Autonomous car centre gets £51m boost from UK govt

HORIBA MIRA and Coventry University secure grant funding for the creation of world class connected and autonomous vehicle testing facilities.

Autonomous Vehicle - Networked cars will become more common in the future. Image courtesy of the US Department of Transportation.
The global intelligent and autonomous vehicle sector is growing at a rapid pace – image courtesy of the US Department of Transportation.

Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) are a subject of huge interest both in the UK and internationally, as many companies and cities try to understand what the future holds when these vehicles are widely available.

To further accelerate this development, the UK government gave green light to a new test facility and the testing of driverless cars on public roads.

HORIBA MIRA and Coventry University will create the ‘Trusted Intelligent Connected Autonomous Vehicle Consortium’ – known as TIC-IT, as part of the national strategy to establish the UK as a leading centre for CAV’s.

The consortium will be led by HORIBA MIRA in partnership with Coventry University, a leading institution in the fields of cyber security, engineering and automotive design.

The group will receive grant funding from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to establish a critical piece of testing infrastructure, which will form part of the world’s most effective CAV testing ecosystem.

TIC-IT is one of four projects announced that will enhance the UK’s capabilities for the development of CAV technology.

Collectively, the projects represent a total of £80m co-investment by industry and government through Meridian, a partnership between the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), Automotive Council and the Advanced Propulsion Centre – with £51m coming from government.

Jim Campbell, launch director, Meridian, said: “HORIBA MIRA’s project is part of a crucial first step to ensure that the UK is best-placed to become a world-leader in connected and autonomous vehicle technology.

“With this first phase of government funding, Meridian will work with HORIBA MIRA to help develop the sophisticated vehicle testing capabilities needed for the UK automotive industry to thrive in the future.”

The TIC-IT facility will be built on HORIBA MIRA’s Proving Ground and will create a purpose built realistic, safe environment for testing CAVs up to the limit of their operability; a critical activity to ensure consumer confidence in the technologies.

The test environment will be unique, enabling a wide range of CAV driving scenarios to be tested.

The emergence of CAV technology is set to generate unprecedented levels of disruption and change not only within the automotive industry but the mobility sector.

With the testing ecosystem in place the UK is set to become a globally-leading centre of excellence for the development and commercialisation of this transformational technology.