UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment consortium starts work on UK’s first fully-connected road test environment


A project to create one of the world’s most advanced environments for connected and autonomous driving begins today (June 1), following a successful application for funding from the UK government’s £100m (US$145m) Intelligent Mobility Fund, which is administered by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered by the country’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The unique UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UK CITE) project, which could see trials on public roads as early as next year, is worth a total of £7.1m (US$10.3m) including the investment from government, and will enable automotive, infrastructure and service companies to trial connected vehicle technology, infrastructure, and services in real-life conditions on 40 miles (64km) of roads within Coventry and Warwickshire. The project will establish how technology can improve journeys, reduce traffic congestion, and provide in-vehicle entertainment and safety services through better connectivity.

The UK CITE consortium is jointly led by Visteon Engineering Services and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and includes Coventry City Council, Coventry University, Highways England, Horiba Mira, Huawei Technologies (UK), Siemens, Vodafone Group Services, and WMG at University of Warwick. The UK CITE project will create the UK’s first fully connected infrastructure on public roads using a combination of wireless technologies, which can enable real-world testing in a safe and managed way.

Phase one of the 30-month project will continue until the end of 2016 and will include the preparation of infrastructure on routes along the M40 and M42 motorways, A46, and A45 trunk roads, as well as an urban route in Coventry, and the preparation of a vehicle, systems and gantry app, which will ensure variable roadside messages appear in vehicle, either on the vehicle display or smartphone. Finally, pre-test trials will take place on Horiba Mira’s City Circuit; a purpose-built environment for the development and validation of connected and autonomous technologies.

Claire Lewis, senior business development manager at Visteon, which is responsible for overall technical architecture of the project, including smartphone software and embedded VRSM software and hardware, said, “The UK CITE project is an ideal opportunity for automotive manufacturers, technology and infrastructure providers and service operators, and infrastructure operators, to collaborate to develop a real-world testbed for connected technology in a non-competitive environment. The project will enable all partners to accelerate their learning on cybersecurity and safety, whilst exploring the commercial opportunities of the connected vehicle area.”

Tony Harper, head of research and technology at JLR, commented, “This real-life laboratory will allow our research team and project partners to test new CAV technologies on five different types of roads and junctions. This test route, with its mixture of road types and technology deployment, is challenging the technology operation in real-world environments and will provide the insight needed for deployment. The CAV features we will be testing will improve road safety, enhance the driving experience, reduce the potential for jams and improve traffic flow.”

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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).