by Recharge.
Professor David Greenwood, Director of Industrial Engagement at WMG, University of Warwick said: “This is great news for the UK, allowing us to capitalise on the value realised under the previous ownership. High value jobs will be protected and created in the UK as a result of this purchase - not just in the company, but in its upstream and downstream supply chains.
“For the UK to remain globally competitive, it is critical that we establish a strong battery manufacturing base to support many of our key industrial sectors, including automotive, aerospace, rail, marine and energy storage.”
WMG looks forward to continuing to support the growth of the UK battery industry.
Read more about the news here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-64754879
The students electrifying the motorsport industry across the world
- As the first team to enter an all-electric racing car into Formula Student (in 2018), students from the University of Warwick are in to Africa to share expertise and drive electric vehicle (EV) technology across the continent
- They will help launch of Formula Student Africa – a new motorsport competition for students, using only electric vehicles (EVs)
- The diverse team is passionate about increasing representation in motorsport, especially in leadership positions
Students from the University of Warwick are working with fellow students in Africa in a capacity-building project to drive forward electrification in the motor industry.
Members of the Formula Student team are in South Africa this week to share their knowledge on building and racing electric vehicles. Their expertise will be critical to the launch of Formula Student Africa, an all-electric motorsport competition for students across the continent, based on the UK model.
Six South African universities are already onboard for the series, including the University of Cape Town, University of Johannesburg, University of South Africa, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Cape Peninsula University of Technology and University of the Witwatersrand.
It is hoped that Formula Student Africa will help drive the electrification of transport around Africa, propelled by technological advances in motorsport. In particular, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and the University of Warwick’s WMG are keen to collaborate with their state-of-the-art research into EV batteries. The student teams design the batteries themselves as well as the shape and components of their racing car.
Warwick Racing’s team principal Prem Gill, second year Mechanical Engineering student, said: “I’m thrilled to lead such a group of highly motivated and dedicated engineering students who share a passion for motorsport and advanced technology.
“The visit to South Africa is a huge milestone and aligns with my own aspirations to drive positive change in the industry and make a meaningful impact in the world. It’s an opportunity to expand our knowledge, network with industry professionals, and showcase our innovative ideas.
“This venture serves as a crucial moment in the development of Formula Student Africa, as we aim to establish partnerships and network with key players in the industry. Our aspirations for this competition are to foster the next generation of engineers and help to drive sustainability in motorsport.”
Alongside their ground-breaking work on electric racing cars, Warwick’s Formula Student team is championing representation in the motorsport industry. Of the 120 team members, more than 40 are women. 40% of the senior positions in the team are also filled by women.
Warwick Racing’s Chief Suspension Engineer Marieta Kysela, a second year Systems Engineering student, added: “Our team is very diverse, consisting of people from all year groups and degrees, allowing for innovative ideas, solutions and meaningful learning. While there is beginning to be wider representation in the industry, I would like to inspire more women to be leaders in the motorsport sector.”
Professor Robin Clark, Dean of WMG, said: “Warwick’s involvement in Formula Student is well established. It is therefore exciting to see that energy now being directed in a different direction as Formula Student Africa looks to establish itself in the calendar. I am sure that Warwick Racing will share the experience and enthusiasm that is so much part of the team with peers in South Africa and that successful new opportunities will be realised.”
Formula Student is an IMechE competition that Warwick students have participated in for many years. The competition aims to develop young engineers and encourage more young people to take up a career in engineering. The format provides an ideal opportunity for students to demonstrate their engineering knowledge, and test and improve their capabilities to deliver a complex product in the demanding environment of a motorsport competition.
The ultimate aim is to design and race a sports car. This year’s comp takes place at Silverstone. The Warwick student project team uses the name Warwick Racing.
Further details can be found here https://warwickracing.org/
Find out more about the WMG Sustainable Automotive Electrification Master's programme here.
University of Warwick press office contact:
Communications Officer | Press & Media Relations | University of WarwickLink opens in a new window
Celebrating women in science
Six female scientists, from WMG at the University of Warwick, joined the students at Eden Girls School Coventry to celebrate International Women and Girls in Science Day.
The event, organised by the WMG Outreach Team and chaired by WMG’s Executive Chair Margot James, took place on Friday (10th February).
The expert panel, including Dr Claire Dancer; Antonia Betzou; Dr Elspeth Keating; Farah Villa Lopez; Magdalena Cieslak and Rupika Gulati, hosted a lively discussion with the girls about the highs and lows as a ‘woman in science.’
Each of the scientists shared their own personal journey and explained what had inspired them to pursue a career in science.
Margot James, WMG’s Executive Chair, said: “It's no secret that women have historically struggled because of the gender gap in STEM. We’re extremely passionate about this, and through our Outreach programme we are committed to build links with local schools and the community to provide role models that can help create a more equitable future.
“It was an absolute pleasure to meet such an inspiring group of girls, and I know our female scientists have helped to motivate them in their future career choices.”
A year 10 student from Eden Girls School added: “ I really enjoyed the science engineering workshop because it allowed me to understand what options are available to me after secondary school.
“Having women speak about their accomplishments and experiences really inspired me into thinking more about science, and trying my hardest to be able to achieve great things like they have. I learned so much and enjoyed everything.”
Find out more about WMG’s Outreach here: Public engagement and Outreach (warwick.ac.uk)