A £13.4 million initiative to create a driverless transport testing area based in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and nearby Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London is due to be up and running by spring 2019.
Loughborough University, the lead academic partner, has been awarded £500,000 as part of the project to develop a research programme enabling a real-world working test bed for connected and autonomous (driverless) vehicles.
The Smart Mobility Living Lab: London will enable companies to trial their ideas, technology and services within complex public environments, to help them develop new vehicle systems and big city transport applications.
Professor Pete Thomas, of the Design School, who is leading Loughborough’s involvement, said: “This is an exciting venture to be a part of and will place Loughborough and Loughborough London at the heart of a world leading research and development facility for connected and autonomous vehicles.
“The award of the £13.4 million to the Living Lab consortium provides a fantastic opportunity for Loughborough to focus its research around this rapidly developing new socio-technical area.
“Intelligent Mobility will have a major impact on future transport and this test bed will enable the University in Loughborough and in London to be at the forefront of new developments.”
The project partners, led by TRL, also include Transport for London, Costain, Cisco, Cubic, DG Cities and the London Legacy Development Corporation.
The test bed will include a wide range of facilities including connected and instrumented road infrastructure, mule vehicles for new automation systems, private networks and mobility data capture, 5G and DCRS connectivity and more specialist research equipment.
Loughborough’s contribution will include research and development into instrumented and connected roads, alongside other consortium Partner contributions including: a vehicle fleet for experimental purposes; cooperative intersection management systems; high accuracy GPS; 5G and large-scale vehicle to anything communication capability; high performance data capture and analysis system and other capabilities.
Prof Thomas said: “We will be developing a new research programme that takes advantage of the facilities and the rapidly developing mobility environment. Companies such as Ford will be increasing their presence at Here East (LUL) to take advantage of the teaching, research and innovation facilities.
“We will also be working with industry, both large and SME, to identify educational and CPD needs.
“In addition, there will be specific research equipment to meet existing LU needs while researchers will be able to access the much wider range of equipment in the Living Lab – including roadside, data, communications and vehicles.”
The facilities will bring new research opportunities for many parts of the University from automation and robotics, to connectivity and communications, human factors and business areas.
Professor Steve Rothberg, Loughborough’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for research, said: “Being part of the Living Lab initiative builds on our world-class research in automotive engineering and we are excited by the opportunity to develop the CAV technologies that will revolutionise how we travel.
“We welcome the chance to be part of driving forward this significant agenda from our London campus.”