THE DRIVERLESS future of motoring will be pioneered in Warwickshire.
Europe’s first multi-million-pound Smart City Mobility Centre will be based at the University of Warwick’s campus in Wellesbourne the government announced this week.
It will see the development of new vehicles and systems aimed to make congestion, emissions and road traffic accidents a thing of the past.
The centre will combine the research expertise of WMG, which is part of the university, and the research and engineering capabilities of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), which has a main engineering centre at nearby Gaydon.
The centre is expected to bring around 300 jobs to the area.
Warwickshire County Council deputy leader Peter Butlin said: “It will give a huge boost to the local economy and employment opportunities. It is further proof that Warwickshire is on the map for major high tech companies looking to develop their businesses.
“The local universities provide a wealth of talent. We are working hard to align business requirement with a workforce that has the skills to match.
“It is also very encouraging for Warwickshire that such high-profile, high-tech enterprises are starting up, or expanding, here.”
Stratford District Council leader Tony Jefferson 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 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 District Council we will be only too pleased to provide.”
JLR engineers and WMG researchers will work together at Wellesbourne to design and engineer driverless systems which will be tested in real world conditions on the University of Warwick’s main campus, incorporating a specially designed 5G communications network.
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 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.”
The 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 new technology such as driverless vehicles and smart charging of electrified vehicles.
* The WMCA development of a multi-city 5G test bed.