7th Jul, 2022

Coventry and Solihull roads will test driverless cars

Felix Nobes 5th Jun, 2018 Updated: 8th Jun, 2018

More than 50 miles of roads across Coventry, Solihull and Birmingham will be used for testing driverless cars.

A £25million project has outlined a specially selected network of roads to become the largest testing environment in the UK, its promoters say.

The route is being planned by the Midlands Future Mobility project – led by a group of industry and academic experts.

It will also set up roadside infrastructure to monitor and assist the vehicles testing.

Driverless vehicle technology remains a divisive topic with many unconvinced by the safety of the machines.

The Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) – including Coventry’s universities – and Transport for West Midlands – a public transport provider – will be directly involved as part of the group.

The West Midlands and Coventry has become the centre of research and development of connected autonomous vehicle technology (CAVT) as well as sustainable electric car innovation, according to the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

West Midlands mayor, Andy Street, said: “We have a long and proud history of vehicle manufacturing in the West Midlands.

“This project is the latest example of how the West Midlands is becoming a world-class location for CAVT developers to not only come and test their new technology but bring their manufacturing operations with them.

“We believe this cluster effect can keep the West Midlands at the cutting edge of advanced engineering and automotive manufacture, helping to build a strong regional economy with future-proof jobs for local people.”

The WMCA say the region’s technology will make a significant contribution to the UK’s national transport and industrial strategy.

The funding has come from industrial partners and Innovate UK – the government’s technology strategy board.

WMG’s professor Paul Jennings, who is the leader of the project, added: “New mobility technology and services will lead to safer, greener and more efficient transportation for both people and goods.

“This region’s new infrastructure and innovative technologies will set the future for the entire UK road transport system, creating knowledge, developing key skill sets and contributing to the national economy.”

Dr Daniel Ruiz, chief executive at Meridian Mobility – a government group focusing on CAV – added: “We are delighted to welcome the launch of Midlands Future Mobility.

“This is a fundamental pillar of our national capability for the testing and development of connected and self-driving vehicle technologies.”

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