Amey starts work on UK autonomous vehicle research project

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As the development of driverless cars and other vehicles gathers pace, there is a growing need to fully understand the implications of the revolutionary technology on towns, cities and transport networks. One of the UK’s leading consultancies is embarking on a research project to explore what infrastructure experts think about autonomous vehicle technology.

As one of the country’s leading public and regulated services providers, Amey has been asked to work alongside government and industry partners to explore what the potential impact will be on the UK’s infrastructure, as part of the People in Autonomous Vehicles in Urban Environments (PAVE) consortium, based at Culham Science Center in Oxfordshire.

Amey will run a series of workshops and other events, and will be gathering views from councilors from local authorities around the country, travel planners, the emergency services, industry experts, and policy makers, with a view to understanding the perceived benefits and challenges this new form of transport poses, from a range of key perspectives.

The PAVE consortium won funding from the government innovation agency Innovate UK for a feasibility study to test public perceptions toward driverless vehicles, in recognition of ongoing public apprehension about this radical change in transportation. The findings of this research project could inform future government policies and decisions related to driverless cars over the coming decades. The consortium is due to publish its final report by 2017.

“The UK has the highest internet search requests on driverless cars anywhere in the world, however, recent studies suggest that while people think that driverless car technology potentially offers enormous economic and societal benefits, there are concerns, particularly about safety,” noted Dr Rick Robinson, Amey’s IT director of smart data and technology.

“While these vehicles remain in development phase, now is an important time to explore the views of people who understand the wider implications of the technology. We are keen to learn what autonomous vehicles mean for transport infrastructure, and how we can design the transport network of tomorrow. We see this project as an exciting opportunity to work as part of a consortium whose focus is not necessarily the technology itself, but rather the stakeholder and infrastructure environment in which autonomous vehicles will operate.”

Amey’s consulting team has just reached a significant milestone after securing Grade A Civil Engineering Registration for its business in Qatar, meaning it is now able to tender for a wide array of projects that would not normally be open to international firms. Completing the registration has taken over a year and has involved establishing a permanent business in Qatar, undergoing written exams, and submitting a case to the Engineering Committee at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME). Amey has had a presence in Qatar since 2012, providing a comprehensive range of professional services to the country’s highways authority, Ashghal, as well as providing asset management advisory services into a number of work streams for Kahramaa, the state owned utilities provider.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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