£100m investment in ASSURED CAV facility at HORIBA MIRA supports the UK’s industrial strategy on advanced mobility.
Self-driving vehicles are a significant step closer to becoming a reality on public roads with the construction of a revolutionary new multi-technology facility nearing completion in the Midlands.
Set to provide the UK with the most complete environment for the acceleration of future mobility, the new, globally-unique autonomous vehicle development centre – known as ASSURED CAV – has been developed by automotive engineering and testing specialist, HORIBA MIRA. It has been specifically designed to enable the automotive industry, policy makers and government to develop autonomous vehicle technology, ensuring it is robust to the wide range of eventualities seen on public roads, before being released to consumers.
Far more than a location for vehicle testing, HORIBA MIRA believes ASSURED CAV to be a lighthouse in the CAV industry; a location where organisations can lead in both the development and verification of self-driving technologies, but also where the learning can be applied to influence future legislation, policy and insurance, to ensure the future of autonomous vehicles will improve lives.
ASSURED CAV’s combination of facilities and capabilities are set to open in March 2021 and is a culmination of £100m investment made over recent years. The centre include a high-speed facility enabling autonomous vehicles to be tested at the limit of controllability. This has been specifically designed for performing scenario-based testing and will enable the testing of driving scenarios such as traffic merging and lane keep assist to be conducted to international regulatory protocols.
There are also urban environments where vehicles will experience pedestrians and cyclists, complex junctions and on-street parking as well as a purpose-built multi-storey car park which will support the development of automated valet parking. Here, car passengers will exit their vehicle for it to then find its own parking space, returning to the passenger at a designated waiting area when requested.
The multi-technology aspects of the centre are an important part of the development of CAVs, which use innovations that have so far traditionally fallen outside of the remit of the automotive industry, but which are now an essential part of vehicle technology. For this reason, an ultrafast 5G mobile private network supported by Vodafone will allow vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to be verified, as well as testing infotainment and cybersecurity. Also, an extensive portfolio of digital replicas exist, where simulated testing can be scaled, reinforcing physical testing. It can also be accessed virtually so technology can be tested from anywhere in the world.
The facility is supported by an on-site network of campus roads complemented by a 300km network of adjacent CAV-enabled public roads equipped with a range of intelligent transport systems enabling real-world road trials to take place.
The site places a strong emphasis on CAV safety and in support of this, there is a full complement of advanced robotic “targets”. These are realistic mock-up vehicles and vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, that can be programmed to simulate potential collision scenarios that can be used for testing active safety systems and Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS).
ASSURED CAV supports the government’s industrial strategy to establish the UK as a leader in the development and commercialisation of CAVs, which, according to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), could yield the UK economy £62 billion per year by 2030.The world-class hub will also strengthen the case for investing in the UK automotive industry at a time when the sector faces intense pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit uncertainty.
Declan Allen, Managing Director at HORIBA MIRA said: “We’ve been on a journey to create ASSURED CAV; it represents many years of intense research and investment to bring together one of the most comprehensive CAV validation multi-technology centres in the world.
“At a time when the automotive industry is facing significant headwinds, we’ve been steadfast in our approach to delivering this investment and we’re extremely proud to provide an wide range of services, which will allow the automotive industry, as well as complementary industries, to develop and prove their self-driving technology. This is a unique opportunity for companies to accelerate their activities to lead the industry – it will allow companies to bring forward their activities in this sector in an efficient and optimised manner, enabling them to solve the real-world problems of integrating their automated products into the public roads, whilst also importantly achieving consumer acceptance.”
Chris Reeves, Head of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technologies at HORIBA MIRA, said: “Supported by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles as part of CAM Testbed UK, ASSURED CAV demonstrates that HORIBA MIRA is again at the forefront of Government and industry’s collaborative approach to ensuring the UK is the best place in the world to develop and deploy CAM.”
According to Reeves, although huge strides have been made in CAV technologies in recent years, the overriding challenge for the industry is giving consumers confidence that CAVs are safe enough to be on the roads.
“Our new ASSURED CAV centre does just that and is a significant milestone in helping CAV developers bring their vehicles to market. Not only will ASSURED CAV help to ensure a seamless development process, it will also foster the innovations and cross-industry partnerships needed to speed up the self-driving revolution and realise the huge economic and societal benefits it will bring,” he concludes.
ASSURED CAV enables manufacturers of self-driving technology to design, develop and test it from one globally accessible location – bringing with it benefits in terms of logistics by reducing prototypes and team movements. With mounting Brexit and coronavirus-related challenges, ASSURED CAV negates the need to send teams and products to multiple locations to fulfil engineering and test requirements, reducing time and costs in an industry where the level of required investment is already incredibly high. As an added asset, automotive manufacturers can base themselves at HORIBA MIRA through the MIRA Technology Park and sit alongside over 35 established mobility providers working on the latest technologies.
BSI taxonomy helps fast-track safe automated driving
A new standard from BSI, PAS 1883 Operational Design Domain (ODD) Taxonomy for Automated Driving Systems (ADS) – Specification, is intended to help enable safe automated driving by defining a common language for describing the operating conditions, such as the environment and driving situations, an automated vehicle has been designed to function in.
PAS 1883 provides common taxonomy for describing the ODD of an automated driving system, including the type of roads, traffic and weather. It will help organisations testing automated vehicles to describe their capabilities in a reliable and accurate way. This will also allow developers of CAV technologies to communicate the capabilities of their vehicles clearly and consistently to the likes of road authorities, insurers and consumers.
It is intended to be used alongside other BSI standards developed to support CAV trialling and testing, such as PAS 1881 Assuring the Safety of Automated Vehicle Trials and Testing – Specification.