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New ‘Smart City Mobility Centre’ announced for Warwickshire and West Midlands

Posted: 14 November 2018 | | No comments yet

The new centre will create state-of-the-art vehicle modular architectures and integrated driverless capability to support the development of smart cities.

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A new multi-million-pound ‘Smart City Mobility Centre’ has been announced, and will be established in Warwickshire and the West Midlands.

This centre – Europe’s first multi-million-pound Smart City Mobility Centre – will be based at the University of Warwick’s Wellesbourne campus, with driverless capable vehicle testing available.

The Right Honourable Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “I am delighted by this announcement that Europe’s first multi-million-pound Smart City Mobility Centre is to be established on the University of Warwick’s Wellesbourne campus with additional self-driving capable vehicle testing. This is a clear example of our Industrial Strategy in practice as we execute our Future Mobility Grand Challenge.”

The facility combines research expertise from Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) – an academic department at the University of Warwick – and Jaguar Land Rover’s leading research and engineering capabilities.

Professor Dr Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer of Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Jaguar Land Rover welcomes the centre, which will create state-of-the-art electric vehicle modular architectures and driverless capabilities to support the smart cities of the future.

“It builds collaboration 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.”

Jaguar Land Rover engineers and WMG researchers will work together to design and engineer connected, driverless-capable, prototype electric modular architectures. These will be tested in real-world conditions alongside a specially designed 5G communications network on the University of Warwick’s main campus.

WMG Chairman, Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, said: “This is the first time in any country that such a comprehensive system is being designed and tested. 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 many people who could benefit from even safer, less congested and more environmentally-sustainable transport.”

As the centre develops, it is expected to play a significant role in transforming the future of UK transport. The new Smart City Mobility Centre will also draw on expertise in battery technology; the new £20 million UK Mobility Data Institute, established by WMG in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to collect, process and analyse transport data generated by the advent of new mobility technologies; and the WMCA development of a multi-city 5G test bed.

The Midlands is at the forefront of driverless capable technology which will benefit the region and the UK. The vehicles developed and prototyped at the Smart City Mobility Centre will benefit significantly from these regional developments in the 5G communications network that seek to deliver driverless capable vehicles to improve people’s mobility, reduce traffic congestion and road traffic accidents.

Jonathan Browning, Chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is a very exciting announcement which again underlines Coventry and Warwickshire’s place on the global stage, helping to define the future of transportation. It also highlights the benefits of different partners and organisations across our area working together. It shows that we are all aligned in building the required skills and capabilities in a fast-changing and increasingly competitive industry.

“This news comes on top of other announcements, including that we were recently chosen as the location of the new UK Battery Industrialisation Centre and is another piece of the jigsaw that is aimed at ensuring Coventry and Warwickshire has a thriving and world-leading automotive industry as the sector goes through fundamental technological change.”

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