Four projects are to share £51m of government funding to upgrade the UK’s testing infrastructure for connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology.
The projects will test the speed, safety and potential opportunities for delivering CAV innovation, according to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
They include HORIBA MIRA in Nuneaton, which will build a new site alongside its existing vehicle test tracks where automated vehicles can be tested at the limits of their speed and handling to ensure they are safe.
In the second project, Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire and Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) based in the Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire will set up a range of different test areas designed to replicate realistic city driving environments, where automated vehicles can be tested before being taken onto public roads.
The other two projects will adapt real-world locations for testing of automated vehicles in live traffic. TRL will lead a project to set up live test environments in Greenwich and Stratford’s Olympic Park in London, and Warwick Manufacturing Group will set up real-world test environments in Coventry and Birmingham.
The four projects are the first to be funded from the government’s £100m CAV testing infrastructure programme announced in November 2016. The government funding will be matched by industry.
All four are expected to be fully operational and advancing technology development in this sector within the next 18 to 24 months.
The announcement comes after the UK government launched MERIDIAN, a new initiative for the development of CAV technology.
MERIDIAN aims 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.