Connected infrastructure testing to begin in UK

| Transport

HORIBA MIRA joins the UK CITE consortium and begins working on the first phase of testing autonomous and connected vehicles and infrastructure.

A new project has now been started using money from the £100 million Intelligent Mobility Fund released by the UK government to drive connected and autonomous vehicle technology research and development.

The UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UK CITE) project has taken a slice of that budget worth just over £7 million and will use it to trial connected vehicle technology as well as the associated infrastructure and services required to enable such vehicles to operate in the real world.

Initially, the trials will take place at the protected proving grounds of HORIBA MIRA, where the vehicle engineering organisation will use its purpose built “city circuit” to trial vehicles, emulate intelligent infrastructure and test the connectivity between them.

Once trials at HORIBA MIRA have ended, testing will begin on 40 miles of roadways in Coventry and around Warwickshire. Continuing until the end of 2016, the initial phase will see the preparation of the required intelligent infrastructure along main trunk routes in the region including the A45 and A46 as well as the M40 and M42 motorways. There will also be changes to infrastructure within Coventry.

A test vehicle will also be prepared along with a “Gantry App” which will display the contents of Variable Message Signs inside the car. After the trials at the HORIBA MIRA have been completed, the newly equipped roads in the area will be used and this is likely to take place as early as 2017.

HORIBA MIRA is one of the key members of the UK CITE consortium, which is jointly led by Visteon Engineering Services and Jaguar Land Rover. Other members include local councils, Coventry University, Highways England and other technology companies.

Lead partner Visteon Engineering sees the project as an ideal way for service operators, infrastructure suppliers and vehicle technology companies to collaborate in a non-competitive environment to drive forward the development of testing systems for connected automotive technology.

Commenting on this, the company’s Senior Development Manager, Claire Lewis said, “The UK CITE project will enable all partners to accelerate their learning on cyber security and safety whilst exploring the commercial opportunities of the connected vehicle area.”

Jaguar Land Rover’s research team will be able to join other project members in the testing of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies in a real-life laboratory of different types of roads and layouts. The company’s Head of Research and Technology, Tony Harper said, “This test route with its mixture of road types and technology deployment is challenging the technology operation in real world environments and will provide the insight needed for deployment. This test route is exactly the sort of innovative infrastructure the UK needs to compete globally.

Vehicle autonomy and connectivity are expected to yield improvements in road safety whilst also improving the driving experience and mobility through improvements in traffic flow.

Jonathan Newell
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