Coventry’s transport research team supports £7million connected driving project

Coventry University is joining forces with partners across academia, government and industry on a new project to create one of the world’s most advanced environments for connected and autonomous driving.

Researches from the University’s Centre for Mobility and Transport will be working on the newly launched UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UK CITE) project. Announced on Wednesday 1 June, the £7.1milion UK CITE project will establish how technology can improve journeys, reduce traffic congestion and provide in-vehicle entertainment and safety services through better connectivity.

UK CITE will enable automotive, infrastructure and service companies to trial connected vehicle technology, infrastructure and services in real-life conditions on 40 miles of roads within Coventry and Warwickshire. Trials on public roads could start as early as next year.

Coventry University’s efforts will focus on human factors and traffic modelling. The Centre for Mobility and Transport will work with project partners HORIBA MIRA to develop simulation models to investigate the impact of the wider take-up of this technology over time on drivers, the infrastructure capacity of such technology, safety implications and cyber-security issues.

Dr Olivier Haas, principal investigator at Coventry University’s Centre for Mobility and Transport, said: “The UK CITE project is an ideal research platform to evaluate the impact of connected vehicle technology on drivers’ behaviour and user experience using complex human performance and traffic simulation models as well as data from trials participants.

Olivier’s colleague Dr Cyriel Diels, Human Factors researcher and co-investigator, added: ‘The benefits of these technologies will only materialise if these systems are designed in such a way that people are not only able and willing to use them, but also respond to them as intended. We will investigate this in our new driving simulator facility which will allow us to systematically explore the different factors that will affect drivers’ behaviour and technology acceptance before implementing these in the real world.”

Dr Olivier Haas continued: “Through our work on the project we hope to develop a better understanding of how connected and automated vehicle technology impact drivers’ behaviour which in turn will allow us to refine driver models used in traffic simulators to improve accuracy, and predict the effects such technology can have on our roads.”

UK CITE was launched following a successful application for funding from the government’s £100 million Intelligent Mobility Fund. The fund, which has been established to accelerate research and development in connected and autonomous vehicle technologies, is administered by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The UK CITE consortium comprises leading industry, academic and local and national governmental organisations. It is jointly led by Visteon Engineering Services Limited and Jaguar Land Rover and alongside Coventry University and HORIBA MIRA includes Coventry City Council, Highways England Company Ltd, Huawei Technologies (UK) Ltd, Siemens, Vodafone Group Services Ltd, and WMG at the University of Warwick. The UK CITE project will create the UK’s first fully connected infrastructure on public roads using a combination of wireless technologies, which can enable real-world testing in a safe and managed way.

Phase One of the project will continue until the end of 2016 and will include the preparation of infrastructure on routes along the M40, M42, A46, and A45 – as well as an urban route in Coventry – and the preparation of a Vehicle, Systems and Gantry App, which will ensure variable roadside messages appear in-vehicle, either on the vehicle display or smartphone. Finally, pre-test trials will take place on HORIBA MIRA’s City Circuit.

The trials are likely to start on public roads as early as next year, following comprehensive initial tests on HORIBA MIRA’s City Circuit, which is a safe and fully controllable purpose built environment for the development and validation of Connected Autonomous Vehicle technologies and services.

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