Midlands Future Mobility in the driving seat to transform the environment for connected vehicles
Midlands Future Mobility will use over 50 miles of Coventry and Birmingham roads to establish the Midlands as a world class UK centre for the development, and evaluation of, connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) and related technologies and services.
Midlands Future Mobility will be at the heart of the UK’s transport network, making a significant contribution to the UK’s national transport strategy, and will play a crucial role in shaping the transport sector. It will firmly establish the UK’s presence in the connected and autonomous vehicle market, and contribute to the UK’s Industrial Strategy.
The specially selected networked roads cover a range of representative areas and will be the largest, most diverse testing environment in the UK, with 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.
Midlands Future Mobility is a consortium of industry and academic experts that, through ambitious technology and business innovation, will work together to transform the way we experience transport.
The consortium is being led by WMG, University of Warwick, and includes Amey, AVL, Costain, Coventry University, HORIBA MIRA Ltd, Wireless Infrastructure Group, and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). The £25m funding has come from industrial partners and Innovate UK as part of the wider Meridian Mobility initiative.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman of WMG, comments “The work of Midlands Future Mobility will help create a world where we can enjoy seamless, safe automated journeys. It will be a major step change in how we experience transport.”
WMG’s Professor Paul Jennings, who is the lead of the project said “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. The Midlands has a proud heritage in the UK car industry. Now our expertise, 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.”
Dr Daniel Ruiz, CEO at Meridian Mobility added “We are delighted to welcome the launch of Midlands Future Mobility. This is a fundamental pillar of our national capability for the testing and development of connected and self-driving vehicle technologies. The UK’s CAV development ecosystem leverages world-leading transport policy and collaborative investment to accelerate the adoption of the technology and systems which will deliver societal benefits at the earliest opportunity.”
For more information about Midlands Future Mobility visit www.midlandsfuturemobility.co.uk
Notes to Editor
Lisa Barwick, Head of Marketing and Communications, WMG – L.Barwick@warwick.ac.uk or 07824 540845
WMG, University of Warwick
WMG is a world leading research and education group and an academic department of the University of Warwick, established by Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya in 1980 in order to reinvigorate UK manufacturing through the application of cutting edge research and effective knowledge transfer.
WMG has pioneered an international model for working with industry, commerce and public sectors and holds a unique position between academia and industry. The Group’s strength is to provide companies with the opportunity to gain a competitive edge by understanding a company’s strategy and working in partnership with them to create, through multidisciplinary research, ground-breaking products, processes and services.
Every year WMG provides education and training to schoolchildren through to senior executives. There is a growing part-time undergraduate programme for apprentices, as well as full-time undergraduates. The postgraduate programmes have over 2,000 students, in the UK and through centres in China, India, Thailand, South Africa and Malaysia.
Meridian was created by government and industry as the gateway to accelerated connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) testing and development in the UK for organisations worldwide; accessing an established ecosystem of collaborative organisations, integrated infrastructure and funding.
The first four investments in the £100 million programme of infrastructure development include MCTEE, Midlands Future Mobility, Smart Mobility Living Lab and TIC-IT. Details of these and future funding opportunities can be found at www.meridianmobility.tech
Amey, with a turnover of £2.2bn, employs 19,000 people internationally with a focus on the UK, but with businesses in Australia and America.
Our aim is to make the world a better place to live, work and travel. Designing, building, maintaining and investing in the UK’s services and infrastructure in partnership with our clients.
This means keeping core services running smoothly across the country: utilities, transport, engineering, justice, defence, environmental and waste services, and facilities management. These are underpinned by our leading consulting and asset management capabilities, which allow us to offer standalone or integrated service solutions to a range of clients.
Amey is owned by Ferrovial. They are one of the world’s leading infrastructure management and investment companies. Ferrovial has more than 96,000 employees and a presence in over 15 countries. It is a member of Spain’s blue-chip IBEX 35 index and is also included in prestigious sustainability indices such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and FTSE4Good. Ferrovial’s activities focus on four business sectors: construction, airports, toll roads and services. Amey is part of the Services division.
AVL has expertise in the systems design, development, and testing of ADAS and AD features. As this area of vehicle development has seen significant growth in recent years, it is now a significant source of revenue for AVL. In 2016, the development of ADAS features for UK-based customers generated sales of approximately £1 million. These larger projects have enabled AVL to promote a wider skill throughout the AVL network, and as a result have led to enquiries for work from customers outside the UK.
AVL is currently engaged in smaller projects related to connected vehicles, and a similar growth pattern to ADAS feature development will enable it to gradually expand its technical knowledge, engineering staff and thus revenue. Engagement and investment in a project such as this with development of bespoke facilities in support of CAV vehicle testing will act as a significant springboard. It will enable development of the test support facility, and the gain of technical knowledge relating to design challenges associated with vehicle connectivity development, which is AVL’s core business. These facilities and skills development will be promoted throughout the AVL network to attract further investment into the UK. Connectivity will open up possibilities not only in supporting autonomous driving but additionally in the optimisation of driving profiles and overall energy optimisation. Integrating knowledge and facilities in support of connected driving with state of the art powertrain tests facilities will provide a highly valuable vehicle development service.
