UK CITE consortium starts live testing of connected car technologies in Coventry


A UK project to create one of the world’s most advanced environments for connected and autonomous driving has entered its second phase of testing, with connected cars going on trial on public roads to prepare the country’s highway network for self-driving cars. 

The second phase of the UK CITE (Connected Intelligent Transport Environment) consortium’s testing will see Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) trial a range of intelligent connected features such as emergency electronic brake light warning (EEBL), emergency vehicle warning (EVW), and in-vehicle signage (IVS) for road works warning (RWW) and traffic condition warning (TCW).

The UK CITE project will create the country’s first fully connected infrastructure, using a globally unique combination of wireless technologies, which can enable real-world testing in a safe and managed way.

The project is funded by the UK government’s £100m (US$131.5m) Connected and Autonomous Vehicle fund, delivered by Innovate UK. The project is worth a total of £7.1m (US$9.3m) including investment from the government and Highways England (HE). 

Work by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and Coventry City Council enabled the installation of critical infrastructure on urban roads in advance of the installation of 35 of Siemens’s ESCoS road side units (RSUs) on the M40 and M42 motorways. The units provide the technical platform for real-time data exchange between vehicles and traffic control equipment.

Vodafone Group supported this phase of activity with the provision of 30 smartphones and network connectivity for infrastructure-to-vehicle (I2V) communications. In addition to on-road testing, simulation plays a key role in taking the project into its next phase.

Horiba MIRA is developing a simulation system to model connected vehicles tested via the UK CITE corridor, and Coventry University will be using the data from the live vehicle trials and scaling it into a larger virtual environment using simulation modeling. 

The 30-month project involves equipping over 40 miles (64km) of urban roads, dual-carriageways and motorways with combinations of three connected technologies (LTE, ITS-G5 and wi-fi), and testing for a fourth (LTE-V).

The UK CITE consortium comprises leading industry, academic and local and national governmental organizations. It is jointly led by Visteon Engineering Services and JLR, and includes Coventry City Council, Coventry University, Highways England, Horiba MIRA, Huawei Technologies (UK), Siemens, TfWM, Vodafone Group Services, and WMG at University of Warwick. 

“This next phase of testing is critical in testing the capabilities and providing valuable metrics of the connected network we’re developing,” explained Claire Lewis, senior business development manager at Visteon, which is responsible for overall technical architecture of the project, including multipath embedded software, and a smartphone application. “The strides we’re making as part of the UK CITE project are creating vital technologies to enable a safer and more efficient road network.” 

Colin Lee, JLR’s V2X manager, commented, “To realize the full benefit of self-driving cars, we need to understand the infrastructure that’s needed to support them. Connectivity not only takes us a step closer to making this a reality, but it also creates the platform to bring a great array of connected safety features to our customers in the near future. We’re working with some fantastic global experts across industry and academia and we’re eager to take the project into this next phase of testing.” 

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).