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Thursday, 14 November

Driverless Car Testing On M40 Corridor

Climate Change and Industry Minister Claire Perry has said a new co-ordination hub for connected autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies will be created. The hub will join-up companies along the M40 corridor under the banner of Meridian.

Meridian will be funded jointly by the government’s £100 million CAV investment programme and by industry. "We want to create a cluster of excellence in driverless car testing, along the M40 corridor between Coventry and London, to accelerate the development of this technology, grow intellectual capital and attract overseas investment in the UK," said Perry.

 

Industrial Strategy

A key part of the UK's Industrial Strategy commitment is to develop CAV testing facilities and infrastructure. The launch of the Meridian brand follows a call for evidence by the Centre of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles in May 2016 into how the UK can integrate and strengthen its CAV testing facilities and to consider the case for a test bed to provide a focus for the industry.

Responses to the consultation were published in March, reflected broad industry support from the Automotive Council, among other sectors and companies, for coordinating the UK’s existing testing facilities and for Government funding to support this work.

Minister Perry also said: “By 2035 the global market for CAV technologies will be worth £907 billion and through government investment and collaboration with industry in this area we will ensure that the UK becomes one of the global ‘go to’ destinations for the development of this technology.”

With bases at the Coventry and Stratford branches of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), Meridian will bring together the UK’s existing CAV testing centres to create a concentrated cluster of testing facilities that covers all testing requirements for CAV technology. Analysis has identified that through the hub, the UK has an opportunity to focus on four strategically important areas:

  • Advanced CAV testing and development;
  • Connected environments;
  • Data and cyber security; and
  • New mobility services

Ford Director of Global Vehicle Evaluation and Verification and Chair of the Auto Council Technology Group, Graham Hoare said: “These technologies are coming and will profoundly change our understanding of mobility. The UK has long-standing capabilities across many of the sectors supporting new vehicle technologies and an approach that is more open and collaborative than other markets.

“We recognise that these new technologies are broader than the automotive sector and we welcome the different ideas and perspectives that this brings.”

Picture: A fully Autonomous electric shuttle from Meridian

Article written by Cathryn Ellis

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