Midlands Future Mobility will also be complementary to existing investment and development (supported by Innovate UK in project SAVVY) of robust testing approaches for CAVs particularly through the use of virtual validation approaches to reduce the time and cost of on-road testing. There will always be a need to conduct some degree of true on-road testing, and the Midlands Future Mobility will form an element of the entire development and validation process. Key team members will include: Dr. Bo Gao (Controls Department Leader) who is currently responsible for leading the ADAS team within the Electronics and Controls department of AVL, and will use his experience in research projects in ADAS to drive the technical delivery of the proposed test facility; Dr. Alan Walker (Engineering Centre Manager) who leads the AESIN Connected and Autonomous Vehicles working group, and will use his broad automotive experience to drive the commercialisation of the test and workshop facility to ensure commercial success and return on investment.
Costain is a smart infrastructure solutions company. Our purpose is to improve people’s lives by deploying technology-based solutions to meet urgent national needs across the UK’s energy, water and transportation infrastructures. We offer a broad range of services across the whole life-cycle of our clients’ assets, through the delivery of integrated consultancy, technology, asset optimisation and complex delivery services.
Costain is providing Smart Vehicle Monitoring for the Midlands Future Mobility Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) project, involving strategic video coverage across 82km of the road network. More than 250 CCTV systems will be installed along the roadside to provide vehicle tracking that will then be enhanced via on-demand cloud-based analytics. Costain has extensive experience in the delivery of highways infrastructure and technology and is currently leading on an Innovate UK funded project, also within the CAV space, investigating the impact of integrating electric vehicles in a major new smart city redevelopment in London. The company is also working with a consortium of partners headed up by TRL, the global centre of excellence for future transport, on the first real-world operational trial of platooning vehicles on UK roads, and has recently been awarded a contract by Highways England to supply Motorway Incident Detection and Automated Signalling (MIDAS) technology systems to help improve road user safety.
Founded by entrepreneurs and industrialists as the Coventry School of Design in 1843, and in 2018 celebrating 175 years, Coventry University is a dynamic, global and modern institution with a tradition of teaching excellence, research with impact, bold international initiatives and transformational partnerships across the world.
Coventry offers one of the widest ranges of automotive research and teaching expertise of any university, covering the fields of design, engineering, business and media – and students from its courses have been graduating into leading roles in the automotive professions for over 30 years.
The university is also recognised internationally for its expertise in health, peacebuilding and disaster management, with students and partners alike benefiting from state-of-the-art equipment and facilities in a wide range of disciplines – including on its London and Scarborough campuses.
Coventry’s city centre campus is continually developing and evolving, with a £500 million-plus investment in the period up to 2020 playing a key role in modernising both research capabilities and students’ learning experiences.
HORIBA MIRA Ltd
HORIBA MIRA is a global provider of pioneering engineering, research and test services to the automotive, defence, aerospace and rail sectors. We work in close collaboration with vehicle manufacturers and suppliers around the world, providing comprehensive support ranging from individual product tests to turnkey engineering design, development and build programmes.
With over 70 years’ experience in developing some of the world’s most iconic vehicles, our engineers utilise the latest test facilities and simulation tools to make vehicles and journeys safer, cleaner, smarter and rewarding. Our suite of 39 major test facilities, 100km of specialised proving ground and wealth of engineering experience, combined with our expanding international presence, means we are confident that we can achieve our vision – that by 2025 every journey in the world will be positively influenced by us.
Progress towards achieving this vision has been significantly accelerated through the creation of MIRA Technology Park, Europe’s largest transport technology R&D cluster. By applying our advanced engineering, test and validation capabilities to our customers’ challenging programmes, we are already shaping journeys of the future.
HORIBA MIRA has been involved in the development of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles for over 15 years and in that time has been involved in pioneering research programmes, development of purpose built test facilities around the world and is now helping to usher these emerging technologies into the mainstream automotive environment.
Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG)
WIG is an independent wireless infrastructure operator headquartered in Edinburgh and backed by 3i Infrastructure plc. The Company builds and operates communication towers (masts) in rural and suburban areas together with fibre-based networks to improve mobile coverage in large buildings, stadiums and on city streets. The company is fully independent of any network operator and invests in higher capacity ‘neutral-host’ infrastructure that is made available to all mobile and wireless networks to use on an open and shared basis. Following its launch over ten years ago, WIG has invested in over 2,000 shared communications assets across the UK.
WIG works in partnership with mobile and wireless network operators, utilities, public bodies and large real estate owners to enable connectivity in busy and/or challenging locations including across transport and utility infrastructure, rural areas, inside large buildings and public venues and on city streets. WIG is the UK market leader for the type of neutral host infrastructure needed to enable mobile signal on the London Underground and the company has stated its plans to bid to become Transport for London’s wireless infrastructure partner.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM)
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), as part of the WMCA, is responsible for co-ordinating investment to improve the region’s transport infrastructure and create a fully integrated, safe and secure network. It is also responsible for assessing and planning the region’s future transport needs, helping to research and develop new technologies like Connected and Automotive Vehicles, so the network can meet future demand.