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LU London Automated public transport project

21 Nov 2017

Connected and automated vehicle project aims to steer the next generation of automated public transport

A £17 million scheme to create a driverless transport testing area in the streets around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London is due to be up and running by spring 2019.

Loughborough University, the lead academic partner, has been awarded £500,000 as part of the project which will transform the public highways around Stratford, and the nearby borough of Greenwich, into a working test bed for autonomous (driverless) vehicles.

The Smart Mobility Living Lab (SMLL) will allow companies to use the area to trial their ideas, technology and services on real roads, to help them develop new vehicle systems and big city transport applications.

Professor Pete Thomas, of the Design School, who is leading Loughborough’s involvement, said: “This is an exciting venture to be a part of and will place Loughborough and Loughborough London at the heart of a world leading research and development facility for connected and automated vehicles.

“The award of the £17 million test bed to the London consortium provides a fantastic opportunity for Loughborough to focus its research around this rapidly developing new socio-technical area.

“Intelligent Mobility will have a major impact on future transport and this test bed will enable the University in Loughborough and in London to be at the forefront of new developments.”

The project partners, led by TRL, also include Transport for London, Cisco and the 5G Innovation Centre.

The test bed will include a wide range of facilities including connected and instrumented road infrastructure, mule vehicles for new automation systems, private networks and mobility data capture, 5G and DCRS connectivity and more specialist research equipment.

Loughborough’s contribution will include research and development into instrumented and connected roads, a vehicle fleet for experimental purposes, cooperative intersection management systems, high accuracy GPS, 5G and large-scale vehicle to anything communication capability, high performance data capture and analysis system and other capabilities.

Prof Thomas said: “We will be developing a new research programme that takes advantage of the facilities and the rapidly developing mobility environment. Companies such as Ford will increase their presence at Here East (LUL) to take advantage of the teaching, research and innovation facilities.

“We will also be working with industry, both large and SME, to identify educational and CPD needs.

“And there will be specific research equipment to meet existing LU needs while researchers will be able to access the much wider range of equipment – including roadside, data, communications and vehicles.”

The facilities will bring new research opportunities for many parts of the University from automation and robotics, to connectivity and communications, human factors and business areas.

Professor Steve Rothberg, Loughborough’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for research, said: “Being part of the SMLL initiative builds on our world-class research in automotive engineering and we are excited by the opportunity to develop the CAV technologies that will revolutionise how we travel.

“We welcome the chance to drive forward this significant agenda from our London campus.”