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Posted 18/10/2017
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First £51 million investment through Meridian

19/10/17 Meridian welcomes £51 million UK self driving vehicle investment

  • £51m to develop UK testing facilities for connected and autonomous vehicles
  • Meridian coordinating funding to make UK a global hub for self-driving vehicle development
  • Four consortia led by HORIBA MIRA, Millbrook, TRL and Warwick Manufacturing Group
  • The Meridian Testbed will be promoted to global corporates as well as SMEs and start-ups throughout the UK and internationally

Meridian welcomes the announcement from government today, that it has awarded £51 million funding for four consortia to develop the UK’s connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) testing capabilities.

This is the first investment by government and industry through Meridian to develop a coordinated national platform of CAV testing infrastructure. Funding has been awarded to consortia led by HORIBA MIRA, Millbrook, TRL and Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG). It will be used to enhance the organisations’ testing facilities and together will help to position the UK as a global hub for CAV development in a market predicted to be worth £51 billion* by 2020.

Projects focus on moving the industry from virtual computer simulation to real world testing, and include the construction of a new high-speed testing facility in Nuneaton, Warwickshire to semi-controlled environment in Culham, Oxfordshire, and real-life public testing in Birmingham, Coventry and London.

Projects include:

  • The TIC-IT consortium, led by HORIBA MIRAin partnership with Coventry University, will receive a grant of £13 million in a £26 million programme to create a purpose built, safe environment for testing CAV up to the limit of operability; which is critical to ensure consumer confidence. The unique test environment will enable a wide range of CAV scenarios to be tested.
  • Millbrook and the UKAEA’s RACE will operate a testbed for the development of CAV technologies across two sites, offering the full spectrum of controlled to semi-controlled urban environments and 90 km of roads. Investment in infrastructure, 5G emulation, data storage, vehicles and simulation, together with unique access to a 2,000 adult population on a secure site, will enable testing to capture all aspects of real-world operation for CAVs,including Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and other social impacts.
  • TRL will receive a grant of £13.4 million in a £19.2 million programme to launch The Smart Mobility Living Lab: London, which is designed to be an open innovation environment, providing a real world urban testbed capable of demonstrating and evaluating the use, performance and benefits of CAV technology and mobility services. Contributors from across the automotive sector, transport service providers, SMEs, local and central government and research bodies, will collaborate together to exchange ideas and develop technical and business solutions for the future adoption of smart mobility solutions.
  • The UK Central CAV Testbed, led by Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), will receive a grant of £17.6 million in a £25.3 million programme to be based on 80 kilometres of urban roads in Coventry and Birmingham, creating a world-leading connected infrastructure and eco-system, developing the next generation connected and autonomous (CAV) vehicles and positioning the Midlands as a centre for cutting-edge automotive and communication technologies.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

‘Combining ambitious new technologies and innovative business models to address social and economic challenges lies at the heart of the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy. Accelerating connected and autonomous vehicle technology development is central to achieving this ambition and will help to ensure the UK is one of the world’s go-to locations to develop this sector. 

‘These projects, backed by Government, form part of a globally unique cluster running from our automotive heartlands in the West Midlands, down through our innovation centres in Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes, through to London, Europe’s only megacity.’

 Launch Director of Meridian, Jim Campbell said:

‘As connected and autonomous vehicle technology becomes more complex, ensuring that the UK automotive industry has world-leading facilities to test and refine concepts is of imperative importance. Today’s announcement from government is a strong first step to ensure the UK achieves its ambition of becoming a global hub of CAV development in the coming years.’  

‘Meridian is excited by the quality of the testing facilities these projects will deliver. The Meridian Mobility Technology Testbed will offer world class CAV testing and development in the UK and allow us to accelerate research, development and adoption of these vehicles. Meridian’s role is to coordinate the way the projects will work together to form the UK testbed and to attract individuals with the talent and skills to contribute to advances in mobility technology.’

Meridian was launched in September 2017 to support the development of UK CAV technology by bringing together the country’s leading OEMs, SMEs and start-ups. A partnership between the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), Automotive Council and the Advanced Propulsion Centre, Meridian aims to create one of the world’s most efficient CAV communities by encouraging cross-sector collaboration.

More information about the CCAV funding programme to create the Meridian Mobility Technology Testbed can be found in this video, first published in April 2017 http://bit.ly/ccavapr17.

*Research by the Transport Systems Catapult published in July 2017 http://bit.ly/2zsct6F