With all this new technology, you’re likely to have a question or two. Hopefully, we can answer them here.
What is Midlands Future Mobility?
Midlands Future Mobility will be a world-class ecosystem for Connected and Autonomous Mobility (CAM) technology development. We will act as the springboard for scalable, real-world future mobility technologies and services. The journeys of tomorrow start here today, for the benefit of society and business as part of the UK’s National Strategy.
What kind of technology will be tested?
Midlands Future Mobility will enable deployment, development and integration of a very wide range of technologies that will enable future mobility solutions. Currently the main focus is on connected and autonomous vehicles, however we also anticipate testing technology from across the entire transport system including: ADAS systems; autonomous control systems; sensors to enable smart infrastructure; digital worlds for virtual validation; communications systems including 5G.
Why is a real world enviroment needed?
The success and adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles depends on how well these vehicles integrate into real world living environments, among real world situations, alongside existing transport services and infrastructure. While controlled off-street testing is important in providing confirmation that systems are behaving as expected in a range of controlled scenarios, testing in a live environment is vital to understand user acceptance and how these systems operate amongst the complexity and unpredictability that is inherent in real world environments.
Real road testing locations are vital for understanding how business models posed by new mobility solutions will be adopted and work in a real world environment. Testing in the environment will help accelerate the adoption of new mobility in the UK and globally.
What are the main benefits of the environment?
One of the main benefits of the environment is that it can help organisations bring solutions to market faster. By deploying concepts in a living environment, and using the advanced facilities and services, organisations can understand how their technology is perceived and how it tackles real world challenges, speeding up research and development processes and demonstrating commercial viability.
It can also be used by policy makers for designing, exploring, experiencing and refining new policies and regulations in real life scenarios, or for evaluating their potential impacts before implementation.
Another benefit of the environment is greater collaboration. It provides an environment for groups of innovators to get together to better understand the impact of change, enabling organisations to plan for the future and to avoid the paralysis of decision-making that can occur when the future is uncertain.
Where in the Midlands will the environment be located?
The environment will initially have facilities located in Coventry, Birmingham and Solihull and will be linked by the roads between. Onsite facilities are located at WMG (University of Warwick) Coventry, TfWM in Birmingham and the support centre in Coventry. The road route covers over 300 miles between and around Coventry and Birmingham.
Why has the Midlands been chosen as the location for a CAM environment?
The Midlands is at the heart of the British Automotive, Manufacturing and Technology sector. Midlands Future Mobility is ideally located and within easy reach of many potential environment users. The Midlands also demonstrates a wide range of road types that have been included on the route.
What is the Government's role?
The multi-million pound programme is jointly funded by Government and the partners. The UK Government has committed to ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of this new and rapidly evolving market. Midlands Future Mobility will be working closely with Meridian Mobility, who will coordinate testing enviroments across the UK.
How you can work with us
Access a uniquely diverse, public physical test environment with smart monitoring, the latest wireless connectivity and a complete support network.
Utilise a digital twin of the test route, which can be used in external facilities or in our state of the art simulation suite.
Access to research, design, evaluation and deployment support from a consortium of delivery partners.
Stay connected – please get in touch
For the public
Why do we need to test Connected and Automated Mobility solutions on real roads?
Statistics on reported road casualties in Great Britain last year (to 2019) shows there were 1,870 reported road deaths, around 25,000 serious injuries, and a further 125,000 injuries on our roads. It is estimated that around 90% of road accidents are caused in some part by human error. Connected and automated mobility will remove many opportunities for human error, initially supporting drivers with advanced assistance features and connectivity and later with autonomous driving modes. This will make roads safer, and also has the potential to give greater access to mobility for those unable to drive today.
What will I see that is different on my local roads?
You are likely to perceive nothing at all. There may be some fairly average looking additions to the road furniture in your area but they won’t look different to things you’ve already seen. If you look really closely then occasionally a vehicle may pass with additional cameras/sensors fitted.
Will there be any disturbance in installation of this infrastructure?
Very little, in the main we will be fitting equipment to existing road infrastructure.
Will there be extra traffic on the roads?
If there is, it’s highly unlikely to be perceivable as the volume of vehicles on the roads today will dwarf the amount of connected and automated trial vehicles being driven around the route.
Will speed be controlled?
Connected and automated vehicles must comply with the rules of the road like any other car, so yes absolutely. The cars will always be monitored so speeding is significantly less likely from them than it is from the average motorist.
Will the Midlands Future Mobility testing be safe?
No trialling will be allowed on the roads without a rigorous safety case which proves the driving is as safe or safer than an average journey today. Long term, connected and automated vehicles will be significantly safer than the vehicles on our roads today.
When will I see driverless cars on the route?
There is no fixed date but, if you do ‘see’ them at all, from mid-2020 is the anticipated timescale.
How can I get involved in research studies?
Please register your interest here and we will add you to our database.