At The Centre Of It All: UK’s West Midlands To Build Smart City Mobility Centre

A new multi-million-pound Smart City Mobility Centre, to be established in Warwickshire and the West Midlands in the UK was announced last night (Monday 12 November 2018) at the Coventry and Warwickshire Automotive Dinner in Warwickshire.

WMG Chairman Professor Lord Bhattacharyya announced that 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 on the University of Warwick’s campus in Coventry and Warwickshire.

The Centre brings together WMG’s research expertise and Jaguar Land Rover’s leading research and engineering capabilities.

Jaguar Land Rover engineers and WMG researchers will work 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 communications network on the University of Warwick’s main campus.

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 which will be developed by the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) – which will also be located in Coventry and Warwickshire

• The new £20 million UK Mobility Data Institute being 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 such as driverless capable vehicles and smart charging of electrified vehicles.

• 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 whole 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 and benefit the environment.

The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “I am delighted by today’s 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 on the University of Warwick’s campus on the border of Coventry and Warwickshire. The Centre brings together, government support for applied technology research, WMG at the University of Warwick’s research expertise, and Jaguar Land Rover’s leading research and engineering capabilities. This is a clear example of our Industrial Strategy in practice as we execute our Future Mobility Grand Challenge.”

Professor Dr Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer of Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Jaguar Land Rover welcomes the centre, based at the University of Warwick’s Wellesbourne campus, which will create state-of-the-art electric vehicle modular architectures and integrated driverless capability to support the smart cities of the future. It 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.”

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 a great many people who could benefit from even safer, less congested, and more environmentally sustainable transport.”

The University of Warwick’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart Croft said: “This transformative initiative brings together WMG and the University of Warwick’s proven global expertise in research and application of smart, connected, driverless capable and electrified transport; and Jaguar Land Rover’s vision for the future of automotive industry. The technology and vehicles that will help transform global transport will not only be developed at the University of Warwick. The first vehicles to be prototyped as a result of this initiative will be extensively tested on the roads of the main University of Warwick campus.”

”This confirms the West Midlands and Warwickshire as being not just the heart but also the brains of automotive development in the UK, and upholds the UK as a global leader in the adoption of new transport systems.”

Tony Jefferson, Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council said: “The benefits to our region from this hugely innovative project will be considerable. We are delighted that the prototype systems will be built in Stratford-on-Avon District and Warwickshire, ensuring its ongoing place at the heart of the UK’s automotive industry. Any help or support that the University of Warwick may need from Stratford-on-Avon District Council we will be only too pleased to provide.”

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