The chairman of the University of Warwick’s WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group) academic department, Professor Lord Bhattacharyya (above), has announced that Europe’s first multi-million-pound Smart City Mobility Center (SCMC) will be based at the UK university’s Wellesbourne campus.
The new Center in the West Midlands will bring together WMG’s research expertise and auto maker Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) leading research and engineering capabilities, with both parties working together at Wellesbourne to design and engineer connected, driverless-capable, prototype electric modular architectures.
These will be tested in real-world conditions alongside a specially designed 5G cellular communications network on the University of Warwick’s main campus in Coventry and on roads in Warwickshire. As the center develops, it is expected to play a significant role in transforming the future of UK transport.
The new Smart City Mobility Center will also draw on:
• Expertise in battery technology that will be developed by the UK Battery Industrialization Center (UKBIC), which will also be located in Coventry and Warwickshire;
• The new £20m (US$25.6m) UK Mobility Data Institute being established by WMG in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to collect, process and analyze transport data generated by the advent of new mobility technologies such as driverless vehicles and smart charging of electrified vehicles;
• The WMCA development of a multi-city 5G cellular network testbed.
The new Smart City Mobility Center will create state-of-the-art vehicle modular architectures and integrated driverless capability to support smart cities that could help make congestion, emissions and road traffic accidents a thing of the past.
The SCMC will be Europe’s most extensive and significant integration of technology research projects at such a scale, combining the very latest research, transport data, infrastructure and vehicle prototyping.
The Midlands is at the forefront of driverless technology that is expected to benefit the region and the whole UK. The vehicles developed and prototyped at the Smart City Mobility Center will benefit significantly from these regional developments in the 5G communications network that seek to deliver driverless vehicles to improve people’s mobility, reduce traffic congestion and road traffic accidents, and benefit the environment.
“This is the first time in any country that such a comprehensive system is being designed and tested,” noted Lord Bhattacharyya. “This will help integrate plans for transport systems for the future that have the potential to bring significant economic benefits to transform and improve the lives of a great many people who could benefit from even safer, less congested, and more environmentally sustainable transport.”
JLR’s CEO, Professor Ralf Speth, said, “The new center builds on collaboration between Jaguar Land Rover, WMG, the University of Warwick and government to develop 5G connectivity in the region. This is critical for new mobility solutions and services that will transform customer experiences in the future and make congestion, traffic accidents and emissions a thing of the past. We look forward to this industry-leading project, which will develop future prototypes that put the UK at the forefront of automotive technology.”