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  • Writer's pictureNATALIA SOUSA

New Autonomous Vehicle Development Centre will be completed at Horiba Mira, March 2021

The development of self-driving vehicles could be speeded up as a new autonomous vehicle ecosystem nears completion in the UK, at Horiba Mira based in the Midlands region. Horiba Mira say it is set to provide the UK with the most complete environment for the acceleration of future mobility. The centre will be known as ASSURED CAV and has been designed to enable the auto industry, policy makers, and government to develop autonomous vehicle technology that is robust enough to allow users to research a wide range of eventualities that are seen on public roads, allowing the centres users to develop the technology more safely for its eventual consumers.

Horiba Mira hopes that Assured CAV becomes a location where organisations can lead both in the development and verification of autonomous technologies, but also a centre where learning will be applied to influence legislation, policy and insurance industry. The ultimate goal will be to ensure the technology improves lives.

The centre should be open and operational from March 2021, following an overall investment of £100 Million for the project, Horiba Mira say the facility will include:

A high-speed facility enabling autonomous vehicles to be tested at the limit of controllability – specifically designed for performing scenario-based testing, the facility will enable the testing of driving scenarios such as traffic merging and lane keep assist to be conducted to international regulatory protocols

Urban environments where vehicles will experience pedestrians and cyclists, complex junctions and on-street parking

A purpose-built multi-storey car park which will support the development of automated valet parking – car passengers will exit their vehicle, for it to then find its own parking space, returning to the passenger at a designated waiting area when requested

An ultrafast 5G mobile private network supported by Vodafone, which will allow vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to be verified, as well as testing infotainment and cybersecurity

An extensive portfolio of digital replicas where simulated testing can be scaled, reinforcing physical testing. It can also be accessed virtually so technology can be tested from anywhere in the world

An on-site network of campus roads complemented by a 300km network of adjacent CAV-enabled public roads equipped with a range of intelligent transport systems enabling real-world road trials

Full complement of advanced robotic targets and supporting junction layouts adhering to relevant protocols for a full suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) testing

Horiba Mira through, ASSURED CAV is supporting the UK government’s industrial strategy which aims to establish the UK as a leader in the development and commercialisation of CAVs, which, according to The UK automotive trade body, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), could bring the UK economy £62 billion per year by 2030.

The UK automotive industry is facing intense pressure from both Brexit uncertainty and the COVID 19 pandemic, its hoped that the facility will help manufactures see the centre as a high value resource, and a positive reason to continue investing in the UK automotive industry.

Declan Allen, Managing Director at HORIBA MIRA said: “We’ve been on a journey to create ASSURED CAV; it represents many years of intense research and investment to bring together one of the most comprehensive CAV validation ecosystems in the world.

“At a time when the automotive industry is facing significant headwinds, we’ve been steadfast in our approach to delivering this investment and we’re extremely proud to provide an ecosystem which will allow the automotive industry, as well as complementary industries, to develop and prove their self-driving technology. This is a unique opportunity for companies to accelerate their activities to lead the industry – it will allow companies to bring forward their activities in this sector in an efficient and optimised manner, enabling them to solve the real-world problems of integrating their automated products into the public roads, whilst also importantly achieving consumer acceptance.”

Chris Reeves, Head of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technologies at HORIBA MIRA, said: “Supported by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles as part of CAM Testbed UK, ASSURED CAV demonstrates that HORIBA MIRA is again at the forefront of Government and industry’s collaborative approach to ensuring the UK is the best place in the world to develop and deploy CAM.

“Although we’ve seen huge strides made in CAV technologies in recent years, the overriding challenge for the industry is giving consumers confidence that CAVs are safe enough to be on our roads. Our new ASSURED CAV ecosystem does just that and is a significant milestone in helping CAV developers bring their vehicles to market. Not only will ASSURED CAV help to ensure a seamless development process, it will also foster the innovations and cross-industry partnerships needed to speed up the self-driving revolution and realise the huge economic and societal benefits it will bring.”

ASSURED CAV will allow manufacturers of self-driving vehicles & components to design, develop and test in one central location – bringing with it benefits in terms of logistics by reducing prototypes and team movements. With mounting Brexit and coronavirus-related challenges, ASSURED CAV negates the need to send teams and products to multiple locations to fulfil engineering and test requirements, reducing time and costs in an industry where the level of required investment is extremely high.

A video filmed earlier this year during early construction demonstrating the scale of the site.

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