UK’s TRL joins Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alliance Program


The importance of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and robotics in the transport sector cannot be underestimated, whether it is the integration of software and sensors that are the foundation of automated vehicles, or the processing and analysis of amalgamated datasets to deliver new insights into travel behavior. The UK’s primary transport research consultancy has formed a partnership with a leading US university to expand its knowledge base on the technologies.

To capitalize on the opportunities posed by new technology, the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) has engaged in a strategic alliance with the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Joining organizations such as Apple, Google, BP, Intel, BT and BAE Systems as a member of the CSAIL Alliance Program, TRL will work closely with MIT to enhance its existing knowledge and capabilities in the areas of artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning, and develop research initiatives for future transport needs.

The CSAIL Alliance Program offers unparalleled intelligence on advanced technology, access to thought leadership in emerging fields, and broad recognition of TRL as one of the most dynamic and innovative research centers in the world. Through the membership, TRL will have access to the CSAIL, the largest research laboratory facility at MIT, as well as research groups spanning robotics, natural language processing, networks, databases, cryptography, web science and more. The TRL team will also be able to engage with leading researchers in the fields of AI and robotics technologies, identifying opportunities to collaborate to improve knowledge and accelerate development in this area.

Speaking about the decision to join the CSAIL Alliance Program, TRL’s academy director, Professor Nick Reed (right), said, “Technology is advancing rapidly and is already driving dramatic changes within the transport industry. TRL’s role has always been to predict, understand and evaluate how such developments can deliver improvements in the safety, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of our transport systems. MIT’s CSAIL facility is world-renowned for its research in the development and application of new technologies. Joining the Alliance Program will help to ensure that TRL remains at the forefront of innovation in transport. We are looking forward to collaborating with CSAIL and partners in our ongoing program of research surrounding automated transport systems and self-driving cars.”

TRL already has a growing portfolio of innovative research projects in the field of connected and automated transport, with notable projects including: GATEway, MOVE_UK, and Atlas. TRL is also active in the development of vehicle-to-vehicle/infrastructure (V2V/X) cooperative systems, which may be crucial in realizing the potential of automated vehicles. It is also an active member in the iMobility Automation in Road Transport Working Group, and the VRA project, a support action funded by the European Union.

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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).